Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bunny, bunny

Don't ask me how I made these bunny slippers, because I don't remember. Knitting and embroidery, that's about all I recall from the blur of pre-Christmas knitting that consumed the weeks between semester's end and the holiday.

But they're cute, aren't they?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Animal brides, Thanksgiving,
selling out, travel

Today I made creamy potato-leek soup while finishing the first
two paintings in a series about mythical animal brides *. I
began with the frog maiden and the girl who married
a crow, and because I know my four readers want to know
what these illustrations could possibly look like,
pictures are in store.

In news unrelated to leeks or animal weddings:
a) Ben and I are looking forward to a quiet Thanksgiving at home.
The meal will be wonderfully similar to last year's (guess I didn't blog about it, if you can imagine that) and the year before's. I can't wait!

b) Check it, I sold a great deal of artwork in my college's recent art sale. Hecks yeah! The sale is an annual event that is celebrated and anticipated in the Twin Cities... every year, the halls of my tiny art school are packed to the gills during the weekend before Thanksgiving. The scene is pretty crazy, actually. People run through the buildings, grabbing artwork from the walls and shoving it into big Ikea-style shopping bags! And as cynical as we students become about art as a commodity in the weeks leading up to this circus, none of us are complaining when the checks arrive.

c) We're thinking about visiting our friend T in Ireland next year. Since the only traveling Ben and I do is when we move to a new state (something we've done a ridiculous number of times, actually), this would be big whoop.

* and grooms.

Monday, November 09, 2009

I retroactively wish for this.

That's right, I am adding this to my 1981 letter to Santa. Incidentally, did you know that the illustrator who created my girl Holly Hobbie is actually named Holly Hobbie?? How weird and interesting is that?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

"Design Your Own Adventist-Style
Vegan Dinner Loaf!"

Good news, creative cooking friends! Jennifer
McCann's Magical Loaf Studio is back up! It's
totally waiting to help you design your own
vegan dinner loaf, and it's so cute and fun.
You choose the ingredients and it tells you
how much of everything to use, which is a tidy
way to avoid the heartbreak of a crumbly,
fall-apart dinner loaf. It's also great for
designing gluten-free main-dish cutlets, patties,
and loaves -- just choose GF ingredients in the
binder and carbs categories. Have a blast,

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

My art + a good cause

The holiday card I designed for Noel House women's shelter in Seattle is now available! It's one of those "a gift has been made in your honor" things and sales benefit homeless women in Seattle.

My school is actually preparing me for a successful career in the visual arts!
Hecks yes!

I don't think I've mentioned how well art school is going
lately. Have I? The thing is, things have really clicked
this semester. It happened pretty much right away in
September, when I began my most intensive semester yet
--five illustration classes, including one focusing
entirely on editorial illustration. I felt, almost right
away, that I just knew how to do stuff BETTER than I was
used to doing stuff. I don't think it was simply that I
just had confidence in my work, but who knows? It also
doesn't seem likely that I got better overnight. I know
it was the result of a couple of years of truly hard work,
exposure to good instructors, and access to the right tools.
But whatever it was, professors began reacting to my work
with overwhelming approval and enthusiasm. I was asked to
do a couple of projects outside of school, expanding my
still-limited-but-not-as-limited-as-before professional
experience. And when I put up my work for critique in
class, I almost always feel that my illustrations are at
the top of the class -- a significant change from one year
ago, or even one semester ago.

All of this makes me hopeful and excited about my career,
for probably the first time in my life.

Friday, October 30, 2009

If you live in Chicago, you should go.

My friend Alicia* sings in the Chicago-area band
Oh, Alchemy. I created this nostalgic little poster to
advertise one of their December shows. Click to see
bigger and better!

* I've known Alicia since we became pen pals more than
twenty years ago!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Willy and pathos

Poor Mr. Loman was an empty suit. I created this poster with acrylic and Photoshop, with one of Ben's suits as a model. The type is essentially Futura medium, but I made the individual letterforms myself (again with acrylic paint and Photoshop) for a different, slightly more distressed, hand-lettered look.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Literary cartoon portraits.

I've been dipping my toe in the warm waters of product design lately. This little guy is a binder with the faces of famous literary figures, because, well, they're my peeps. Click to enlarge.

Saturday, October 03, 2009


 coffee, not to gouache. (Do you know about gouache? It's a type of paint beloved by many illustrators for its high pigmentation and the cool matte quality that it can produce.)

Personally, although I enjoy admiring others' gouache illustrations, I don't love working with the medium. When I want flat panels of color like you see in my coffee painting above, I prefer to work digitally... less messy, and looks the same. In this illustration, I used both gouache and digital color.

* It's pronounced [ɡwaʃ]. Fun to say! Rhymes with "wash"!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Swimsuits in the snow, seventeen years ago

My high school friend Krista sent me this photo of us at age fifteen. We took a swimming class in high school, and apparently it was during the winter.

Friday, August 28, 2009

A recent bento

Honeydew, chocolate cake with vanilla frosting, roasted red pepper hummus, and carrot sticks and broccoli.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Helmet: magenta and yellow

After a tornado hit downtown Minneapolis (you didn't hear about it because weather-related news about the eastern states always eclipses weather-related news about the midwest), we had a couple days of flood rains followed by some cold weather. In Minnesota, it's hard not to feel a little depressed by the feelings of doom brought about by cold weather in August. Winter will be here sooner than we'd like, and those are nine long, cold months in this part of the country. Our cold-weather preview motivated me to knit a winter hat.

I am driven to knit hats with earflaps. Absolutely driven. Yesterday I came up with this woolly helmet with a giant button. It's magenta and yellow! And as I began to knit it up, I soon realized that this had is destined to belong to my friend Andrea, who lives in a cold part of the world herself and who is quite charming in a helmet.

Vegan cream cheese potato puffs!

Jesus are these things good!

I made up the recipe a few days ago when I was trying to make and freeze a ton of delicious patty-type morsels for weekday lunches once classes resume. They kinda taste like hash browns. Here's how it went:

Vegan cream cheese potato puffs

2 medium baked potatoes
1 T. Earth Balance
2 T. Tofutti cream cheese
Sea salt to taste
Ground pepper to taste
1/2 c. panko crumbs
Canoloa oil for frying

Preheat oven to 350 and lightly oil a baking sheet. Scoop out the flesh of the potatoes and mash coarsely with a fork. Stir in the Earth Balance, cream cheese, salt, and pepper.

Place panko crumbs in a shallow dish. Form potato mixture into eight balls of equal size. Press each ball into the crumbs, flattening slightly into a small patty. Cover both sides of each patty with crumbs and place each patty on the baking sheet.

Bake for 10-12, then flip patties and allow other side to brown.

These are good hot or at room temperature!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A bunch of bento

Click to enlarge!

Although I make bento year-round, summer is really bento season. The sweet, gorgeous fresh fruits available in July and August are perfect for packing in a lunch! And I tend to be less busy in the summer, so I can spend a little more time creating tasty, nutritious lunches (although I do feel compelled to say, lest my six readers think I'm totally nuts, that I don't spend MUCH time making bentos... most components are made in advance and frozen, so that it only takes five or ten minutes to pack the lunches each evening).

Clockwise, beginning top left: chickpea salad, curried potato bun, chocolate chip zucchini muffin, cherries, and strawberries.

Cherries and blueberries, chickpea and red pepper salad, curried potato bun, walnut-chocolate chip banana bread.

Strawberries and homemade tapioca pudding.

Carrot sticks, cilantro-cannelini dip with capers, fried tofu, and fresh cantaloupe, blueberries, and cherries.

Falafel, fresh tomatoes and spinach, chocolate-walnut zucchini bread, and fresh cherries, blueberries, and cantaloupe.

PB on homemade bread, banana bread, carrot sticks, and fresh cherries and strawberries.

Duke of zuke

Other summers, in other towns, Ben and I have had gardens bursting with more zucchini than we could shake a bottle of olive oil at. For whatever reason, our garden here in Minneapolis never* yields more than four or five zucchini (above: the largest of the summer... we didn't notice it until it was already bigger than we like our zukes to get**). But we make up for it by picking hundreds of perfect, tender green beans in July and August.

* "Never" only spans two gardening seasons, but we're pretty sure this is just How It's Going To Be with this particular plot of dirt. Who knows why?
** As you might know, the bigger they get, the less flavorful zukes are. This one was great for baking; I made four batches of zucchini bread, including chocolate chip and chocolate-walnut. Much of it got frozen in muffin form for later inclusion in bentos.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A short summer

I have some time off before returning to MCAD next week,
and I'm spending it cleaning the house, cooking stuff to
pack in bentos once school-related madness resumes, riding
my pink bike, picking green beans and zukes, and trying to
become brilliant at watercolor (which I'm growing more and
more sure will never happen).

Ben and I have also spent some time at my favorite art
and passed an evening with an old college chum
of mine whom I hadn't seen for about a decade.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mary Blair, part 4

In addition to her brilliant children's book ilustrations and an illustrious career with Disney, Mary Blair did animation and ad design for Nabisco, Meadow Gold, Maxwell House, and others. In fact, Blair designed a huge Meadow Gold campaign using the actual characters from I Can Fly! Here's an animated TV commercial from the campaign. The voices are hilarious.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mary Blair, part 3

As promised, here are some of my favorite illustrations from I Can Fly, written by Ruth Krauss and illustrated by the venerable Mary Blair. Published in 1951, I Can Fly has never been out of print! You can see why.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bento bounty

I've been enjoying making summertime bentos for my lunch,
full of fresh fruit and cold salads. Perfect for this task is the
wondrously frufru bento box given to me by my girl Jenifer
last Christmas... it doesn't get photographed that much,
despite its cuteness, but I do use it a lot.

Left: hummus, carrot sticks, cherries, fried tofu, and chocolate chip banana bread.

Closed bento with crackers in the fork compartment.

Cherries and fried tofu.

Wrapped and ready.

Ben sticks with his usual bento, the original Laptop Lunch model. I
was excited to see that the Laptop Lunch people have come up with
system 2.0, and that more of the containers have lids! Tragically,
the new containers and lids are not compatible with the old.

Left: Mango-peach-strawberry salad, lemon bundt cake, garlic-almond rice pilaf, and chickpea and tomato salad.

Veggie pasta salad, chocolate muffin with fresh cherries, homemade hummus, fried tofu, and Ben's favorite kind of cracker.

More cherries, carrot sticks, chocolate chip banana bread, baba ganouj, and homemade focaccia bread.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Mary Blair, part 2

Disney buffs might beg to differ, but I think Mary Blair's most beautiful and inventive images are her children's book illustrations. Blair's gift for color and composition are so evident in these clever designs (for example, in Little Verses, Baby's House, and--the sole subject of next week's third Mary Blair post--I Can Fly). Above: a spectacular spread from Little Verses. The flat planes of brilliant saturated color work as well as they do here because of the smart composition and the striking forms.

Below: two more pages from Little Verses. The illustration on the left is so imaginative and sweetly ornamental, with the floral forms and the bumblebees forming patterns of their own without stealing focus from the central character, a cherry blossom tree. And the illustration on the right is such a pleasure to look at because Blair has engineered movement into the composition; you eye knows exactly where to look, and when. With its focus on movement, this is one of those Mary Blair illustrations that reflects her many years of thinking like an animator (want to read a bit about her long and impressive career with Disney?).

Baby's House combines some of Blair's most decorative work with her unmistakable color style. With the exception of Paul Rand, no one does flat, geometric forms as beautifully as Mary Blair, and I think those qualities really stand out in BH. Below: cover design and two single-page illustrations from Baby's House. The image of Baby wrapped in a fuzzy towel is one of my favorite Blair illustrations because of the color contrasts, the patterning and skewed perspectives of the background elements, the shaping of the frame (it seems so spontaneous!), and, especially, of course, the gorgeous white space that creates the form of the towel. Just dazzling! And pure Mary Blair.

Next: if you've never seen Mary Blair's most celebrated children's book, I Can Fly, you're in for an unforgettable treat. My third Mary Blair post will be nothin' but ICF, a Little Golden Book so incredibly popular that, in the nearly sixty years since it was first published, it has never been out of print.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Mary Blair, part I

My girl Mary Blair, mention of whom you will find elsewhere
in the archives
, was an illustrator, animator, and commercial
artist known for her brilliant color designs. She illustrated
children's books, designed TV and print ads, and was a top
Disney artist.

Today's post focuses on Blair's work for Disney. During her
nearly forty-year relationship with the Disney company, Blair
created concept art and color styling for Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Song of the South. She also
designed Disney's It's a Small World attraction, and
was was one of Walt's favorite employees; he loved
her use of flat (but brilliant) color and her geometric
compositions, although they were difficult to translate into
Disney's more perspective-based animation style. Below are a
few concept drawings Blair did for Alice and Cinderella:

Left: early character designs for Cinderella.

Left and below: concept drawings for the marching cards, an oversized Alice, and the tea party from Alice in Wonderland.

These concept sketches give you a peek at Blair's genius for color. Among her many artistic gifts (including an amazing flair for creating beautiful compositions), I think it's really her talent for color design* that has brought about the enduring reverence of illustrators and animators all over the world. Even today, Blair's influence is evident in, for example, the abiding Disney palette.

Mary Blair was honored as a "Disney legend" in 1991, one of the first women to receive the honor.

I'll post three more Mary Blair posts in this series. We've still got her children's books and TV and print ads to look at!

Sources: Cartoon Modern, Animation Archive, Wikipedia, Sullivan Goss, this photoset on Flickr, this book, and this book.

* Allegedly, Blair was such a color enthusiast that she used to wear colored contact lenses -- blue, green, whatever matched her outfit. This was in the 1960s!

Two bentos and a story

Ben, who I believe loves taking a delicious homemade lunch
to work, and says he absolutely does not find the bento
box embarrassing, told me this story re: a recent workplace

Another attorney in his office-- let's call her Betty --
saw Ben opening his lunch. Checking out the individual
containers of food that my husband was about to enjoy,
Betty squinted and asked, "Do you make those? Are you
really anal-retentive or something?"

"Actually," Ben informed her, "my wife makes them for
me. So I think the word you're looking for is lucky."

I love it. But it's weird how many people think it's
strange to bring one's lunch to work or school. People
find the bento box format especially weird, it seems.
But who cares? Let those people enjoy their frozen
microwave lunch, or spend $10 going to a restaurant
for lunch every day. That's not our way.

Below: sautéed seitan, blueberry muffin, peanuts and
walnuts, spinach couscous, and chickpea and tomato salad.

Below: overexposed photo of black bean and spinach
salad, chocolate cupcake, carrot sticks, and rotini
pasta salad with peas.

Monday, July 06, 2009

We both needed 17 questions

Ben and I spent the afternoon of July 4th at the Walker's sculpture garden, and inside checking out the Fluxus exhibit. On the way home, the sky opened up and we were caught in a chilly downpour! Huddled under an awning on Hennepin Avenue, we played Twenty Questions until the rain subsided.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Tempeh nouveau

Above: my new way to treat tempeh. I'm always hankering for different means of preparing tempeh. Usually, we do something like this: crumble the tempeh into a large Pyrex with a ton of olive oil, some tamari, a bit of sesame oil and Sriracha, and as many coarsely-chopped potatoes, carrots, onions, and green beans as will fit in the pan. Bake for thirty minutes, combine with rice. It's seriously tasty, especially considering how little prep work the dish requires. I've tried other ways of preparing tempeh, but it's hard to infuse the stuff with flavor while keeping it in cutlet form.

Tonight I made another attempt (photo above!). This is panko-crusted tempeh over a garlic-almond sweet potato crepe, with fresh spinach and a red wine reduction.

The reduction sauce was great, and so was the sweet potato-spinach combination. The tempeh was good -- not great, but good. Dryness and medium-low flavor are perennial problems with tempeh dishes, and they reared their ugly heads here, too! Next time, I'll make ample sauce to serve over the tempeh, or perhaps a variation of the French Meadow's blood orange reduction, and when I dredge* the tempeh in preparation for baking, I'll saturize my flour mixture with lots more spices (this time, it was just a pinch each of thyme, paprika, garlic powder, freshly ground black pepper, and cayenne -- a good mixture, but I could have doubled the quantity!).

* A recipe note: before dredging the sliced tempeh, boil it for 10-15 minutes. Let it cool, then coat it like this... set up three bowls: the first contains soy milk, the second contains about 1/3 c. flour with your choice of spices, and the third is a bowl of panko crumbs. Take a piece of tempeh and dunk it in the soy milk. Then dredge it in the flour mixture. Then dunk it in the soy milk again (quickly). Finally, dredge it in the panko crumbs. Place in a lightly oiled pan. Repeat. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, turning the tempeh halfway through.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Living and breathing

My bookmaking/printmaking/papermaking class is a real hoot. I've already learned a few types of screenprinting, Western and Japanese papermaking (Japanese is outrageously difficult, but Western is a lot of fun), and a bit of basic bookbinding. Above is my first book, an accordion-style artist's book about -- your favorite subject and mine -- photosynthesis. Although accordion books are commonly regarded as the most useless type of books, they're relatively easy to make and they've got a really artsy vibe.

The covers are screenprinted on mulberry paper, and the interior* is a heavier Arches paper. As for the interior, I created a sequence (in yellows, blues, and greens) of images based on scientific diagrams and photographs of plant cells, hydrogen and oxygen molecules, and other relevant biological forms, like chlorophyll and the glucose created by green plants. I'm fascinated by how this narrative is composed of elements (characters?) that are simultaneously realistic (e.g. the golgi complex of a plant cell actually looks like the long, squiggy worms I screenprinted on page three!) and abstract -- that is, they become abstract if you (like me) know very little about science and do not recognize the forms. I discovered that many of the biological forms I worked with also lent themselves to patterning, so the forms are abstracted in that way, too.

Above, at the very tippy-top, is my finished book. Below are my screenprinted cover (before cutting and turning into book boards) and, below that, my original digital sketch. I kind of like the sketch as a stand-alone illustration; it has a softness and a transparency that's very different from the screenprinted book cover. In both versions, I was aiming for a cut-paper look, perhaps because of all of the mid-century Paul Rand stuff I've been looking at. (More blogging about Rand here.)

* 8 pages, not shown here.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Thank you, Irvin Kerlan!

This morning I spent several hours looking, white-gloved, through boxes of original illustrations by some of my favorite children's book illustrators at the Kerlan. Theirs is one of the largest collections of children's book literature and illustrations in the world!

The pieces donated by Richard Scarry were my favorite. I've long admired his hilariously anthropomorphized watercolor-and-ink animals, and was really looking forward to seeing some of his original artwork today. What I found in the Richard Scarry boxes was a real treasure... no photos allowed, but I took mental snapshots of:

a) a "miscellaneous" (i.e. unpublished) painting featuring HUMANS! If you love Richard Scarry, you know that this is extremely rare! And...
b) a number of original, completed illustrations from Busy People. These really show Scarry's process. There were two layers to each image: watercolor on one sheet of paper, with ink line drawings on a transparent overlay. I noticed that he did all of his pencils with non-photo blue pencil. (An hour later, I was in the art supply store buying non-photo blue pencils.) AND...
c) An ink and watercolor book jacket study. It was for Tinker and Tanker out West (1961), a picture book I've yet to come across. The back of the jacket, featuring a few buffalo dressed in traditional Native American dress, had me in stitches. Scarry's mastery of visual gags is just unrivaled, you know?

I also pawed through a ton of Gustaf Tenggren's work. Tenggren was a classic Little Golden Books go-to illustrator during the Golden Age of the LGB.* And man, he did some great books, including The Tawny Scrawny Lion and, most famously, The Poky Little Puppy. Today I got the chance to look through all of the originals for The Poky Little Puppy, and that shit is beautiful! He even gave the Kerlan a few extra illustrations done for the book that didn't make it into the final picture book. I mean, Tenggren just drew that fkg puppy over and over and over and over.

Ooh, I also saw tons of Eric Carle originals! Nothing featuring the famously hungry caterpillar, but many beautiful cut-paper pieces from The Secret Birthday Wish. The back of one of those illustrations was scribbled with notes by Carle about how he'd had to repair the piece because he'd run into some archival issues. "I used to use rubber cement," he wrote, "but I didn't know that " " didn't last." The " " marks were beneath the words "rubber cement," to repeat them. Anyway, it was followed by the illustrator's revised glue recipe, which I can't remember. Something scientific-sounding + a bit of Elmer's glue, I think. Carle also wrote about how he stopped using "tinted" tissue papers, because the tint isn't lightfast, and began using only tissue paper painted with acrylic (which is what I always thought he did anyway).

Next time I visit this collection, I've got to get my hands on the Beatrix Potter collection. Can you imagine?! All of those lovely watercolors! And bunnies in jackets!** Anyway, that part of the collection was in use today. I'd also like to see anything they've got by Felix Darley or Howard Pyle... how'd I forget to request those boxes?

* Tenggren drew for Disney, too! Much like my FAVORITE illustrator ever, Mary Blair, whose work is so expensive and in demand that the Kerlan hasn't been able to acquire any of it. Here's some more of her work, and yet more...
** Incidentally, Richard Scarry was a great admirer of Beatrix Potter. Who isn't, though, I suppose?

Friday, June 26, 2009

On Michael

Thriller was huge when I was in elementary school
at Cleveland's St. Michael parish school in the early
'80s. I mean HUGE. Even I, whose record collection
consisted of a handful of read-along-with-me
Fisher-Price records, was familiar with the songs
on Thriller.*

A few years later, my friends and I were all hysterical about acquiring the "We Are the World" record. (Yes, record... and not in a "we're so punk we only buy vinyl" way, but in an "it's 1985 and tapes have barely been invented yet" way.) Vivid is my memory of a birthday party at Julie Hilberg's house, where a fanatic crowd of pre-teen girls, of which I was one, played and replayed the seven-inch, singing along badly but enthusiastically. We reluctantly tore ourselves away when our various parents picked us up at 8 PM.

As an adult, I've rarely thought about Michael Jackson without wincing. For decades now, the guy has been both horrifying and piteous, and probably a sex offender. In a phrase, intensely troubled. But it's hard to sever the emotional connections that we have made with music, so I and others will continue to have a place in our hearts for the best of MJ's pop songs. Have you seen that dumb Jennifer Garner movie, 13 Going on 30? If so, you remember the actually-really-cute club scene where everyone is too cool to cut a rug until the DJ starts spinning songs from Thriller.** For me, that scene works as a microcosm for the public's relationship with MJ... even when you don't want to, even when it isn't cool, you just can't help shaking your ass to some of those dance songs.

Because I don't want this blog entry to come off as a loving tribute to a guy, intensely troubled or not, who almost certainly molested children for Chrissakes, I have to include the 2004-ish "I'm done with Michael" riff by the skillful Chris Rock. Watch and listen here.

* Hell, even my friend Donna, growing up in the Soviet Bloc around the same time, knew those songs. "Michael was my first connection to life outside of communism," she says.

** I heard a story similar--extremely similar--to this on NPR on the day of Michael Jackson's death. Some reporter with a sincerity-leaden Sarah Vowell voice recounted being in a club where everyone refused to dance until the DJ played "Thriller." I was like, that didn't happen to you! That's a scene from that Jennifer Garner movie!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Sister Wendy

You know about Sister Wendy, right? She's the nun you've
seen standing in front of famous works of art on PBS,
speaking brilliantly and eloquently (if with a charming
tendency toward derhotacization) about the
history of painting

I love this woman. Honestly, she's one of my heroes. Her
insightful descriptions of famous works always teach me
something about the paintings, and I'm often moved to tears
by her profound intuition and razor-sharp analyses. Really,
this lady is special. One of my favorite things about Sister
Wendy's study and explanation of the paintings is this: one
might expect a nun to shy away from the bawdier subjects,
but she doesn't. She'll describe how Venus and Apollo just
got done doin' it in a Renaissance-era pastoral scene,
she does not care. But, unsurprisingly, she does bring a
strong understanding of spirituality to her interpretations,
and we viewers often find Sister Wendy pointing at paintings
containing Biblical subject matter (there are so very many
of them!). What's unexpected, though, is how powerful her
stories, including her Biblical interpretations, can be even
for people like me who haven't been to church since being
liberated from Catholic school in 1985.

I did a three-page comic about Sister Wendy last year, and
recently revised it for publication in Not My Small
. But I don't think there's any harm in granting
a sneak peek to the six people who read my blog. About
freaking time you got a perk or two, right? Well, we'll see
if you call it a perk after you've read it. Click to enlarge,
else there's no damn way you'll be able to read the lettering.
Good night and good luck!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Vegan turtles

Enjoy this vegan candy recipe, a fave at our house. For more vegan sweetie-sweets, you're also gonna want to go look at these orange creamsicle cupcakes, double dark chocolate brownies, and chocolate-peanut butter cupcakes. Trust me!

Vegan turtles

60 walnuts or pecans (or so)
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. Earth Balance
1/4 c. soy milk (or rice milk or almond milk)
1 t. vanilla
2 c. vegan dark chocolate chips

Arrange the nuts in a single layer on a wax paper-lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool, then, still on top of the wax paper, arrange the nuts in little mounds, three or four walnuts or pecans to each mound. They should be piled up on one another a little, not just grouped together in a flat group.

Next, make the caramel. Over medium-low heat, slowly melt the sugar in a heavy pot, stirring occasionally with a spatula. Slowly, the sugar will begin to get gooey, then liquify. When that happens, reduce heat to low and stir in the Earth Balance and the soy milk. When combined, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.

If your caramel solidifies at any point while you're making the turtles, return it to the burner over medium-low and melt it again.

Carefully spoon a bit of the caramel over each mound of walnuts or pecans. You'll have enough caramel that you can be generous with this! Next, stick the pan of turtles in the 'fridge to cool for 30 minutes or more.

Next, cover the candies in chocolate: melt the chocolate chips, about a cup at a time, in a small pan over low heat -- or use a double boiler. Then either drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of each turtle while the candies are still on the wax paper (the bottoms won't get covered if you do it this way) OR remove each turtle from the wax paper and dip it in the chocolate. Place on wax paper and allow to cool again.