pretty in pink vegan

pretty in pink vegan

Monday, December 30, 2013

Vegan Pho

It seems like everyone around me is coming down with a case of the yuckies and Cassi can not afford to get sick but just as good as the day is long, Friday while at work I was starting to feel a little out of balance. I had to nip this in the bud quickly! I had a lot to do Saturday plus New Year's Eve is coming up! My first instinct is always to sweat it out! I remembered that I still had a few bars of camphor to use as a soak but I needed a good spicy soup to help the process. My normal go to is ramen but I've had one too many bowls this week. Then I saw a friend on Facebook post a picture of a bowl of Pho she had for lunch and remembered a few weeks ago I picked up some

Pacific Vegetarian Pho soup base from Kroger that was on clearance! Normally Pho is made with a chicken stock and now the only way I can get it is if I make it myself. When I saw this soup base I was all over it. It is a mushroom based stock so it's a extra bonus because i'm getting my Vitamin D as well.

My original plan was to use my soup base, bake a little tofu and throw in some veggies but by the time I left worked I just wanted to get home, eat my soup, soak in the tub and sleep. So cutting up veggies and baking tofu was out. I still needed to pick up bag of noodles and mung beans sprouts so I stopped off at the Viet Hoa. They have redone the market so all the vegan items are with the produce, I love this because I can go to one area, grab everything I need and leave. As I was grabbing the sprouts I glanced over at the new mock meat and spice shelf and saw a can of Lo Han Chai Vegetarian Chop Suey. Yes I know it's Chop Suey mix but it has veggies, wheat gluten and the sodium is really low so I grabbed it. It is filed with bamboo shoots, corn, mushrooms, and fried wheat gluten.

This starter base is really fast "cooking". You just measure it out, bring it to a boil with the lid on and it's done! While the Pho was boiling I placed my noodles in a warm bowl of water to soften up, cut up my bok choy and placed my basil and sprouts in the bowl. Once the broth reached a boiled I added the Chop Suey mix in to warm it up a little. After it was a bit warm I pour it into my bowl with all of the fresh veggie goodness, noodles and Pho was ready to eat! This Pho hit the spot, it made me feel so much better and it was vegan! I forgot the jalapenos and there was no way I was getting back out so I added a little crushed red pepper to give it the heat I needed.

After I had my Pho I still needed to sweat the toxins out and I remembered reading about a ginger detox bath. So I googled and found an article for a detox bath. All that was needed was half a cup of grated ginger. After about 10 minutes in the tub I started to sweat so I knew it was working. Afterwards the slight body ache and sore throat I had was gone! Success, no yuckies for me! If you choose to do a ginger bath PLEASE make sure you drink plenty of water before and after because you will sweat.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Post Christmas Vegan Drinks

Last night we held our monthly vegan drinks meet up but we switched it up a bit. Since this month is crazy busy instead of a Tuesday meet up we went for a Saturday night social, which was pretty cool because most of us are off on the weekends. We had our sights on a pretty cool Jamaican place but we found out they were having a set menu and that would work out for the group so after a few suggestions we decided on Mulan Asian Bistro in Cooper Young. (Check out Bianca's post on Vegan Crunk.) I've tried them before but it has only been take out. The inside is more of high end compared to most take out places, they even had cloth napkins on the table.

Now of course a vegan drinks would not be a vegan drinks without the drinks part. After going back and forth with myself I decided on a Sake. Of course I didn't order the normal house Sake. I opted for the Sparkling Sake in a pink bottle. Plus I just wouldn't be Cassi of me if I didn't. Aside for the pretty pink bottle this Sake did not disappoint. Since it is a sparkling Sake it is served cold and it still had that Sake bite but it also had hints of fruit flavor. It was very refreshing, not too strong and happy. I think I kinda drank it too fast I woke up this am with a sight headache.

I like Mulan because they have a ton of tofu and wheat noodle dishes on the menu. They even have a tofu fried rice! It took me as long to decide on dinner than it did to decide on my drink. After flipping through the menu 26 times I settled on the Home Style Tofu. I guess it's called homestyle because the tofu is deep fried. I love my tofu this way because it gets rid of the mushyness and gives the tofu a meaty texture. Normally it is SUPPOSE to come with red and green peppers, black fungus, scallions, red peppers and garlic but I don't like peppers so I asked if the could leave the peppers out and replace them with long beans. Sadly long beans are out of season so I had to go with greens beans. I think this is my new favorite dish. It was a bit oily but super spicy, the green beans were nice and crunchy and it was loaded with garlic chunks. Lucky for me I'm single and can eat all the garlic I want. Most of our dished were served with rice and I assumed that the rice would come in normally like white bowl but no they came in wooden buckets! I was in love! I am going back to buy one from Mulan, it's cute and round just like me! What's not to love?!

After dinner the group went to go see our friend Autumn in her burlesque show but I was still in introvert mode and wasn't ready for the crowds so Amy and I went to Five in One Social Club for bingo! She even won a game! She pick out a Made in Memphis hat that she let me bedazzled because that's what friends do. (Well she bedazzled it I just showed her how) Just like always Vegan Drinks was a good time.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

PrePaid Wine! Yes please!

Sorry for the missing post last night, after fighting with Amazon concerning a missing package for 2 hours all my blogging power was depleted. I will never be the owner of a Moko pink Kindle Fire Keyboard. If someone can find this item online PLEASE let me know, I searched high and low for another.

Those that know me, know me as an OCD introvert. I love to go out but as long as it's not too crowded or too loud, so when Nicole asked my out for drinks after work I was a little nervous about where she would choose because it is Christmas break and everyone would be out but lucky for me she allowed me to pick the place. I didn't have a clue of any place that wouldn't be crowded so I didn't respond hoping she would forget the whole outting. No such luck, she sent me a text asking what time I would be home from work. After changing clothes I headed to her place and off we went. I still didn't have a clue where to go but then I remembered GreenCork, a semi new wine bar in Cooper Young. I knew it wouldn't be too crowded because it is the old home of Imagine Vegan Cafe and it's a small space. Walking in I was in awe, this was no longer Imagine. The space has been transformed. It now has a living room feel to it. There is even a gas log burning fireplace. My OCD went off immediately because the counter was moved down about 4 feet! It just felt weird.

When we entered, there was a host the greeted us and gave use an overview of how the bar worked. All the wine is PREPAID! You are given a chipped card that is yours to keep. They enter your name and cell phone number into the card so that if it is lost you can still claim any value that is on your card. I love this concept for numerous reasons. Since the wine is prepaid they have what I call wine stations set up around the bar and you choose your wine and how many ounces you want. No more waiting on a server or asking what types of wine they carry! Genius I tell you! Plus having the prepaid option is great for me because you can only spend what is on your card, unless you add more money of course. ( I promise I won't bedazzled the card but I will add something to it)

Now that we had our cards the hunt for wine began. I've had my fair share of wines but none of the names looked familiar so I went with my tried and true method for deciding on a wine. I looked a the pictures on the labels. The crazier the label the more likely I am to try it. I ended up deciding on a red and I was so glad I picked this one! I swear to you it is 2 Buck Chuck's British cousin. It's called 19 Crimes and I could have sworn I was drinking my beloved Trader Joe's wine. The host also told us that the wine also has a funny story behind the name. Here is the info from their site.


Felons, running roughshod over London town, were menacing good people, wreaking havoc and, caught by the scores, clogging every jail in the kingdom. A civic dilemma of colossal proportions.

Meanwhile, two oceans away, a newly claimed and virgin continent was in dire need of subjects to bring civilization to bear. Yet the voyage was endless and brutal, the rewards meager to nil.

The savagely elegant solution: Punishment by Transportation.

A list of 19 Crimes was drawn. Conviction meant a torturous journey to an unknown and unforgiving land.

Australia, thus, was born.

Who knew you could learn a little history while drinking wine! The host was nice enough to give me a few of the corks to take home. Each cork has one of the 19 crimes that would get you sent to Australia!

Since it was dinner time Nicole and I looked over the menu to see what we could nosh on as we drank our new find. The vegan options are few because it is a wine bar and what goes with wine, yep you got it cheese. But they do have two offering for us wine drinking non meat eaters. I decided on the vegan go to of hummus but this hummus was not the normal go to of hummus. It is a Chipotle Hummus paired with Spicy Pita Strips. This was amazing, the Pita Strips are served warm and the hummus has a lot of kick but there are also a few cherry tomatoes on top to counterbalance the heat from the chopotle. They also have a pear and quinoa salad that Nicole picked as well. I passed on that because for the life of me I can't do sweet and savory together but it did look pretty.

Lucky for me one of the owners of Green Cork was there so I was able to ask her a few questions. Robin Brown is the mother side of this mother daughter team, her daughter Katie was not in that night. Of course my first question was "will you put more vegan options on the menu?" She said that the menu changes often and come spring time she will try to add a few more options for us, she also said that they often have items in the back that aren't listed on the menu and they are happy to whip something up! They have a item called the picnic basket that is so pretty that I wish she would make a vegan version. It is a selection of meats, cheese, fruits and nuts served in a picnic basket! I want one! This vegan likes picnics maybe I'll see if she can whip one up for me. She also informed me that Green Cork is the first self serve wine bar in Memphis and they taste all 32 bottles of wine before they decide if they will carry it. Just like Imagine this is a family owned business. The husband was responsible for the layout and construction of the space, her daughter is the mastermind in the kitchen and Robin was in the catering business for 14 years.

While we were talking she did inform me that they carry Cooper Mountain wine, they are committed to organic and biodynamic farming, winemaking and dry farming. I didn't get to try this wine because I was already 2 and a half glasses in but next time this one will be 1st one my list.

GreenCork is a wine bar not a bar bar, they do serve liquor and IPA beers though but don't expect them to be open into the wee hours of the night. During the week they close at 10pm and 11pm on the weekends. So go in and have a glass after work or before dinner. The service and wine are great. Nicole attempted to take a picture of me getting a glass of wine but she failed horribly but I like this pic of me being over the whole picture taking experience.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

My first vegan Christmas

Since today is Christmas I'll keep this post short but loaded with pictures. I've said before that I hate the holidays because I normally have to spend them alone but I 've noticed that this year that has changed. Mainly because my circle has changed. Looking back I can see that the change has been for the best. My friends now are awesome, they have made sure that I am not forgotten during the holidays. I love them for that! Thanksgiving was spent with Bianca and her family and for Christmas Nicole invited me to her house with her family. I wanted to decline because I didn't want to feel like the odd man out but I am glad I went.

After Keithon and Hollywood opened their presents my Christmas was over because at noon Keithon was picked up by his father and I was left to my own devices. Lucky for me my new device is a new Kindle Fire! I wasn't completely alone with my new toy because Nicole's mom got one for Christmas too. We spent most of the day playing on our new toys and comparing notes. It was awesome! Later in the day Nicole's boyfriend Vaughan showed up gifts. He even had one for me! It was totally unexpected and I can't wait to wear it. Now of course Christmas is not Christmas without a family style meal and just like any meal Vaughan attends it was over the top.

I had no idea what the menu would be but I knew there was wine to be had and Cassi had a noon. About 5:30 or so we sat down to dinner. For Thanksgiving I tried the whole vegan turkey but Vaughan brought a Tofurky loaf. I've never had their "turkey" but as far as mock meats are concerned this one was very tasty even the gravy was great. No added seasonings were needed.

Vaughan also made kale, couscous, collard greens and cranberry sauce. Nicole and her mom also tried their hand at making a vegan dressing and it came out great! I also think Nicole has been around me too long because she is now inventing dishes. Today she used the leftover Justin's Almond Butter and Hazelnut Butter from her Cookie Club cookie. She took a few dates and stuffed them with the Justin's and almond slivers. They were tasty little bites of goodness. The whole meal as well as the company was great.

I am really glad that I came and didn't lock myself in the house. This year has been a complete turn around from last year and I have my friends to thank for that. They have made this year and holidays the best that I have had in a long time. Now please excuse my while I get back to the party and more wine.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

An Italian kind of Christmas

Sorry for the lack of posting but with the holidays right around the corner I have been running around like a mad woman trying to finish last minute Christmas shopping.

  Instead of waiting until Christmas to exchange gifts with my girl friends I decided to throw a christmas dinner. Normally I would have gone the Asian route but this time I wanted to find a dish that could be served "family style" because my girls are my family. So to the cookbooks I went. Needless to say I have fallen in love Betty Goes Vegan by Annie and Dan Shannon. Its a vegan version of the classic Betty Crocker cookbook, what's not to love!   I don't reprint recipes from cookbooks without permission because that is just a foul to do. So I reached out to Annie, via email, to ask if she would allow me to reprint her recipe, with credit of course. I honestly didn't think she woulI   remember me for Vegfest but she did and she said I can reprint the recipe!!!! I was totes excited!  I decided on the Manicotti with a Kalamata Olive Pesto Tofu. This dish is an undertaking but it was well worth it.

Manicotti with a Kalamata Olive Pesto Tofu

1 Package 10-12 Manicotti Tubes (cooked per directions on the package - you want them to be a little firmer than al dente so they don't get mushy when baked and keep them from tearing while you're filling them)

1/2 Cup Daiya Mozzarella Cheese
2 Tablespoons Vegan Parmesan Cheese
Olive Oil Cooking Spray
Dried Oregano and Red Pepper Flakes to sprinkle over the top
1 Jar of your Favorite Pasta Sauce
3 Tomatoes (diced)
2 Cloves of Garlic (minced)
2 Tablespoons Braggs
1/3 Cup Red Wine
1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
2 Teaspoon Oregano
1/3 Cup Fresh Basil (diced)
1/3 Cup Fresh Spinach
2 Tablespoon Fresh Parsley (diced)
Salt & Pepper to Taste

Kalamata Pesto Tofu Filling

1 Package Extra Firm Tofu (drained)
1/2 Cup Fresh Spinach
1/4 Cup Fresh Basil
15 Kalamata Olives
5-6 White Mushrooms
1 1/2 Teaspoon Roasted Pine Nuts
2 Teaspoon Sun-dried Tomatoes
2 Cloves Garlic (minced)
1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
Heat oven to 350.

Put all the Sauce ingredients in a large pot and heat at a medium heat. Stir periodically. 

Put each ingredient in a food processor or blender (one at a time) and blend them till they are a paste. Don't worry about wiping out the machine after each ingredient - you'll be mixing them anyways. Put all the processed ingredients in a large bowl and mix with a large spoon until blended. If you have a pastry bag set or decorating gun, fill that with the Tofu filling and set it up with the largest tip.

Spray a lasagna dish with Olive Oil Cooking Spray. Take your cooked Manicotti Tubes and fill with the Filling - either with your pastry bag, decorating gun or just use a spoon and be gentle. After you fill each one place it in the lasagna dish. You should end up with just the right amount of Filling to fill the Manicotti Tubes.

Pour 2 ladles of the Sauce over the top and sprinkle the Daiya and Vegan Parmesan Cheese.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. You'll know it's done when the Daiya is melted and the Sauce is bubbly. Sprinkle Red Pepper Flake and Dried Oregano and more Sauce if you'd like over the top when you serve.>

I've never tried to make Manicotti, vegan or not so I had no clue what I was getting into. At one point Keithon came into the kitchen and said are you still cooking. I told him yes now go away. I love that this recipe calls for a lot of fresh herbs and veggies and it used my fav go to of tofu for ricotta! The manicotti shells are what I was most fearful of because I did not want them to tear because if they did then my dinner would be ruined and Cassi would be in tears. Needless to say even with all my careful planning and timing a few shells did break. When life gives you torn manicotti shells you make mini lasagnas. I do not waste food and there were no tears. A few curse words yes but tears no.  With my food processor being broken I was glad that the recipe said that I could use a blender to make the tofu ricotta and I am glad that I did because there was no way I was getting all of the mixture into my baby food processor. Once I stuffed the shells, I set to work on the salad. My plan was to do a simple green salad but I had a shit ton of fresh spinach and pine nuts left so I decided on a Spinach, mushroom and pine nut salad with a blueberry balsamic dressing. Now an Italian dinner wouldn't be dinner without a rich dessert so I whipped up some Diva Delights and an orange vanilla frosting so I could make Whoppie Pies. After dinner we sat around trying to come up with a catchy name for the pies but after a few glasses of wine we failed. My girls RAVED about the Manicotti which totally excited me because Bianca and I are the only vegans in the group. Had I not told them I'm sure they wouldn't have know it was vegan aside from the fact that I don't cook with animal products. My Christmas lunch was a success and no one notice the torn shells. I was a happy camper and I even pulled out the good wine for lunch, by good wine I mean my last bottle of 2 buck Chuck. Mama loves her 2 Buck Chuck but today I shared with my girls.

I made place cards for the table that were Winnie the Pooh character themed and had each girl try to figure out which one they were. Bianca. This game took forever but in the end Bianca is Pooh Bear, Amy is Tigger, Brenna is Roo, Nicole is Owl, Jennifer is Eeyore and Aisha is Kanga. Now I'm Christopher Robin, I explained to the girls that the reason I did this is because I don't have a best friend and the 6 of them make up the best of me plus no one person can handle all of the crazy that is me. The gifts I gave them were also Winnie the Pooh themed. There is a series of Winnie the Pooh "life" books and each girl's book fit their personality. Bianca got the Fitness one, Amy's was the Picnic cookbook, Brenna got Cookie cookbook, Nicole received Friendship, Aisha got Tea Time and Jennifer got Life Lessons. I also made the girls chocolate from the molds I made a few weeks ago at Five in One as well as some other chocolates. Of course they gave me gifts as well and this year my girls spoiled me rotten. All of their gifts showed that they really know, listen to me and love me. This has been the best Christmas I have had in years and I have my girls to thank for that. I could not have made it through this year without them.

If you have not gotten Betty Goes Vegan visit Meet the Shannons and get a copy! I could cook from this cookbook everyday and still not finish it. Every vegan and non vegan should own a copy of the massive cookbook.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A December Cookout

After the madness of Cookie Club I am laying low in the kitchen. So I was more than excited that Jennifer had her birthday celebration during the week. No cooking for me, I couldn't be happier. Now when I got the invite, on Facebook, it stated that is was a cookout. The cookout part didn't bother me but it is December, also know as winter, but it is Jennifer's birthday and I will do anything for her. Even if that means sitting outside in the cold for her birthday.

  Looking at the menu I knew that Keithon and I wouldn't be able to eat much if anything there but lucky for us I still had two of Kroger's Simple Truth Meatless Patties in the freezer. I am not a big fan of mock meats but I do have a son so every so often I grab a few when he wants to have a meatless meat night. This burgers are awesome. They are filled with all types of healthly goodness like barley, quinoa, millet and amaranth. They are 150 calories a serving with only 380 grams of sodium, 5 grams of fat and clock in with 18 grams of protein. I love the high protein in these patties because my always growing son needs all the protein he can get. Normally I place the frozen patties on the wire racks of the oven with a cookie sheet on the bottom rack because they do drip but since we were at a cookout, on the grill they went. Grilling them only takes 4 minutes on each side so our "burgers" were quick and fast. They didn't carmelize on the grill as much as they do in the oven but they were still just as juicy. I topped our burgers with a little Dayia cheese, tomatoes, Sriracha and they were ready to go.

  A birthday isn't complete without cake and ice cream, sadly Keithon and I had to go without but since Jennifer was at the cookie party she had plenty of cookies left and Keithon was able to have those and not feel left out. I passed on the cookies mainly because I popped 3 into my mouth before arriving at the party. There was another veg head at the party that knew of me, Mark and his expecting girlfriend Courtney. It seems Courtney knows of me too, not because  we've met but because she is a fan of the pet rescue group Save 1 Pet, where I adopted my new baby Hollywood.

All in all Jennifer's Birthday cookout was a success. Keithon and I didn't starve and no one had to eat outside. The perfect ending of course was Jennifer and her son Spencer wearing her birthday cake. Priceless

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Great Cookie Debacle

  At 5 pm Friday night I sent the ladies a Facebook status that said you can start cursing me out now. I did not realize that by Saturday I would be cursing myself out as well. The invite says that we are suppose to bake 13 dozen cookies so I had my game plan in place. I would knock mine out Saturday morning in an hour and a half tops by using 4 cookie sheets and have the rest of Saturday to rest. WRONG!!! Earlier in the week Nicole sent me a text saying that she may not be able to make it because she wouldn't be able to get everything done in time. (she works 2 jobs and has a daughter) Being the Power Ranger that I am I offered to help her, on Friday night. It was no biggie its not like a had a hot date or anything and plus that's what friends do.

  So Friday before heading to Nicole's Keithon, Bianca and I hit up the Crosstown Arts Christmas party. It was a pretty low turn out due to the rain. But just like any Crosstown party it not disappoint. All the food was VEGAN even the items on the decorate your own cookie station were vegan. My son made and ate 5 cookies, he asked if I wanted one. I declined because I knew I would have over a 100 cookies in my possession in the next few hours. After hanging out and doing a little karaoke we headed to Nicole's so we could get to work. Armed with my cookie sheets and apron we set to work...almost. Nicole could not find her measuring cups. She recently moved and just like with any move things were lost in the move. So we headed to Family Dollar where we got her the baking basics, measuring cups, spoons and a cookie sheets with a cooling rack. Now we could get to work. Nicole went the truffle route instead of cookies. There was nothing in the rules that says she couldn't. We rolled 144 truffles. Yes I know that is not 13 dozen but we had a girl drop and I could not replace her. By 11:30pm the truffles were rolled, in the fridge and we were done. Success!!

8 am Saturday morning I woke up, walked Hollywood and tied my apron back on and set to work on my own cookies. I had Pandora going, I was in my zone. I finished my cookies by 9:30. I am a beast in the kitchen! After cleaning the kitchen and packaging my cookies I crawled back into bed to rest before setting to work on the food and taking Keithon to his Grandma's birthday breakfast. No sooner than I closed my eyes I got a message from one of the cookie members saying she couldn't make it. It was 10:40 am one the day of the party and most girl were done baking. There was no way in blue hell I was going to send a message saying that we would be another girl short. So I had to figure out some way to replace 12 dozen cookies. My first thought was to make cupcakes, no that wouldn't be right. So I went online and Googled "easy vegan cookies" hoping to find one I could knock out using what I had at home. No such luck everything called for one or two things I didn't have. Then I came upon a slide show of 25 christmas vegan cookies as I was going through the slides I stopped on the one of the gingerbread man that was frowning. The story of this cookie is from none other than Annie Shannon from Meet The Shannons. Her story was that she set out to make mini gingerbread men and her plan to to decorate them all cute and what not but they were too small so she was pissed and all she could was decorate with was frowning faces. This was my cookie because it was the day of cookie club and and I had to get back in the kitchen and bake.....again. I was not a happy camper but I refused to let the girls down.

Now it was my turn to call in a favor from Nicole. She was at my house and we got to work measuring and stirring. My poor hand mixer could not take the strength of gingerbread dough so we had to take turns mixing this dough by hand. A pink Kitchen Aid stand mixer is in my future. With the dough chilling in the freezer and the kitchen re-cleaned, Nicole and I sat on the couch and she told me, "if you start working on these cookies and it doesn't come together walk away. Its not your fault the girl canceled. No stress." After the dough was chilled I started rolling, cutting and baking. Pan after pan went in the oven. I had little gingerbread men everywhere. Once they were cooled I started to decorate them and of course I couldn't find my icing bag or my coupler so I cut a hole in a Ziploc bag and taped the tip on. The bag broke at the seams 6 cookies in! I tossed the bag and started with a new one. I finished 12 cookies and the second bag broke. I was done. I tossed the bag, icing tip and all in the trash and packaged the cookies. No stress remember. I did what I could do.

I only had the energy to throw together the food spread so I opted for simple things. At the Crosstown Christmas Party they had this yummy Crostini topped with hummus celery and olives. I made the same dish put instead of topping the Crostini with the olives and celery I put them in the hummus and tossed in a few chopped capers for good measure. I paired the left over hummus with carrot sticks as well as chips and salsa. I was spent and the girls would be arriving soon. Lucky for me Bianca brought an awesome crab dish using Match Meat. I forgot how much I missed crab when I had this dish. I need to obtain some Match Meat.

After getting settled and semi caught up we started on our stories. Since we have the new rule, "What's said in Cookie Club, stays in Cookie Club" I'll only give a brief summary. We have all had a crappy year but we survived it and even found a bit of joy along the way. Unknowing we were all going through a bit of the same struggles. My cookie is the Diva Delight because I am a diva and this year is the year where I am always trying to find the positive in things. All of my cookies were different on purpose. Some were small, some hard, some soft, some were big but there were only 11 in the box but I included a fortune cookie. The reason all my cookies were different is because each month has been different. In the past year I have lost almost 40 pounds, finalized my divorce, became vegan, lost friends, changed my religious beliefs and dealt with death. The lack of a 12 cookie was because I don't know what this month holds for me but I am excited to find out. Here is the recipe.

Diva Delight

2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp. non-aluminum baking powder

1/2 tsp. sea salt

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup canola oil

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup water

2 tbsp of Cookie Butter Swirl

What you do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix everything together in a large bowl, well!

Using a small/medium scoop, (or a spoon) place on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes. Cookies won't brown on top when they are done.

All the ladies in the group aren't vegan and I have no problem with that so there were a few non vegan cookies but I was happy that a few non vegans made vegan cookies.

Brenna- Betty is my Friend  Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Aisha- Turn Lemons into Lemonade Sugar Cookies

Stephanie- Kitchen Sink Chocolate Cookies

Bianca- Chewy Spiced Molasses Cookies

Amy- Sugar Cookies with Sprinkles

Nicole- Coco dusted Truffles

Lisa- Chocolate and Vanilla M&M Cookies

Karen-  Oreo Cookie Balls

Jennifer- Gluten free Vegan Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cassi- Diva Delight and Soft Gingerbread Cookies

After all of the baking, wine, drama, tears  and laughs Cookie Club was a success. This year we gave our extra dozen cookies to Hope House. It is a school for children in the Memphis area affected with AIDS and HIV. I love my girls and am so happy we were able to come together again this year. I can't wait til next year mainly because we won't have to bake as many cookies and the club will only have 10 ladies. 10 is a good number for us. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Blame it on Big Lots

If you are reading this post it means that I survived Cookie Club 2013. Before I get into what Cookie Club is I must tell you how it began. Back in the summer of 2012 I found a book, in Big Lots, by Ann Pearlman called The Christmas Cookie Club. When I opened to the first page I knew this book was for me.
Prologue: We Gather Every Year I am the head cookie bitch and this is my party. This was a Cassi book. Here is a summary of the book.

About The Christmas Cookie Club

Every year at Christmastime, Marnie and her closest girlfriends mark their calendars for a cookie exchange. Everyone brings homemade cookies and a bottle of wine to share, but this year, it’s their stories that are especially important—the passion and hopefulness of new romance, the betrayal and disillusionment some relationships bring, the joys and fears of motherhood, the stress of financial troubles. On this evening, at least, the sisterly love they have for one another rises above it all. Celebrating courage and joy in spite of hard times and honoring the importance of woman’s friendships as well as the embracing bonds of community, the delightful novel speaks to us all.

I fell in love with this book and could not put it down. So when I finished I asked Jennifer, "hey do you think if I started a cookie club people would be game?" Of course she said yes, she always encourages my hair brained ideas and I love her for that. So I sent out invites to 11 of my closest girlfriends. ( 2 of the ladies were not able to make it though) My girlfriends thought I was bat shit crazy. I asked them to bake 13 dozen cookies....from scratch. Hey that's what the book said to do. See also the cookie has to tell the story of our year. Here is Bianca's recap from last year. Let me tell you my girls are the most awesome chicks in the world. They baked the cookies but not before cursing me out in the Facebook world. Hell, I even cursed my own self out during the process. Needless to say we survived, had an awesome time and learned more about each other.

Since this is a yearly event. I sent out this year's invites and to my surprise everyone from last year was still in. I did have to replace 2 members that dropped so this year I inducted Aisha to our cookie madness. I also invited another girlfriend but she had to drop before the party.
    The cookie party is held in my home because well I'm the head cookie bitch and it's my party plus I would NEVER ask any of the other girls to host and bake cookies. That's just not fair. I also request that we keep our cookies and stories a secret. No real reason other than that's the way they do it in the book.

  Last night was filled with laughs and emotions. We inducted our cookie virgin Aisha and I also changed two of the rules because of a debacle that happened. Next year we will only bake half a dozen for each lady but we will still bake a full dozen for the charity. The second rule change is we will stick to 10 ladies. Last year we started up with 12 and ended up with 10 and this year the same thing happened. So I am taking it as a sign. 10 is a nice round number and 10 means perfect. As emotional as last night was it was perfect. Check back tomorrow to find out the cookies and all the madness that ensued. Don't worry ladies I'll only do a summary because "What's said in Cookie Club stays in Cookie Club.