Saturday, April 26, 2008

I get by with a little help...

This is the blog post of gratitude. Throughout the last weeks and months, friends have surprised me with wonderfully generous gifts. Every time I have come home to find something waiting for me in the mail box or on the front porch, I have been reminded of the awesomeness of the person behind the package. I have used and enjoyed everything, but I thought now would be a good time to make my thanks official in a blog post, one that will also serve as a preview of cool things to come.

In reverse chronological order we have...

I came home from my mom's house last week to find this book, courtesy of my friend Liza. Let me first mention that I've known Liza since 9th grade, when we both suffered through geometry class together. Let me next mention that she is an awesome artist and illustrator, so it goes without saying that she sent me the most beautiful edition of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. I had shamefully never read this story, and now is clearly a good time to fix that!

Next we have the wonderful Celine. Anyone who has dealt with her for even the briefest time knows that this girl's sweetness knows no bounds. She surprised me on my birthday with a gift certificate to Vegan Honey's Etsy shop! It took me forever to decide what to get- Vegan Honey, after all, offers not one but two kinds of vegan twinkies in addition to tons of other sweets. Finally, I decided on the cherry cheese danish, reasoning that I have never made danish at home.

Zomg- these were delicious! And the best part was that they arrived right before I left for Virginia, so not only did Daiku and I each get a Danish, but I got to take one to share with my mom. Vegan Honey also included a little spice donut in the package, which tasted really good and went great with tea.

Another birthday surprise: I received a package from Pandacookie with, what else, cookies! Chocolate chocolate almond cookies (ETA: from the Vive le Vegan recipe)- these were so good. Daiku and I went through them all in about two days.

One of the best things about making friends with fellow bloggers from around the world is having the chance to sample food that you don't have access to at home. Such is the case with Johanna, whose Puerto Rican food and recipes always make me drool. And now, thanks to this package from her, I can make those recipes using these all-natural culantro and achiote seasoning packs. Daiku and I both love Puerto Rican rice with pigeon peas, and these add so much flavor!

Speaking of flavor, Diann (of Eat'n Veg'n fame) surprised me by sending me this huge batch of berbere spice mix from her favorite Ethiopian restaurant in Austin. She knows how much I dig Ethiopian food and now I get to have more fun experimenting with Ethiopian cooking at home! I have a big Ethiopian feast planned soon, but I also enjoy this seasoning on simple things such as these potatoes, simply roasted with olive oil and berbere:

This is the second year in a row that I have been the joyful recipient of the Veggielicious zine from Amey (of Vegan Eats and Treats). I love looking through this zine, first of all to savor all the work, dedication, and cute drawings that Amey fills it with, but also to peruse the recipes that she showcases.

The first recipe I tried out of the zine was for these maple walnut cookies from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan. We had a guest coming over and I wanted something warm and fresh out of the oven to greet him with. Sadly, at the last minute, I realized that I didn't have walnuts or any nuts in the house (a freakish and rare event, I assure you)- but these cookies came out so wonderfully even without! They are light, fluffy, buttery, and totally infused with maple goodness.

Finally, my friend Sharon gave me this book last September. It's a French book all about soy and various soy products like tofu, tempeh, miso, and more. It's so fun to see simple things like tofu in the new light of a different cultural perspective. It's sumptuously illustrated with detailed photos and teaches soy facts, history, and nutrition in addition to having a huge number of recipes.

Here's a step-by-step guide to making your own tofu. I haven't tried it yet, but definitely hope to soon. However, I have made some other recipes from this book, and you'll just have to stay tuned to see them!

Thank you again, all my friends who have made checking the mail every day an exciting event! XO



Peggy the Veggie said...

(yay! first comment!)

Berebere = awesome! I'm not a big fan of potatoes, but I would probably have them if they were deliciously Ethipian-spiced.

I think I might make those maple walnut cookies minus the walnuts sometime- my mom is allergic to walnuts, so I'm sure she would appreciate that. :)

That book on soy looks really interesting- I think I'd like to get it. The only soy I've been eating for MONTHS has been soymilk, so I need to get out of that rut!

VeggieGirl said...

I agree - making friends in the blogging world is quite rewarding. not only do you get to experience a sense of community, but you also get to receive some delightful treats from time-to-time, as well ;0)

Paulina said...

Making friends online is one of the most rewarding part of being in the vegan blogging world - I just love it!

springsandwells said...

My my my!
What a lovely assortment of gifties you've received! How wonderful. The online vegan community is really wonderful. Plus, it shows how incredibly great YOU are that we all want to send you gifts!

Tofu is on my list... my friend Sara and I are going to do it together next time she comes over from Italy.

xo Amey

Celine said...

you deserved even more love! MORE!

The Voracious Vegan said...

Wow! You are very lucky to have such wonderful (and generous) friends! I love your blog, thank you so much for the inspiration.

Urban Vegan said...

Well happy belated b'day, Bazu. You are obviously well loved!!


pleasantly plump vegan said...

wow! these are really great presents. you have awesome friends. that cherry danish looks so amazing and i want one right now! that tofu cookbook looks like a lot of fun.

Animal-Friendly said...

All those gifts looks awesome! Good choice on those cherry cheese danishes- they look AMAZING

I'd be very interesting in seeing if you make your own tofu. I'm so intimidated by the idea of making it myself, but I'd love to see how it turns out sometime!

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

VERY cool! I always love when I have a treat in the mail.

Vegan_Noodle said...

Isn't mail exciting?!? Especially when it's in the form of vegan treats!!

KathyF said...

I've just been catching up with you! I've been terrible about blog reading, for a variety of reasons, but now I see that you are coming here! I am so excited! When? Do you need help? Please email me and let me know what you need.

Canterbury is about 2 hours from here by car, or more by train. (Have to change in London.) You are going to love it! We went for a visit right after Christmas, but I didn't get to stay long.

Restaurant to try: Wagamama. It's a chain, but a good one. My last professor for my class on Architecture was from Canterbury, and he commuted to Oxford for class, so it's not too far.

Apologies for not checking in here sooner. My life's been crazy! But I haven't forgotten my vegan friends.

Email me at kflake (at) By the way, you're going to have a terrible time finding internet service that doesn't suck. (Google "BT sucks" and you'll find a post I wrote about that.)

pandacookie said...

Huzzah for cookies! That recipe is actually from Vive le Vegan.
It is exciting to have been blogged about.

The Vegan Revolution said...

You have the best friends! I love seeing pictures of what you are up to, and the amazing things you whip up in your kitchen.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

That's so great, Bazu! All I got in the mail last week was bills. :(

textual bulldog said...

you have fantastic friends, but you deserve it all! happy birthday one more time :)