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Archive for August, 2009

Have you ever noticed how nearly impossible it is to find good quality, gorgeous vegan dress shoes? I have no problem finding great vegan casual shoes; but, every time I search for vegan dress shoes, I come up with nothing but really-dated-cheese-ball-drag-queen pumps or old-lady “sensible” dress shoes…the ones that you could wear with a nice pair of slacks to Sunday brunch with the grandkids….not my bag, I gotta say.

I’ve been searching for months for a pair of hot vegan stilettos to wear to the wedding and I keep coming up with absolutely nothing! Nothing! Sure, I could just go to Payless and spend $35 on a pair of dress shoes and call it a day, but I’d be impressed if the shoes I bought lasted half-way through the ceremony. I’ll admit to buying shoes there on occasion because they’re cheap and I have less than no money but I always regret it for two major reasons: 1) they fall apart in under three months, guaranteed and 2) I am in severe pain every time I wear the shoes because they’re so cheaply put together.

I wanted a pair of good dress shoes…black, pretty, fairly comfortable and if they last more than one season, that’d be stellar. I stopped into every single shoe store I stumbled on, I asked around, I did research, I checked in other cities…and then on a late-night webcrawling binge, I managed to come across the most perfect shoe. It is exactly my style…classic, with just a little extra flare, fine detailing and really vintage in feel. The company makes a whole line of vegan evening shoes; they’re great quality and they will ship to the Great White North (read: T.O.). Needless to say, I whipped out my Mastercard so fast, the ensuing wind blew one of my cats clear across the room!

stilettos

Whenever I put them on, I strut around my apartment like Bettie Page with my lips puckered and my eyes sultry…in my head anyway. All I want is for all the shoe companies in the whole wide world to make vegan dress shoes that will make me feel like that….that’s not too much to ask, is it?!

On a completely unrelated: but, just as important note, I love avocados. They are a perfect food in my mind. I could eat one every single day and never get sick of them. I will eat them sliced on toast, mashed with agave, salt and pepper, as guacamole, blended into desserts or chilled soups…the list goes on and on.

Plus, they are gorgeous. It’s always amazing to me how beautiful whole foods are. I mean, they speak for themselves:

avocado

Perfection! What more could a girl ask for?! I have hot vegan stilettos and cool creamy avocados…life is good!

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Inspiration…

…is such a funny thing, isn’t it? I’m always so amazed by what inspires me and how different things will spark inspiration in different ways. Being a trained “photographer” (I put that in quotations because, although it is my passion, it is sadly not my livelihood right now), I was taught to find inspiration in everything I saw. Generally speaking, I can see inspiration everywhere I go. I’m thankful for that.

Being a person who spends a good portion of their waking hours in the kitchen, I can also smell, feel, and taste inspiration. For example, just yesterday, I was walking down Yonge Street and got a whiff of something that smelled like whipped cream and heaven…in reality it was just the waffle/crepe shop with their front window open…and I was hit so hard with an idea for a flavour of vegan ice cream I really want to create. And hit hard! I could taste the exact flavour I want, I could see it and I could almost feel the cool spoonfuls melting on my tongue. I was so preoccupied with the idea of it that I rambled to my Mom about it hours later on the phone.

That leaves sound, doesn’t it? I’ve convinced myself all my life that if I had to pick hearing or sight, I would definitely pick sight because hearing doesn’t affect me quite so much. I’m basically tone deaf and have no natural rhythm whatsoever. I didn’t start paying attention to music until I was about 15. I just listened to whatever anyone put on and essentially forgot music was on. Then, my parents bought me an acoustic guitar and I started taking lessons. After a few months of practicing and developing calluses on my fingers, I noticed something incredible…music started to become more audible to me. And I found myself able to understand it: the notes, the melody, the lyrics. That’s what started me listening to music and researching music and, especially, enjoying music. I started to soak it all up. I even wrote a few things of my own along the way.

When Husband and I started dating, I was introduced to different types of music: rockabilly, punk, and hardcore namely. I devoured them. Okay, not so much with the hardcore but the rockabilly and punk for sure. I love the catchiness and twanginess of the rockabilly and I love very political, somewhat melodic punk.

Recently, I’ve been finding so much inspiration in left-wing political, acoustic punk. So much I wanna cry sometimes. Or scream. I get so much inspiration coming at me that I don’t know how to catch it and hold onto it, nurture it and then release it. I’m left with a big pile of half-ideas and fragments-of-thought at my feet and not a clue how to pick up the pieces. Funny, isn’t it? It’s the inspiration itself that has given me artist’s block.

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I am standing in a wedding at the end of this month-coincidentally, it’s been wedding obligations that have kept me from posting the past few weeks-and last weekend was the wedding shower. I volunteered to make the baked goods for the wedding shower; and, I am very pleased to announce that they were a huge success! None of the guests had any idea that the treats they were consuming were 100% vegan and they were raving about them! I was chuckling on the inside while I thought of the brown rice syrup and silken tofu that everyone was devouring. I chose to make three treats: dulce sin leche cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes with brown rice caramel glaze swirl, and mini raspberry mousse tarts.

The cupcakes are from Isa and Terry’s Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. I followed the Dulce Sin Leche recipe pretty accurately, except I didn’t top them with the excess Brown Rice Caramel Glaze. I swirled the excess glaze into the batter of the Basic Chocolate recipe and then topped both with simple vegan buttercream, half tinted green and half left white (to match the colours of the wedding). Before making these for a room full of middle-aged to older-aged French-Canadian ladies who are hardly aware of what vegan means, I tried them out on an omni friend. Her verdict: “I wanna bathe in this caramel and eat my way out.” I’d call that a win!

cupcakes

The last treat I made was an invention of my own: mini raspberry mousse tarts. I used a veganized Betty Crocker butter cookie recipe as the tart shells and filled them with a simple raspberry mousse and then garnished each with a fresh raspberry. They were delicious and absolutely adorable. Miniature food is so far superior to regular-sized food, isn’t it?

Mini Raspberry Mousse Tarts:

Cookie Tart Shells:

-1 cup softened Earth Balance

-2 cups all-purpose flour

-1/2 cup sugar

Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Roll out to 1/4″ and cut into approx. 1.5″ circles. Press into a mini tart shell pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Let cool completely; remove from pan.

Raspberry Mousse:

-3 small packages fresh raspberries (200 gram container, I think)

-one package firm silken tofu

-1/3-1/2 cup sugar

-tsp vanilla

Puree the raspberries until very smooth and then strain to remove all the seeds. Blend the raspberry puree with the remaining ingredients until very smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Place mousse in a container and chill for at least 2 hours. Once chilled, scoop a small amount of mousse into each shell and top each with a fresh raspberry.

As I said, delicious and adorable!

mini raspberry mousse tarts

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