Blueberry Cake

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Vegan Blueberry Cake ~ From Vegetate, Vegan Cooking & Food Blog

“I remember his burlesque pretense that morning of an inextinguishable grief when I wonder that I had never eaten blueberry cake before, and how he kept returning to the pathos of the fact that there should be a region of the earth where blueberry cake was unknown.” William Dean Howells (1894)

Coffee Cake is one of my favorite things in life and this is a cinnamon-streusel-topped, blueberry coffee cake! This delectable recipe is from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s joyous The Joy of Vegan Baking, page 79. Cinnamon, vanilla, and blueberries are a heavenly trio. We used fresh blueberries and served the cake on the Royal Doulton Bunnykins dishes dishes my mom gave me as a little girl (thanks for holding on to these for me, Mom!) with mint mate tea and oranges.

Blueberry Fact: Blueberries are native to North America.

Homegrown Carrot with Carrot Flower

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Homegrown Carrot w/Carrotflower ~ From Vegetate, Vegan Cooking & Food Blog

“When you were young you were the king of carrot flowers, and how you built a tower tumbling through the trees in holy rattlesnakes that fell all around your feet.” — The King of Carrot Flowers, Pt. 1 lyrics by Neutral Milk Hotel

This year we decided to grow a few vegetables on our deck at home. I bought The Container Garden, a mix of organic vegetable and herb seeds that would work with the planter garden that I had in mind. We planted, grew, and ate delicious, fresh baby carrots, radishes, cucumbers, lettuce, and red potatoes.

There is nothing like pulling your own homegrown veggies right out of the soil. Honestly, our vegetables were so ridiculously vibrant and fresh having just been harvested that they practically glowed! Keith and I agreed that homegrown is much better than even the fresh, organic produce we buy at the market.

What struck me most about this little project was the fact that I have eaten a lot of vegetables in my day, but I don’t really know what a lot of the leaves and flowers of many of the plants I eat look like. For example, do you know what a potato plant looks like, above it’s potato-y roots? I’d never really thought about it, but by growing my own potatoes I learned that potato plants are lush and green with beautiful flowers. Carrot flowers are particularly lovely, as well! They bloomed for along time, which made the buzzing bees very happy.

Carrot Fact: Carrots were at first not cultivated as food, but as medicine for a variety of ailments.

A Slow-Cooked Tandoori Feast

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Tandoori Feast ~ From Vegetate, Vegan Cooking & Food Blog

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.”Mahatma Gandhi

For this sumptuous feast we slow-cooked Tandoori Baked Tofu and Tandoori Spiced Potatoes with Spinach from Carla Kelly’s book Quick and Easy Vegan Slow Cooking, pages 118 and 112 respectively, and served them alongside Coconut Rice (page 216) and some warm Spelt Chapatis from Laura Matthias’ ExtraVeganZa, page 137.

I am crazy about the rich, spicy flavors of these Indian dishes. Slow cooking is a nice, low-maintenance way to cook because once your ingredients are heating up in the cooker you can literally walk away for 6-8 hours until your food is ready to eat! No fuss, no muss, no burnt food. We enjoy slow-cooking food so much at our house that we have two slow-cookers, which we used to make both of these Tandoori dishes. Next time we’ll have to make some yummy mango chutney, too!

Both the Tandoori Baked Tofu and Tandoori Spiced Potatoes with Spinach are grain-free.

Tandoori Fact: Tandoori cooking is named after a tandoor, which is a high-temperature cylindrical clay oven in which foods are cooked. Our slow cooker has a red clay pot (pictured above), which really enhances the richness of the flavors.

Red Cherry Plum Jam

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Red Cherry Plum Jam ~ From Vegetaet, Vegan Cooking & Food Blog

“That’s why I hate to get started in these jam sessions. I’m always the last one to leave.”Elvis Presley

We recently made jars and jars of red cherry plum jam with the help of our backyard cherry plum trees using this recipe.

There is something so fundamentally satisfying about putting up foods from your own garden. Making jam is easy to do, and you can make a year’s worth in just a few hours for pennies once you’ve purchased the jars.

Canned foods will keep for an indefinite period of time as long as the seal is intact and they have been properly processed.

Canning Facts: Frenchman Nicholas Appert developed the method for preserving food that we call canning in 1809.  He used glass jars sealed with corks held in place with wire.

Hummingbird Nectar

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Hummingbird Nectar Recipe ~ From Vegetate, Vegan Cooking & Food Blog

“A leaf fluttered in through the window this morning, as if supported by the rays of the sun, a bird settled on the fire escape, joy in the task of coffee, joy accompanied me as I walked.”Anais Nin

This sweet little lady came by for a drink this morning. In fact, we’ve gotten visits from many different hummingbirds every day since we put up our feeder. We wanted to support our local hummingbird population because many hummingbirds species are threatened by habitat loss, predators, and disease, and because they are so darned cute! ;)

We bought a wonderful hummingbird feeder that is made from recycled glass in Mexico, filled it up with homemade hummingbird nectar (simple recipe here), and within a couple of weeks our backyard was one of the main stops on our local “hummingbird highway.”

We purchased a red glass feeder so we wouldn’t have to use artificial red dye in our homemade nectar. Hummingbirds are attracted to the color red, so in the past many people dyed their nectar using FD&C Red #2 food coloring, which is now a known carcinogen. If you just get a red feeder or one with red accents you don’t have to worry about dying your nectar. It is so much fun to watch the birds come for a drink every day. This feeder has turned me into a real bird-watcher!

Here are some great tips on other ways to support hummingbird conservation.

Hummingbird Fact: Hummingbirds are highly intelligent and can remember every flower they have been to, and how long it will take each flower to refill.