Recipe: Mountain Corn Chowder

Not sure if you heard, but this past week our corner of the World got slammed with a pretty good winter storm.  We wanted to make something super hearty and easy to reheat in the event we lost power.  We never did (fortunately) but now we have a huge pot (not kidding, this recipe will feed 10+ people) of this amazing chowder!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 5# bag red potatoes
  • 3 cans organic yellow corn (we used the Field Day brand)
  • one quart of vegan veggie broth (we used Pacific foods)
  • 1 quart unsweetened cashew milk
  • 1 2.8 oz. container vegan bacon bits
  • 1 bag of mozzarella shreds
  • 3 tbsp smart balance
  • 2 cups nutritional yeast
  • One container Tofutti sour cream
  • 1 sweet onion
  • Onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper (to taste)
  • A giant pot (this is a huge recipe!)

Directions:

  1. Dice then boil the red potatoes until soft. Drain.
  2. Sautee the onion.
  3. Add back to pot.  Add Smart Balance and mash them.
  4. Add cashew milk and broth as continuing to mash.
  5. Add all remaining ingredients and season to taste.
  6. Simmer.
  7. Garnish as desired before serving.

As with most chowders I have had, this seems to taste better after a night in the fridge.  It should also freeze and store well.

Restaurant Review: FoMu Ice Cream [Boston]

When you think of a cold, New England city like Boston, the image of ice cream probably isn’t the first thing in your mind.  When you realize it is a 100% vegan ice cream shop, it seems even further from reality.  But I am not complaining!  FoMu ice cream is an amazing little shop with multiple locations around Boston.

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FoMu is located in the little vegan paradise of Allston, right at the craziness that is Union Square. Many vegan establishments have come and gone here, so I am happy to see FoMu sticking around for a while.

Note my last visit here was in 2014 and I only recently found the images.  I didn’t want them to go to waste, but if you go to FoMu some things may be different from the images. I did confirm they are still open and seem to be a healthy, prospering vegan business!

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FoMu is a little space but very well laid out and designed.  There were a ton of awesome options for ice cream and a “Coldstoneish” array of mixins, all vegan of course.

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FoMu offers espresso and coffee as well as smoothies in addition to all the frozen goodies.  They also had a freezer full of hand-packed pints and ice cream cakes ready to grab and go.

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I ended up grabbing a cone with cookie dough (my old staple) and a scoop of salted caramel and it was awesome.  I could definitely taste the coconut cream influence (I hate coconut so I am just super sensitive to the flavor) but it wasn’t overpowering.

I was so excited to give it a try, I didn’t even take the time to get a photo.  Just take my word for it – it was good!

Install: Rear Axle Shafts for Jeep JK (Stock)

I have been stalling on any additional upgrades for my axles, as I ponder the upgrade to one tons.  So until then, and aside from the current build, I am trying not to upgrade anything.  So when my rig developed a weird squeaking (believed to be a bent shaft), friends suggested I replace my stock shafts with another set of stock ones a buddy had laying around.

Step 1: Purchase a couple of Beyond Burgers at Veggie Grill for you and your buddies.

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Step 2:  Properly jack up and set the Jeep on stands or the lift.

Step 3: Remove the tire/wheel.  If you use spacers (like I do), remove those too.

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Step 4: Remove the brake caliper by removing the two bolts that hold it in place and hang it as needed.

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Step 5: Remove the brake rotor.  Ensure the emergency brake is off.  Just pull the rotor off the studs by pulling toward you and wiggle as needed to clear the wheel studs.

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Step 6: Loosen (don’t remove) the wheel speed sensor using an 8mm wrench.

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Step 7: Remove the 4 axle flange nuts.

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Step 8: Remove the old axle shaft by prying the flange out.  Once it “pops” you will be able to slide it out by hand.  Prepare to lose gear oil, so have a bucket handy.

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Step 9: Pry out the bearing race.  You may want to keep these races in your offroad rescue kit, so as long as they are in good shape, take care with them.

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Step 10: If using previously loved shafts (like me) apply brake cleaner to the splines and make sure the bearing/race is clean and free of dirt

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Step 11: To reassemble, follow these steps in reverse.  Be sure when inserting the new shaft, do not force it.  You need to ‘feel’ for the fit, by the differential and clear the shaft.  Once in place, tap the end of the axle to seat it fully.  When tightening the 4 axle flange bolts, thread them in together, so one end is not tight before the other.   You may hear a pop when tightening them, that is just the assembly seating fully.

Step 12:  Refill any lost gear oil, and re-torque all wheels and spacers.

The Case for Open Veganism

I remember when I lived in Alaska and was a meat eater.  The whole concept of “veganism” was an odd one – a stereotype of skinny, pasty, punk kids sitting in a drum circle eating lettuce and gravel.  They were angry at the world,and irrational. I never took the time to meet or understand vegans, so my irrational vice held.  That is of course, until I gave away all the meat and fish in my freezer and became an Alaskan vegan myself.

I soon realized the error of my ways.

Continue reading The Case for Open Veganism

Product Review: The Beyond Burger and the Vegan Uncanny Valley

Well, it finally happened.  I was able to sink my teeth into the newest, and possibly most anticipated vegan food item in a long time. Beyond Meat has been releasing their new product, the Beyond Burger in limited Whole Foods stores across the country (yet to be found in the PNW, sadly).

But Veggie Grill worked out a special deal with Beyond Meat and have included it in their new Winter Menu.  We made a bee line for the closest VG (downtown Portland) and raced in from the car.

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First things first, the second I walked into the place it smelled different.  Veggie Grill never really had a “smell” (Like Subway, Burger King, or Abercrombie).  But now, they did.  It literally smelled like a Burger King in there.  I wasn’t, and am still not, sure it is a good thing.

Continue reading Product Review: The Beyond Burger and the Vegan Uncanny Valley

A True Friend, Indeed

About fourteen and a half years ago (almost to the date) I turned my Jeep around in the middle of a busy Boulder, Colorado intersection.  It was a literal U-Turn in the purest sense of the word.  As I floored my Jeep, I raced back hoping he was still there.  This little brown chocolate lab mix, at the time, named MacGuyver.  He was at the Boulder Humane Society and we thought it was best to “wait” after meeting this sweet little pup.  Five minutes after leaving the lot and we were headed back to pick him up.  So fast, and deep was the connection with this truly beautiful spirit.

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Cooper at my very first Jeep offroad trip in Nederland, Colorado

After a quick rename to Cooper (aptly after a Cooper Tires sign after leaving the humane society the second time, with the dog in the Jeep) he was home and making himself a permanent part of my life.

Continue reading A True Friend, Indeed

Product Review: Black Rifle Coffee Company

Living in the woods of Oregon, you must be proficient with a few critical things.  Make a damn good coffee, and be able to hit your target with judicious marksmanship.

So when those two things unite, it makes for an awesome product.

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A cuppa BRCC Joe while cleaning the rifles after a long day on the range.

Enter Black Rifle Coffee Company.  This small batch, veteran-owned roaster hails from Utah.  They have an awesome brand which represents the antithesis of what they call “hipster coffee.”  Which, in my opinion was becoming overly pretentious.  I want my coffee good, I want it consistent, and I want my roaster armed (not kidding, the photo below is from their website.  I love it).

Continue reading Product Review: Black Rifle Coffee Company

Restaurant Review: Vtopia [Portland]

I have never liked cheese.  Only as a slice on a cheeseburger, or on a plain pizza.  All the fancy cheeses just grossed me out.  The thought of moldy, fermented cow milk was never anything I really wanted to try.

But now, as a vegan, I am really excited to try out all these new cheeses!  They are not gross at all, and, ironically I’m learning all about different cheese now that I am vegan.

What does all this have to do with Vtopia? Well, for starters, it is Portland’s first all vegan cheese shop.  For seconders (is that a thing?) they have an incredible deli that let’s you try all their cheeses in their glory.

Kristin and I pointed the Jeep at Vtopia, and headed to NW Portland for some lunch.

Continue reading Restaurant Review: Vtopia [Portland]

Recipe: Sweet Hot Chili Fish Tacos

Summer is quickly fading away, and as the shadows get longer earlier, and the grill is in the dark faster, it is time to start thinking of ways to make fresh, hearty food.

I also can’t think of a better way to serve Gardein’s new Fishless Filets.

Continue reading Recipe: Sweet Hot Chili Fish Tacos

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