Remember a few posts back when I talked about how supportive my family has been? I specifically referenced my mom and how she’s gone above and beyond in preparing plant-based foods for me when I visit home. Today it is time to give a shout out to my dad.

My parents found this blog over the weekend. I wasn’t intentionally keeping it from them, but it felt a little odd as an adult to be like “look at this thing I made,” especially while it’s still in its infancy. I wanted to wait until “creature free” was a little more solidified (re: impressive) before I shared it, but fate intervened! Apparently folks in our friend circle have been whispering about it (which, thank you! Truly, I’m thrilled that people are reading this!), and it made its way back to them. They were both really excited when I spoke to them about it last night, which, of course, felt amazing. Love you guys!

When I came home from work this evening, there was a package from Amazon addressed to me. I sat there with it in my lap, racking my brain (“what did you order? you seriously can’t remember what you ordered? ugh, way to go…”), before I finally opened it up.

It was a gift-wrapped book, with this note attached:

“Hi Shannon,

A little “blog-warming” gift.

Love,

Dad”

In my Vegan Slow Cooker Tikka Masala post, I mentioned that I’ve had Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen sitting in my Amazon cart for months. I’m happy to say that now, thanks to my dad, I now actually own it!

veganricha

I can’t wait to try some recipes from this book next week. The hardest part will be choosing which ones to make. Everything looks so insanely good. It seems like the obvious place would be the tofu tikka masala since that is what is pictured in the right corner of the cover… although, I have a feeling that after tasting Richa’s, I might not be making mine as frequently.

Dad, I know you’re reading this — thank you so much for taking the time to read all my posts and for thinking of me! This was such a kind gesture. If you’re still feeling generous, I hear that there’s an animal-free Tesla in the works… I kid 🙂

This Wednesday night, I’m traveling to LA where I will meet up with six of my sorority sisters from college. We’re going to be spending a few days in wine country (!!!), which means that I’m responsible for tonight and tomorrow’s meals. As before any big trip, my next two evenings are slated full of chores (laundry, packing, cleaning), so my dinner choices this week needed to be simple.

I’ve talked about Keepin it Kind’s 20 minute bean and cheese tacos before because 1) they taste amazing and 2) it really only does take 20 minutes to pull this dinner together. I always find myself leery of instruction times in recipes. If someone who makes a living off of cooking says a dish takes them about 45 minutes to prepare, I can usually count on it taking me nearly double. That is not the case with these tacos!

beanandcheesetacos

Look how pretty they are! The filling is made of mashed garbanzo beans, diced green chiles, liquid aminos, lime juice, and a handful of spices. The cheese is heart of palm blended with nutritional yeast. Both of these served on corn tortillas with some cabbage, avocado, and diced green onions make for a filling, healthy, and (most importantly) easy  meal. I found this recipe about a month ago, and we have made it almost every week since. JB packs up the leftovers and eats them for lunch at work, and I am sad on leftover night when they are already gone.

Speaking of JB! I promised to report on how baking his birthday cake went. He request a vegan German chocolate cake, which while delicious, seemed pretty advanced for me to pull together. I know very little about baking, but I found this recipe from Whisk and Shout and spent my Saturday afternoon preparing it. There are no pictures of the cake because it came out looking like a hot mess. I was shocked how easily the actual baking process went, especially because I had 9-inch cake pans instead of 8-inch ones as the recipe specified. To compensate, I made about 1/3 more of the batter and increased the bake time, which was a risky undertaking for me. The way the cake smelled as it was cooking soothed my worst fears. Unfortunately, this new-found confidence led to me BREAKING the first layer of the cake when I removed it from the pan. In my haste to get it onto the cooling rack, I turned the pan over too quickly and the cake crashed down into about 5 different pieces. It was still really warm, so I figured I’d let the second layer cool inside its pan a bit more. I was able to seal the first layer back together with the frosting, but when I went to put the second layer on top of it, the a thin layer of cake remained glued to the inside of its pan, giving the top round a rough, speckled exterior. Also, to my befuddlement, it somehow ended up being larger than the bottom layer, despite the fact they were both in 9 inch pans. The frosting only went on the tops of the cakes, which meant there was no hiding it. My confidence, in sync with the cake, crumbled, and I became certain that JB’s birthday would be a failure.

Two days later, and after several rave reviews, there are only a few slices left. JB and I have been systematically doing our part to make sure there are no leftovers, and the fact that this cake tastes like a cross between an Oreo and an Almond Joy makes this task incredibly easy. Thank you to Medha at Whisk and Shout for the incredible recipe, which she calls “{Vegan} German Chocolate Cake!” In her description she notes, “This cake has an exclamation point in the title.” It certainly does, and it deserves it. Maybe next time I bake it, it will be worthy of a picture.