Care Packages, Laptop Lunches & Works In Progress

We successfully broke all the internets at our house (wireless AND non-), and with no solution in sight I am bringing you this post from my work computer.  So, I’m gonna jam a bunch of stuff in and keep it brief.

Firstly, I have been receiving a lot of love in food-related form lately, and I wanted to share the love with everyone!

I participated in my third PPK care package swap, and this time my partner was from Japan and sent me all manner of awesome Japanese stuff.

some sort of seitan stars (“fu”), a sushi mat, cooking chopsticks made of bamboo, shiratamako and red bean paste for attempting daifuku, and candy from Kyoto

candy closeup

Bento toys!  nori stamp machine that makes faces, onigiri molds, small containers, flag picks, a small monkey bento box int he back, little utensils, soy sauce bottles with animal heads, chopsticks in a case and monkey mayo holders.  I’m definitely going to have to go Japanese in some upcoming lunches.

I felt kinda bad when I got all this awesomeness because I mostly sent my partner Mexican food supplies and junk food.  That’s what we do well here!  Although he said he ate the Tings and Eco Planet Cheddar Crackers in one sitting each, so I think those went over well.

A few weeks ago I got a completely unexpected box in the mail from my mom.   She had read my blog post about having difficulty finding grits out here and sent me a “box of stuff Erin can’t find in CA”.

Satchel’s secret salad dressing, quick grits, yellow grits, a cute Publix tote bag, a cute notecard, and Southern Living.  Yeehaw!  Unfortunately, Satchel’s dressing is NOT vegan (which I only learned after eating it many times and falling in love…it has honey…sorry mom!), but fortunately a friend of mine who also recently moved out here from Gainesville loves it, so I’m going to pay the dressing forward.

This same friend gave me some love too!  Although she sent this over the day after I mentioned the dressing…hmm…Anyway, she’s an amazing gardener and lives in a house that already had some goodness growing in the backyard.  Thanks Hope!

lemons, mint, rosemary, thyme, keffir lime leaves, oregano and parsley

But I don’t just receive, I also give!  Remember back in November when I celebrated my 1,000th comment by promising to send whomever posted it a package of sweets?  Anybody?  No?  Well, Megan from The Sisters Vegan happened to win, and she happens to live in Berkeley, which is where I happen to work.  So we agreed to meet up for dinner one night after work, at which time I could give her her goodies.  She’s been testing for the upcoming cookie cookbook, so she was all cookied out and requested no cookies.  And said that it would be nice to have something she could grab for breakfast on the way out the door to work.  Enter muffins!

Full Meal Muffins from Vegan Lunchbox.  These have zucchini, pomegranate juice (subbed for the apple juice called for), bananas, walnuts and raisins, and I subbed in some quinoa flour for a bit of extra protein.  They’re completely sugar-free, sweetened by the bananas and juice and raisins.  They turned out sweet enough, I suppose, but next time I make them I’ll probably add a bit of sugar or stevia.

Smoky Jalapeno Corn Muffins.  Made from my Buttermilk Cornbread recipe, with added jalapeno, roasted corn from TJ’s (freezer section), and liquid smoke.

These were the real star, to me at least – Butterscotch Scones.  I had a bag of butterscotch chips in the pantry screaming to be used, and I wasn’t too keen on the idea of butterscotch muffins, so I decided on scones.  Even though I’ve only made scones once, and they turned out just okay.  The first time I used the recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance, and while it’s entirely possible that I botched up the recipe, I wanted to make more “authentic” scones, using the pastry cutting method that most biscuits call for.  So I looked in the good ol’ Betty Crocker Cookbook where I was sure I would find a scone recipe, and lo and behold, there it was.  Veganized very easily, and these babies turned out beautiful.  I typed out just the general recipe, so obviously you can add whatever extra ingredients you want, like nuts or fruit, but I would highly recommend the butterscotch chips if you have ’em.

Vegan Scones

1 3/4 c flour
3 Tbs sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c Earth Balance, cold
6-8 Tbs soy creamer
coarse sugar
1/2 c add-ins (butterscotch or chocolate chips, fruit, etc.)

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut in the Earth Balance using a pastry cutter until there are no large pieces of margarine and the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in 6 Tbs creamer, just until the flour mixture is moistened. If there is still unincorporated flour, add creamer by the tablespoonful, just until mixture comes together. Gently fold in any additional ingredients.
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll in the flour to coat. Knead gently 10 times. Pat into an 8-inch circle on an ungreased baking sheet. Cut into 8 wedges with a knife dipped in flour, and do not separate wedges. Brush the top with additional soy creamer, and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
4. Bake 15-18 minutes, until the scones are turning golden and the tops don’t give in to the touch. Immediately remove from the cookie sheet to a cooling rack, using a knife to separate the scones if needed. Serve warm.

Makes 8 scones.

On to the lunches!

4-6  lentil & tempeh-stuffed collards, dill pickle cashews (Archer Farms brand), pretzel nuggets, rosemary foccacia, boiled beets, strawberries

4-7 sandwich (multigrain toast, tofurkey, tofutti cheese slice, baby greens, gourmet mustard & red onion jam), broccoli & carrot sticks, goddess dressing, dried apricots, raisins & sour gummies

4-9 garlic crusted grit cakes, succotash, mango-habanero sauce, snapea crisps, lime cucumbers, prunes & dried cherries

4-13 tofusteak sandwich on ezekiel bun with greens & mustard,
bbq crisps, coleslaw, strawberries

4-14 salad stirfry, brown rice, clover sprouts, cucumbers &
sesame seeds, tangerines

4-16 lentil & tempeh-stuffed collards, pasta salad, corn muffin,
kiwi & strawberries

4-17 lentil & tempeh-stuffed collards, multigrain crackers, apple pieces, carrots with goddess dressing, cookies

And finally, I’m very fond of the W.I.P posts on Musing From The Fishbowl.  It stands for work in progress, and they’re crafty works which are posted on Wednesdays.  Other bloggers have joined in too – one who stands out for having super cute crafty posts is Amanda from Walking The Vegan Line.

I wish I could join in on these posts, but the problem is I’m just not crafty.  I’ll sew or make something every once in a while, but the craft is not in my blood.  However, I have a few food projects that I’m working on, so I thought I’d share them as works in progress.

I first posted a picture of this dish that I’m working on for a cooking contest here, asking if anyone could identify the triangles, and giving the hint that they’re not tofu.

The most popular guess was polenta, and that’s really SO close!  They’re grit cakes.  This is Garlic-Crusted Grit Cakes with Succotash Hash, Mango-Habanero Sauce and Quick Pickles.  BF says it’s too complicated, but the contest rules say that you have to prepare it within two hours, and I can do that, and sometimes complicated is how I roll.  I need at least one more run at this one and the contest deadline is the end of this month, so I need to get moving on it.

Another one I’m working on for a different contest is Creamy Corn Pudding.  My mom makes this for almost every family holiday gathering and it’s so good, but it’s full of butter and milk and eggs, so no corn pudding for me.  No more!

It’s not perfect yet, but it’s darned close.  I also need at least one more go at this one.

I posted a picture of this Swiss Chard Risotto two posts ago, and I thought I would have it perfect this time, but alas I didn’t have any white wine and subbed in with white wine vinegar and it was a little too much.  Luckily, I’m getting chard again in my CSA tomorrow and I think with one more try it will be perfect.

That’s it for now.  I don’t know when I’ll be able to post again because we’re cheap and refuse to pay to fix our internets.  Until then!

update:  BF fixed the internets, hooray!  He is now a wireless router reconfiguration master.


  1. The corn pudding sounds amazing!

    And the care package is SO cute!

  2. Kristin said

    Thanks for the scones recipe. What brand of butterscotch chips did you use? I’ve been looking for some.

    • veganhomemade said

      I think the butterscotch chips are Food Lion brand. They were sent to me from the east coast in a care package swap, I don’t think I can find any out here.

  3. Carlota said

    Wow! Love your gigantic post! Also love the japanese stuffs! I’m crazy for japanese food and I’m searching some stuffs for starting to make Obento for lunch..but we don’t have nice lunchboxes like thoses in least not in my town. Love your blog!


  4. Mandee said

    You got a super care package, I love all the bento stuff! I always ask for and send food items, never anything cute and fun like that! And it sounds like your partner loved their package too, Tings and Cheezy crackers = win!

    And your Mum is super sweet for sending you a package of goodies as well! And those grit cakes look yummo!

  5. Sophie said

    woah that is a ridiculous amount of amazing food. i am sooo jealous of your care packages, especially all the amazing stuff from japan! wow. all of your lunches look awesome, as usual. i am especially impressed with your fall muffins with pomegranate juice!

  6. macie said

    WOW! That bento care package is the BEST! You are so lucky 😀 I googled like half of those things to put on my wishlist, hehe.

    Those scones look divine, where did you find the butterscotch chips? I haven’t had any since going vegan.

    • veganhomemade said

      Macie – I think the butterscotch chips are Food Lion brand. They were sent to me from the east coast in a care package swap, I don’t think I can find any out here.

  7. Susan G said

    I am really excited to see those scones. I have tons of butterscotch chips to use up, and I also didn’t love the VWAV scones.

    Hope you will post your corn pudding recipe after the contest! Love your lunchbox posts, too.

    • veganhomemade said

      Susan, try the scones! They really are very good. I’m looking forward to baking some with chocolate chips.

      I will definitely post the corn pudding recipe, unless of course I win the contest and can’t!

  8. Virginia said

    wow! a lot of food! i love those full meal muffins, my kids gobble them up! i wish i got mail!!! =( love the packages!

  9. Mom said

    Garlic-Crusted Grit Cakes? WOW! One of our local restaurants (Harry’s) serves grit cakes as a side dish, but you have elevated them to a whole new level. Apparently California cuisine is getting ready to find out what it’s been missing.

    Your Creamy Corn Pudding is looking great–would love to give it a try when you get it fine-tuned.

  10. Cyn said

    I’m so jealous of all your bento goodies! My Mr. Bento is sadly without many accessories. And those garlic-crusted grit cakes sound amazing! I need to make me some grits.

  11. shellyfish said

    This is a jam-packed post!
    Your Japanese goodness is so amazing – I’m feeling all happy for you and all your wonderful stuff!
    The grit cakes and corn pudding look and sound so amazing – I sure hope you’ll share your recipes with us once they’re perfected (though they look perfect to me!). I think food project are most definitely W.I.P. projects – anything that’s a work in progress is a WIP – and edible ones, well, they’re kinda more fun! 🙂
    Hope you get the internet figured out (without having to pay for it!)

  12. Erin said

    I love Satchel’s dressing! Too bad, too bad.

    You could try this out if you’re missing Gainesville:

    Krishna Lunch’s Almond Dressing

    1-1/2 cups almonds
    1-1/2 cups nutritional yeast
    2 cups water
    1-1/2 cups sunflower oil
    1/2 cup Bragg’s amino acids (or soya sauce if you don’t like braggs)
    1 teaspoon hing (asafetida) (you can buy this at wards or any indian store)

    Put all of this in a blender or food processor until it’s creamy. Now there you go, enjoy, share and serve this with love. (I actually don’t care if you serve it with ambivalence, just try it…its good)

  13. bonbon said

    Please, please post the recipe for your beautiful grit cakes after your competition is done. It sounds so fantastic!

  14. atxvegn said

    Mmm, all the baked goods look delicious! And I love the grit cakes – good luck in the contest.

  15. melisser said

    Seitan stars?! I want those scones & all things grits related!

  16. […] picture from an old post […]

  17. […] Vegan [Butterscotch] Scones  (Original Recipe Post) […]

  18. […] I had sprinkled on a bit of salt while assembling. The scones were lemon poppyseed, adapted from my scone recipe and cut into mini scones.  I added lemon zest, subbed fresh lemon juice for some of the liquid, […]

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