Monday, January 30, 2017

Better living through chocolate

It's been AGES since I put a food post up so, in an attempt to assuage the prevailing mood with chocolate, here's a new brownie recipe.  Mr. Mouse and I are attempting to eat a plant-based diet these days which, to us, means not only no animal products but also no oils.  A lot of vegan recipes add fats via oils so I have adapted a "Chewy Vegan Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie" recipe from as follows:


¾ cup unsweetened applesauce*
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp ground flax seed**
½ cup almond milk (or soymilk)
2 cups flour
¾ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 ½ cups semisweet vegan chocolate chips***

Preheat oven to 350◦F.  Add ground flax seeds to almond milk and stir for about 30 seconds, set aside.  In a large bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, baking soda and salt.  Cream sugar and applesauce in another large bowl.  Add the flax seed/almond milk mixture and mix well.  Stir in vanilla.  Slowly mix in dry ingredients.  Mix in chocolate chips. Pour brownie mixture into lightly greased**** 9x13 baking pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean.

Note:  the original recipe was for cookies but I found the dough too wet to roll into balls and went the brownie route instead.  They came out very moist and fudgy.

* This is a substitution for ¾ cup canola oil.  The applesauce worked GREAT.

**  I found pre-ground flax seed in the health food section of my regular grocery store; you can also find whole flax seeds and grind them yourself.  Flax seed is somehow an egg substitution in vegan baking.

*** I found non-dairy/non-gluten dark chocolate chips in the health food section and just used a whole bag.  They were actually tasty on their own – not like yucky carob.

**** I used just a tiny bit of coconut oil

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

In the doldrums

If you're a sailor (or if you've watched the Pirates of the Caribbean movies), you know that the doldrums are places in the oceans where the prevailing winds are calm or even non-existent, sometimes trapped sail-powered boats for days or weeks on end.  If you're a landlubber, you know that the doldrums have come to refer to a period of listlessness or mild depression.  Well, I'm not a sailor.  Ever since the election but especially since the inauguration, I have been fighting to compartmentalize my sadness and horror at what this country is becoming.  I'm not succeeding particularly well - although while I walk around feeling like crying all time, I am not actually crying all the time.  So there's that.  To be able to sleep at night, I have been severely restricting my online presence after making my phone calls/sending my emails to try to fight the power. 

And my entertainment has been focused as well.  I'm trying Tom Hardy's FX show, Taboo, although I am finding it slow (and since when are you allowed to say "fuck" on that level of cable?  I'm all for it, of course.  I was just surprised by it.). I plowed through Netflix's The O.A. and am almost done with their A Series of Unfortunate Events as well.  Both shows are pretty well done and continue Netflix's strong streak of original programming.  (For books I just plowed through my collection of old Bloom County and Outland books - dated 1980s through early 1990s - and it is amazing that so much of the stuff Berkeley Breathed was poking at back in those days - environmental damage/change, corrupt politics and Donald fucking Trump - are still issues today.)

Things will pick up here on the blog in a couple of weeks when The Walking Dead comes back.  I'm even looking forward to watching that damn show again, where I can say, "Well, things are going to shit in the U.S. now but at least we aren't overrun with zombies."  Yet, anyway.

Saturday, January 7, 2017


There's been a smattering of media consumed in the Mouse house lately, although nothing earth-shaking:

The Shallows - A decent, short, survival horror flick of the hot chick vs. man-eating shark variety, starring the gorgeous Blake Lively.  Her surfer girl is catching some waves on a secluded Mexico beach when she is attacked by a shark and must fight for survival, clinging to a rock and a buoy with only a wounded seagull for moral support.  There was a squirm-inducing self-surgery scene and I jumped a couple times.  I do question how much a person could actually have their eyes open underwater in the ocean, but that's a minor quibble, really, for an inoffensive B-movie.

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency - Douglas Adams's book is in fact nothing like the television series, other than there's a character with the name of Dirk Gently and he's British.  Everything else is different.  Everything.  In the book, there's ghosts and robots and ... I liked the show much, much better, actually.

All You Need Is Kill - This novel, by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, is the source material for the Emily Blunt/Tom Cruise movie, Edge of Tomorrow, recently seen and enjoyed.  The movie does differ from the book in some respects, although it is fairly faithful.

I've tried a couple of episodes each from a couple of Netflix originals, Trollhunters and Crazyhead, but was not impressed enough to explore further.  There is so much out there that if I am not immediately drawn in, a la Stranger Things or Jessica Jones, I lose patience.  The next one I'm going to try is The OA, which has gotten good reviews so I'm hopeful.

Finally, Mr. Mouse and I are doing a New Year decluttering around the house and I've been going through all our books.  We have a lot and we're trying to only keep the ones to which we have a personal connection.  While I was going through the stacks, I found the first three books of Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quintet: A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door and A Swiftly Tilting Planet.  I plowed through the first one and am on the second already.  But I don't think I've ever read the last two books so now I'm thrilled to be able to finish the series.