ThoraThinks


Chocolate, etc.
August 27, 2010, 11:53 am
Filed under: book reviews, food, recipes

Hi! I hope everyone has had a nice week.  I’ve been busy with all things ThoraThinks, and I also just started my new job at The University School of Nashville. All of the kids are fantastic little people, and they fill me up with love, excitement, and ideas. Their coughs, sneezes, and germs have also infiltrated my body, but that’s another story.

A huge “thank you” goes out to vegan cookbook author, Dreena Burton for her super-sweet book review this week. You can check out Dreena’s cookbooks here.

On Sunday, Sept. 5th (Labor Day weekend) I’ll be having a storytime & book signing at The Wild Cow Vegetarian Restaurant. If you’re in Nashville, come on out and tell your friends! Check out the Facebook event page for more info.

Have I told you that I’m REALLY into chocolate right now? Well I am. I want to taste it all! I have yet to really explore the social/political/environmental issues surrounding the chocolate industry, so if anyone can point me to some good sources of info, I’d appreciate it. From a purely sensory point of view, however, I am totally enamored. I’ve been experimenting with making my own mostly-raw* chocolate treats, and I thought I’d share a simple recipe.

*I use maple syrup to sweeten the chocolate. If you want it completely raw, try using agave instead.

——————————

Vegan Ganache

-1/2 c raw cacao powder
-1/2c raw carob powder
-1/2c raw cocoa powder
-1 c maple syrup
-1/2 c coconut oil

Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Store in fridge or freezer.

—————————–

So far I’ve used this ganache to make two things:

1… DELICIOUS Chocolate turtles. Filling is equal parts pine nuts and pitted dates, plus a little vanilla and a tiny pinch of salt- pulsed in a food processor until sticky and well combined. It has a nice, caramel-y flavor. Next time I’ll add some whole, raw peanuts or almonds to the filling. These should be frozen until ready to eat.

2… Frozen, chocolate-covered bananas. I made these for my girls Emily, Kaitlin, and Holly, because they helped me cut viking bodies out of fabric this week! : )  They’re kind of messy, but really tasty. These are great with any combination of nuts, nut butters, coconut, hemp seeds, etc. My favorite is peanut butter, chocolate, and almonds. Mmmmmmm



vikings and pickles
August 25, 2010, 3:08 am
Filed under: book reviews, diy business, dolls, food, vikings

I’m doing an experiment. I usually make one doll at a time, but since I need to make lots of them for VegFest next month, I’m trying to maximize efficiency without sacrificing the handmade-ness or attention to detail. This week I’m sewing Vikings, and today I drew lots of eyes. Tomorrow I’ll finish faces. Thursday I’ll make arms and legs. Doing things this way kind of makes me feel like a little factory.

A new review of Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice was posted on VegBooks.org today. This site is a great resource, offering children’s book and movie reviews from a veg point of view.

In other news, over the weekend I made pickles for the first time! Cucumbers are in full force here, and we grew lots of dill in our backyard. My grandfather gave me some delicious pickling spice, and I’ve been quite excited to try it out. When I was a kid, my Papa called me a pickle fresser. I think fresser is Yiddish for “gluttonous foodie,” or something like that… so it was an appropriate name. He has always made incredible, garlicky dill pickles (they’re much better than any others I’ve tried) and I can never get enough!  My maternal family is of European Jewish descent, and we have a rich food history. I respect and value the role that food has in my family, but of course most of the dishes call for animal flesh and bi-products. I’m so glad my Papa shared his pickle recipe with me, so I can enjoy them for years to come and pass it along to my kids.

I also made a small jar of bread and butter pickles that are just sweet enough, and already so delicious.

(:



Squash Blossoms
August 23, 2010, 2:39 am
Filed under: food

WOOHOO! I’ll be selling my books, dolls, and other handmade merch at the Northwest VegFest in Portland next month! I’ll have more info about that adventure soon. For now, I’m determined to make A LOT of dolls in a fairly short period of time. Wish me luck!

In other news, yesterday there were some pretty good looking squash blossoms at the farmer’s market. I’ve had them a couple times, but had never prepared them myself, so I decided to make stuffed squash blossoms for dinner! I stuffed them with Dreena Burton’s truffled cashew cheese (I added fresh basil and nutritional yeast)- then coated them with beer batter- and fried them. SO GOOD. If you have the opportunity to buy some squash blossoms, do it!

I hope everyone has a great week! Don’t forget to take some Ingvar photos with all of your delicious, vegan, summertime fare.

: ) Nathalie



pizza and so forth
August 19, 2010, 12:20 am
Filed under: book reviews, food, Thora

Hi! I hope everyone’s doing well. This is a busy week for me, so I’ll keep things brief for now.

As always, Ki and I have been joyfully devouring all the seasonal produce we can get our hands on.  A new friend at the West Nashville Farmer’s Market has been hooking us up with fresh, hickory smoked tomato sauces. They are so, SO good and we’ve used them in all kinds of dishes (stewed okra, smoky curried chickpeas, gazpacho, etc.). Anyway, we decided to use the sauce on pizza this weekend and it turned out pretty delicious! We made a thin, spelt flour crust and used a variation of the cashew ricotta recipe found in Veganomicon (I use lots of fresh basil, and add 1/8 c nutritional yeast , ½ tsp black truffle oil, and a pinch of chili powder and nutmeg).  The pizza was topped with kalamata olives, shitake and cremini mushrooms, tomatoes, fresh basil, dried oregano, and truffle+olive oil. I really loved the smoky/truffle-y combination, and I’m wondering if any of you have suggestions for unexpected or exciting pizza flavors. What’s your favorite kind of pizza?

On the ThoraThinks front, it’s been exciting to start getting book reviews from other bloggers. Trina from Your Vegan Mom posted this sweet review yesterday. I really appreciate everyone’s help in getting the word out! If you haven’t already, come say hello on Facebook and suggest the Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice page to your friends!

happy reading,
Nathalie

p.s. Someone from Austria ordered a Thora doll yesterday, and the image of Thora hanging out in a box getting shipped all over the place is very cute to me.



Making Thora
August 15, 2010, 11:30 pm
Filed under: dolls, making!, Thora


I want a Thora doll!



really good kale wraps
August 14, 2010, 10:30 pm
Filed under: food, recipes

Hello! I hope everyone is having a nice weekend. It’s reeeeaaaalllly hot here in Nashville.

I’ve been thinking about how I want to use this blog, and have decided to just include everything here: recipes, info about the book, stories of self-publishing, questions for discussion, things for kids, etc. So today I’ll share my first recipe! Ki and I make these raw kale wraps often, and they are SO DELICIOUS. They are simple to make, and everyone loves them at potlucks.

really good kale wraps
Ingredients:
-1/4 onion, diced
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-juice of half a lime
-1/2 tsp. cumin
-cayenne
-salt
-2 small avocados (or 1 ½ if they’re large)
-fresh lacinato kale leaves, ribs removed (or substitute raw collards)
-medjool or other semi-soft dates, pits removed

First make guacamole:
1. Marinate onion and garlic in lime juice.
2. Stir in cumin. Add cayenne and salt to taste.
3. Mash in avocados

To assemble, scoop 1 tablespoon of guacamole onto kale leaf. Add ½ a date and roll it up! If you’d like, garnish with some diced hot pepper and a squeeze of lime. Enjoy!

——————————————————————————————————————————————

This weekend I’m sewing Thora dolls, pickling cucumbers, and making pizza. More to come soon!



what I do and where I do it
August 12, 2010, 4:46 am
Filed under: diy business, dolls, making!, studio

Hi!

I’ve been receiving questions about where I work, how I work, and what I actually do…

Tonight seemed like a good night to start explaining.

I’m 23 and I graduated from Denison University with a BFA in studio art about a year ago. In addition to being a bookmaker, I am also a maker of paintings, videos, sounds, installations, performances, and more. I’m still getting acquainted with the world outside of school, and am trying to develop some kind of consistent artistic practice. I’ve been a little distracted though. Without deadlines, papers, exams, and critiques floating over my head, I’m spending more time cooking, walking, squeezing Ki (my boy), and trying to manage a small publishing company. I’ve fallen hard for vegetables, fruit, and chocolate. I’ve become friends with lots of young farmers. I’ve talked and thought and listened and thought and thought and thought and thought. Once my whole body is full of life and thoughts and sparks of light- (my whole body! every finger and every toe!)- once my whole body is full of ideas… then, POP! I’ll make some stuff.

I made the original version of Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice when I was still in school. I didn’t intend to make more than one copy, or to sell it. I love children’s books and wanted to make my own. I wanted to raise questions about eating animals. I wanted to make something free and funny and a little wild. When I finally finished the book, people seemed to like it, so I thought that maybe I’d make more someday.

After I graduated, I moved to Nashville. I had an interview for a job that I didn’t really want. At all. So instead of going to the interview, I cried and then decided I’d make books instead! I would edit the book. I would decide what to call my publishing company. I would find someone to print and bind the books. I would find out how to pay that someone. I would order proofs. I would wait for proofs. I would try CMYK and RGB color. I would make a website. A blog. A facebook page. A twitter? (I don’t really like twitter, but I’ll at least try). I would sew more dolls. I would make buttons. Magnets. I would order business cards, mailers, packaging. I would calculate shipping. Things would go right. Things would go wrong. I would be excited, doubtful, motivated, passionate, frustrated, overwhelmed, proud. Ki would help me out when I needed it.

Now that things are in place, I’m having so much fun sharing the book with you!  I hope people laugh when they read it. I hope they think about the questions in the book- raise more questions- and talk about them. I have been hurting for animals for a long time, so it feels good to make something fun and to celebrate non-violence. It’s fresh and interesting learning new things about business, and meeting others who are working for non-violence in their own creative/mindful ways.

These days I am processing orders, sewing dolls, making buttons and magnets, and spending lots of time spreading the word! If you like what you see on the ThoraThinks website, please tell your friends. I am so thankful for all the word-of-mouth help I can get!

I do all of these things from this little studio in our house:
(notice the book-filled boxes that line my walls)


…that’s the gist. Questions and comments welcome. More to come soon!

Enjoy your day,
Nathalie



hola
August 1, 2010, 10:01 pm
Filed under: food

Hi there!
First I want to say “THANK YOU!” to my partner, friends, and family for being so supportive and encouraging as I have gotten this whole book project started. I’ve received lots of really thoughtful messages from both friends and ‘strangers’ these past couple weeks, and it’s awesome.  And thanks to these blogs for their support, too:

-Have Cake, Will Travel
-Two Vegan Boys
-Nashvegan
-Vegan Dad
-Vegan Crunk
-Vegan Fox in the Snow
-Little House of Veggies
-Vegan Family Style
-Mitten Machen
-Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan
-These Little Piggies Had Tofu
-Eating Vegan in Worcester

Check them out if you have a chance… they’re all very friendly.

In addition to trying to sell all of these books that are in my house, I have been cooking and eating SO MUCH. I’ve never been as excited about food as I am this summer. This is probably due to a combination of our great relationship with some sweeeeeeet farmers; my being a graduate, and having time to prepare food rather than write papers; and being inspired by Ki’s enthusiasm and knowledge. (And his high-speed blender and dehydrator).  : )  I am loving the colors, flavors, textures, and smells of vegetables and fruits so, so much right now that I might explode.

Thank you, summer!!!

Layers of these gorgeous tomatoes, yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, potatoes, basil, tomato sauce, cashew ricotta, kalamata olives, and oregano; baked to perfection and devoured with friends. Thanks Nashville farmer's market & CSA!

Ki in the garden

our summer favorite

I also just finished working at the art museum here in Nashville, helping with their summer camp. The kids were great! So many smart little people. When another teacher advised the students to fold their paper “hamburger-style,” one particularly boisterous camper shouted, “BUT I’M A VEGETARIAN!!!!” I suggested folding it “veggie burger- style” instead.

If you haven’t already, please submit an Ingvar photo.  It’s super fun (and cute). And don’t forget that kids are welcome to submit artwork to the blog!

I’m advertising the book on my own, and really appreciate all the help I can get… tell your friends! : ) Don’t forget to check out the ThoraThinks Facebook page, where I post updates and special offers.

Have a great week!
All the best,

Nathalie




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