22 June 2010

This Week in My Kitchen: Gnocchi, Lasagna & Cake

Gnocchi with Veggies and Pesto
Gnocchi is the go-to meal in our house when neither of us feels like cooking. Unfortunately we generally rely on the packaged variety, but one of these days I plan on making up a bunch of fluffy little nuggets of dough from scratch and freezing them for quick & easy use. Until then, packaged gnocchi it is... This week I had some oyster mushrooms on hand, so I sliced them up and sauteed them with bell peppers, garlic, shallots and sundried tomatoes. I tossed the gnocchi with some basil pesto and the veggies and chowed down. Not bad for a 15-minute dinner!

Veggie Lasagna with Daiya Cheese
So I finally got some Daiya vegan cheese in Toronto (I've only seen 5 lb bags here in Vancouver, and that's just ridiculous!) and I decided to use it to make lasagna, the only dish that I really miss making with cheese (the top always gets dry without it). I layered some cooked whole wheat lasagna noodles with homemade tomato sauce with onions and tvp, thinly sliced mushrooms and spinach leaves, and used the cheese only on the top. It turned out really good! The best vegan lasagna I've made so far, and the cheese wasn't yucky like most vegan cheeses. Kirk even liked it! I think next time I'll chop up the spinach so I can add more, but my lasagna pan is fairly shallow, so there's only so far I can go...

Chocolate Cake with Coconut Buttercream Frosting
My sister-in-law's birthday was this week, and last night we all went over to my mother-in-laws for a celebratory dinner. I brought cake, because what's a birthday without cake? I made two chocolate cake layers using this recipe, which turned out beautifully moist and rich. I made a batch of Buttercream Frosting from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, but added some coconut extract. I also put shredded coconut between the layers and some toasted coconut on top. Add some pink candles from the dollar store, and you've got a festive treat! It was scrumptious!

Just ignore my uneven frosting...

16 June 2010

The Haiti Poster Project

We all remember the devastation that the earthquake in Haiti caused only a few months ago. We all remember the outpouring of support, financial and otherwise. I think it made those of us who are lucky enough to live in safe, wealthy, first-world countries good to give something back to those in need in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. It made us feel connected, made the world a little smaller. Maybe some of us even learned about the amazing culture of the people of Haiti, unique and varied as the country's long history.

Unfortunately, the need in Haiti did not disappear with the news coverage. There are still thousands of people left homeless, thousands of children orphaned, and a crumbling infrastructure in desperate need of overhaul. Kirk and I sponsor a little girl in Haiti. Her name is Marguerite, she's nine years old, and her favourite subject in school is art. I'd hate to think of her struggling for food, water and shelter because the people who are able to help have forgotten.

There is an easy way that you can help: The Haiti Poster Project. Hundreds of beautiful limited edition posters have been donated by artists and designers from all over the world, and are available for purchase online. The proceeds go to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières to support their work in Haiti.

Here are some of my favourites. I wish I could afford to buy all of them!