Vegan Puddin’

Sorry for the quietness, don’t worry I’m still vegan. Here’s some yummy puddin’ made with soymilk and cocoa and arrowroot and vanilla and almond extract. Yum. I think I’m gonna make that chocolate cake again and use this as frosting as well. Also I made a huge pot of beans and rice that I’ve been eating for days using this recipe. So tomatoey. I added a bunch of spices though, and beans of course. Also have been using Isa’s recipes for things like felafel:

Made tahini too of course but forgot to drizzle it on for the pic. So, nearly three weeks in, I’ve now lost 5.5 lbs thanks to veganizing and am definitely breathing better without the dairy. Onward!

Another Thing I’m Taking Back…

Ok after eating this awesome mess of vegan hash—shredded fried potato, onion, and vegan breakfast sausage—I now see that it would not be so hard to be a fat vegan. This and the deadly chocolate cake I made last week are ample proof.

Vegan Lasagna

Not necessarily the most flattering photo (I told you I suck at food pics) but this was so good I think I like it better than the real thing. Actually I know I do, because I don’t care much for ricotta and therefore tend to like less cheese in my lasagnas. I used Isa‘s pizza sauce recipe and then her basil tofu ricotta, which is a mix of firm tofu, basil, garlic, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast. Obviously I could’ve used more sauce–typical mistake when you use no-boil lasagna noodles. Which I guess aren’t vegan so I guess this is not entirely a vegan recipe. Oops. I guess I will allow the exception of pasta because I can’t live without this dish.

Next time I’m adding sauteed spinach and mushrooms.

Vegan Update

After week one I’ve lost 4 lbs and I smell like a flower. Stay tuned for more developments.

I Take It Back

Vegan desserts can be amazing.

I used the Fauxstess Chocolate Cupcakes recipe, though I made a cake as I don’t yet have cupcake pan, and it’s YUM. One tip: I used agave nectar instead of maple syrup, simply because it was way cheaper than real maple, and it worked just fine. Here’s someone else’s pic of the fauxstess cupcakes, since mine is just a boring-looking (but delicious) black-chocolate cake:

Cheeseless Pizza

Sauce is always the most important element in a pizza if you ask me, and Isa’s recipe is simple and absolutely perfect. Smashed tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, a bit of oregano and thyme, and that’s it. And if your toppings are flavorful enough, you won’t miss the cheese. Here we have broccoli, red onion, salty olives from the olive bar, and “Green Garden Puree”, also from the book, which consists of a bunch of green stuff pureed together with garlic and almonds and tofu. It rocks. But it makes a TON, so I will be eating Green Garden Puree for days and days and days. I will also say that most of the recipes in the book are a bit heavy on the salt, so I tend to halve the amount and it turns out right every time.

Also I have tried many times over the years to make my own pizza dough but just can’t get it right, so I use whole wheat pitas instead, which do just fine.

So far so Good

My primary goal with the vegan diet is not weight loss but I lost two pounds after the first day, I won’t complain about that. Today was leftover black-eyed pea and wild rice croquettes w/leftover mushroom gravy (yum) for lunch and then roasted potatoes and green beans w/tempeh sausage gravy for dinner. I took pics but I haven’t figured out the trick to taking good food pics so I won’t bother sharing them. Here’s a pic of my fresh beet juice, for example, which I photographed so you could see the gorgeous purplish red color, but it just looks like drained blood:

The beet juice is not in the cookbook but I’ve been juicing for several months and this is one of my faves–beet, carrot, and apple. I actually detest the dirt-like taste of beets but they are SO good for you I have been training myself to tolerate them. It’s working.

Also I have been chastized for disparaging vegan desserts—apparently they can be wonderful, despite my experience, so I’m going to try the chocolate cupcake recipe in the book to gather more data and reformulate my thesis. I will return to share my results.

Nectar of the Gods


That would be roasted garlic. My lunch today. That’s right, an entire bulb of roasted garlic spread on some whole wheat pita. Heaven. And vegan. And cheap—what does garlic cost, like 24 cents a bulb? Throw it in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil and you’re done.

Dinner was supposed to be Quinoa and Black-eyed pea Croquettes with Mushroom Sauce, but I’m not a fan of quinoa so I substituted wild rice, and decided I was too lazy to form the croquettes so I just made the sauce and the rice.

Bad blurry photo but it tastes better than it looks! The sauce is perfect, and I’ll be using the leftover rice to make the croquettes tomorrow, when I hope to be less lazy…

Adventures in Veganism

I’m starting an 8-week plan to go vegan and will be keeping track of my progress here. Several reasons, all health-related. First, I’ve heard tell that getting dairy out of your diet will help with allergies, and my sinuses are out of control lately. Second, my cholesterol needs some thinning and I had some weird chest pains the other day that had me swearing off meat. Third, I’d like to prevent myself from becoming morbidly obese. There may be fat vegans out there but I imagine it’s much harder to do with no butter, cheese, cream, eggs, or meat. Have you ever tried a vegan dessert? There you go.

This will be my main tool for the vegan plan:

That’s right bitches, Joan Jett knows what she’s talkin’ about. I’ve already tried a few recipes and they are awesome. Ask Serpico, he sampled the Spanakopita I made from here and it was divine.

So I’m going to be back here daily sharing pics of my latest creations from this book (and some others). Right now I’m off to the grocery store to stock up on veggies …

British Reportage of Israel

Wow. You don’t read about this stuff in American papers:

Across the street, behind a cordon, the Rabbi Avraham Greenberg took his Israeli passport from its plastic wallet and slowly set it on fire with a gas lighter until its ashes floated around him. He explained to the small crowd on the pavement that he had been born in the state of Israel but he was ashamed to hold a passport from that country. He stood with more than a dozen Orthodox rabbis who joined in chants of “Judaism here to stay, Zionism no way”.

But many more thousands of Jews attended in support of the rally rather than opposing it, waving Israeli flags and placards saying End Hamas Terror and wearing Stars of David on their faces.

State of Play

I’m only three episodes in to this six-episode BBC miniseries and I’m already sad in anticipation that it’s going to be over in three episodes. It’s that good. Put it at the top of your Netflix queue.

I did some rooting around, though, and found that it’s being adapted into a film starring Ben Affleck and Russell Crowe. Barf. It’s a conspiracy thriller so it’s not like it’s some sacred text that’s being defiled but it just has such perfect chemistry that there’s no way a dumb U.S. version condensed to two hours and starrring those bozos will be as good.

It’s to be released in 2009, so we’ll see.

Resolution: Take the Bitch out of Criticism

One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to try to be nicer to people who like movies I hate. For some reason I’m not bothered if someone hates movies I love, but when someone loves movies I think are bullshit I fly into attack mode. I guess I consider being critical of someone for not liking a movie you like to be pushing an ideology on someone, while being critical of someone for liking a movie is … puncturing an illusion? Or maybe I’m just a jerk. I don’t know. At any rate, I apologize to those who have felt attacked by me and vow to (try to) disagree more elegantly. Though a recent trail of comments on my Facebook status indicates my struggle:

Cynthia hated slumdog millionaire, what is wrong with you people. 12:23am10 Comments
Aaron Dobbs at 1:12am January 3
You hate a lot of good movies. Your hating this one isn’t particularly surprising. 🙂
Cynthia Rockwell at 9:20am January 3
and you like a lot of crap, so likewise. 😉
Cynthia Rockwell at 1:06pm January 3
i will add:
-great music
-possibly cutest kids i have ever seen
-the outhouse scene is worth the price of admission alone

but that’s about it.

RT at 1:10pm January 3
is there a short answer to why you hated it? was gonna go see it today? Too Sappy? Manipulative? Etc?
Cynthia Rockwell at 1:28pm January 3
it may not be hollywood but it’s the height of hollywood melodrama, manipulative and obvious and big and bombastic. i scoffed through the entire thing. except the outhouse scene.
RT at 2:10pm January 3
seen this? I don’t know much about this org, but their picks & categories seem very lame..what are they thinking?
TE at 7:55pm January 3
oh, lighten up. it was entertaining and visually grand. i pay good money to be manipulated!
TE at 7:56pm January 3
and yes the kids were adorable, makes me want to bring home a little slumdog.
Cynthia Rockwell at 9:24pm January 3
“what will we live on?” “LOVE.” vomit! he is a shellshocked zombie and she’s a gorgeous party girl, they will break up a week later.
MP at 4:29am January 4
i’m with you, cynthia — it was cliched, poorly acted, full of holes, and shamelessly unimaginative. if we pay for manipulation let it at least be good manipulation.

but at least it was fast with lots of music and shiny colors.

Facebook status updates get most of my film criticism these days. I also posted a link to this article, with which I fully agree, but which also does the kind of criticism I tend to do but want to move away from: criticizing the critics rather than the film:
A quick scan through the critical reactions on a review aggregator like Metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes reveals a fountain of excessive praise, as if, with the year’s end approaching and the award-movie field looking paltry and weak, many critics found themselves in possession of use-it-or-lose-it superlatives and decided that Slumdog was their only chance to get rid of them.
But on the fundamentals of the film itself, I fully agree with him:
Slumdog isn’t a terrible movie, but it’s sappy, suspense-free, and packed with one-note characters, including a female lead who’s more object than person. In terms of violence, it’s grittier than most similar pictures, but mostly in a desperately “edgy” way that seems designed to gloss over its blatant sentimentality. The best you can say about it is that it’s stylish schmaltz.

Israel Bombs Anti-Semitism Out of Lebanon

From the Onion, 2006:

“Israel really turned us around on the whole Jew-hating thing,” said Hezbollah leader Sheikh Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, shortly after a U.N.–brokered ceasefire was declared on Aug. 14. “After destroying much of our infrastructure and displacing nearly 1 million civilians, we’ve come to respect Israel as a legitimate power and a beacon of democracy…”

“It’s remarkable to think that, had Hezbollah been capable of making surgical pre-emptive strikes against Israeli military installations and densely populated urban centers, Israel would most likely be renouncing Zionism and abandoning the region at this very moment,” Talbott said in August.

The bombings have had the most significant impact on Lebanon’s youth. Many who saw parents and friends killed in the attacks said they will now spend the rest of their lives supporting Israel.

This Song Makes Me Weep

And I don’t even understand the lyrics. Gonzalo Yañez, Maldigo del alto ceilo.

I can’t find a direct link to just the one song but here’s his mspace page and it’s song #4. Go listen.

Saving This One for Posterity

Oh the Pain…

via BBC:

David Tennant is to stand down as Doctor Who, after becoming one of the most popular Time Lords in the history of the BBC science fiction show.”


John McCain could have won my vote just now…

had he simply looked at that protester and said, “Hey, do I come down to where you don’t work and knock the bong out of your mouth?”

Tell No One

“It sounds like a schlocky thriller but it’s French, it has to be better than that, yeah?”

I was wrong.

Spoiler ahead.

Please no more movies where the big secret, the root of all evil, is pedophilia. Cheap. Use a little imagination, screenwriters.

Not Offensive, Just Kinda Stupid

What’s most notable about the film’s use of blackface is how much softer it is compared with the rather more vulgar and far less loving exploitation of what you might call Jewface. Hands down the most noxious character in “Tropic Thunder” is Les Grossman, the producer of the movie-within-a-movie, who’s played by an almost unrecognizable Tom Cruise under a thick scum of makeup and latex. Heavily and heavy-handedly coded as Jewish, the character is murderous, repellent and fascinating, a grotesque from his swollen fingers to the heavy gold dollar sign nestled on his yeti-furred chest.  link

Jewface? Huh? Other than his name (Les Grossman) there is nothing “coded as Jewish” in his appearance or demeanor, and most certainly not “heavily and heavy-handedly,” unless Manhola considers baldness, hairy chests, gold chains, and belligerent attitudes to be code for Jew. I’m afraid  Jews don’t have a monopoly on those traits, Manhola. This is what I would more precisely term as heavily coded for Jewish:

And this is what I call worth the price of admission to a film that is really not very funny and full of belabored jokes:

Attack of the Vaginas!


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