Sunday, August 15, 2010

Masculine Strawberry Cupcakes

Due to many requests, here is the recipe for the VERY MASCULINE Strawberry Cupcakes.

This recipe is a variation of one found on, the frosting is made up, and took a lot of effort to get right, I'm going to give the proportions that I 'think' will work, but you may have to mess with it.


I'll put the frosting instructions below. When we made these, we used one of those silicon muffin pans without the paper wrappers... in hindsight, the wrappers are probably important. This made 12 cupcakes, and they are deee-lish.


  • 1 3/4 cups flour (I used 1 cup whole spelt, 3/4cup whole wheat pastry)
  • 1 cup organic raw sugar (you can probably use regular white sugar)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 14 fresh strawberries (you can probably use frozen)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (other oils would probably work)
  • 1 tsp white vinegar (apple cider vinegar might work well)


You will need 2 bowls for this, and a food processor or blender. Preheat oven to 350F/180C

  • in a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and sugar
  • in second bowl, mix oil, vanilla, vinegar with a whisk.
  • puree strawberries in food processor or blender, then whisk into the oil mix
  • create a well in the center (or centre if you are Canadian) of the dry mix bowl, Add wet ingredients and stir until just mixed
  • distribute the mix into the muffin pan evenly (lick out bowl after)
  • Bake for 24 mins, then let cool in pan for 5 - 10 mins
  • Pop out of pan to cool on rack completely before frosting.


When I made this, I used way too much wet ingredients, and ended up with enough to frost about 6 cakes... you may need to mess with it a bit, but I've vastly reduced the quantities. I mixed this all up in a food processor, you could use a blender if you like (at least for the strawberries)


  • 1 cup powdered sugar (icing sugar for canucks)
  • 1 TBSP vegan margarine
  • 1 TBSP soy milk
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 strawberries

Method to the madness

What I did:

  • beat the margarine up a bit, because you are angry at it
  • put margarine, soy milk, vanilla and strawberries in food processor (or blender)
  • whir it around until it is all liquidy
  • (you can do this in a bowl with a stick if you like) slowly add in sugar until icing consistency... you may need to add more, but you shouldn't end up with a 5 gallon pail (20 litres in Canada) of the stuff.

Frost those little babies, and top with a strawberry, blueberry, raspberry if you like. If your name is Mark Holloway, slap a bit of bacon on it.


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Finding Facebook

As IF MVG needs another distraction for me... We got 'hooked' onto facebook this weekend. It is kind of cool. My brother was the one who got me on, but I didn't go wild with it until MVG mentioned it again this week (a coworker of hers in Red Deer is on it).

We both jumped in, and are part of the fastest growing demographic on facebook (the over 35 group) - according to the most recent issue of Wired magazine.

It is now a race to see who can get the most friends... as well as most songs, books, etc. in the vast array of widgets available.

I'm sitting at '8 friends' currently... a slight lead (although, I have MANY more in Linked In - the 'professional social network').

Anyway, back to the story. Countless hours (well, we could count them, but we are lazy, and stuck in facebook) were spent pouring over the details of the applications, looking at our 'friends' pictures (I put friends in quotes, because most of them are actually family), seeing what books our 'friends' read, and what music they like.

My brother keeps using a zombie widget to attack me, but sends me beer often too. I like zombies... we live in a zombie proof loft, so I have no fear of them. I mean hey, zombies are people too... we should all get along.

So, of all of my friends, I actually only have one friend... no, two. The others are family. One is the Abdominator (who was our roomie in Sarnia, which means maybe he doesn't count as a friend, more of extended family or something), and the other is an old high school/ski friend from way back (if you look at me in my face/ass book, you will see the picture in the "Blast from the Past" section - circa 1987... yes, I'm old).

So, now I have to catch up to my older (but apparently cooler) brother on this facebook thing, and send many kegs of beer and zombie attacks his way.

I must go now, this is too distracting for MVG's liking.


Friday, August 03, 2007

A New Addition

We have (another) new addition to our bike family. I just got a LeMond Poprad cyclocross bike. It is the 2008 model, not even available yet (nor, is there even a picture on the internet that I have found, so this is perhaps the first EVER photo of it for public viewing).

It will be my commuter bike for my new job, but also, I will use it for riding single-track, and perhaps do a cyclocross race or two.


Many of you are probably wondering... how did I convince MVG that I needed a new bike? Well, a good question. I used three tactics as outlined below.

Tactic 1: Fair Trade

First, I used a new tactic, one that I haven't employed before, and one that goes against the now famous "n+1" formula*. The tactic I used was "trade in". That's right, I traded in a bike (my old Trek 2100) and used that credit towards this beauty.

Tactic 2: Togetherness

Before the cross bike, I could ride single track with my Klein Attitude mountain bike, but Sheila had no bike to ride with me. She is now able to "try out" mountain biking on my Klein while I ride the LeMond, and we can do it together. Once she falls in love with mountain biking, she will then get her very own (properly fit) mountain bike.... so the "n+1" will again take effect.

Tactic 3: Safety

With my new job, and the prospect that we will be moving again to a place within riding distance of work, I noted that the road is very busy that leads to my new employer. FORTUNATELY, there is a 'rail trail' next to the road made of crushed limestone. SADLY, this isn't something I could ride my Bianchi on, so I would have to ride on the road, as unsafe as that might seem.... but wait, WHAT if I got a bike that I COULD ride on the trail... one that offered the ability to ride safely, but also could ride on trails AND the road when needed.

Bonus Tactic: Cat

This one only occurred after the fact, but our cat Pepper LOVES new things, so it is only natural that we need to get her new things. Here she is with the new bike.

n+1 formula: This isn't my formula, but was passed on to me, and is for all cyclists to use. The formula (more of a law really) states that n is the number of bikes your currently have, and n+1 is the amount of bikes you need... when you get a new bike, you start fresh with a new n (which has been incremented with the addition of your latest bike).

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Toronto - The missing Post

I thought I posted this prior to my Russell Peters post, but nope. I guess I suck or something (oh, and speaking of sucking, there is a recent article that you ought NOT show to anybody - and NO, I don't suck that way!).

... back to the story

So, it was the weekend of April 6 - 8 (Easter) when we made the journey up from Pittsburgh, and of all things, it snowed. It was a white-out from Erie PA, to Buffalo NY (where we crossed into Canuckistan). We were going up to see MVG's niece perform on her Bassoon (not buffoon), as well as generally visit with that particular section of the family who are all in Toronto for the weekend. Oh, and we did see our bad-luck friend (too much to go into here) on the Friday night, let's just say his head isn't getting any smaller.

So, the performance was ASTOUNDING... I mean really, really amazing. I think, based on seeing a real musician perform, that I will have to sell my last remaining guitar... After the performance, we went to a great vegan restaurant called Fressen. Great beer selection too.

We had a great time... that particular section of the family seems to not want to visit us in Pittsburgh though... strange.

Ok, later. We're getting ready to go out for din-din and a movie (28 weeks later).

New Blog in Town

For those of you out there who consider yourselves somewhat nerdy, have a look out the new blog The Vegan Myth, which is a chronicle of my MythTV project.

Ok, so much for that topic, now what?

Things have been a little boring lately... well, what I mean is, nothing that is too funny or exciting to blog about. We have been just laying low since the "Russell Peters" act in D.C. The week of May 21 will see me going to Solon, OH to deliver some training for a week, MVG will be taking a week off from work to come hang out in the 'burbs of Cleveland. Later on towards the end of June, we have our second trip to Ride Noho for some cycling.

Boy, I'm starting to bore myself now... this is horrible. If I were you, I would just stop reading now. It isn't going to get any better today... I'll try again later.


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Live from D.C. - Russell Peters

So, we celebrated our anniversary this weekend, although, it really is in May... MVG got us tickets to see Russell Peters live in D.C. It was great, so great. We were in the center of the auditorium, in the second row... so close that the people around us were part of the show ("uncle Fester" to my left and front row, "Jesse" two rows behind him - looking like a young fester with hair, and the inter-racial couple "Samira and Don" up to our right). We were part of the "glow in the dark" white people in the crowd. At the end, I couldn't tell if my pain was from laughter, or my other maladies.

MVG was initially concerned that we weren't going to make it to the show, after work on Friday, I was in severe back pain, and barely able to move. I was confined to a heating pad, with pain killers and 'deep heat'. I had a horrible night's sleep, almost vomiting from the pain. Come Saturday morning, my back felt a bit better, and I really didn't want to miss the show, so we went.

We got to DC, and the hotel had a whirlpool/hot-tub... oh, was this what the doctor ordered. I spent a bunch of time with hot water jets pounding into my back... it felt so good. Almost back to normal. We then went out to eat... as I mentioned earlier though, I was, by this point, nauseous from back pain, thus suffering an intestinal problem - severe sharp pains and abdominal cramping on and off. I made it through the show, but was up again much of the night in pain.

Despite ALL of that... we had a great time in DC, and a great time at the show. I HIGHLY recommend that you go see Russell live, and BUY HIS DVD. You can find some of his stuff on Google Video...

Ok, I'm going back to the heating pad now, until next time.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Conséquences d'un accident de vélo

The consequences of a bicycle accident

Okay, I had to post this title "en Français " since MVG and I are in Montréal to get our Green Cards (that story will be another post).

So, as you may have guessed, there has been ANOTHER accident involving MVG and a bicycle. (It seems that she is a magnet for accidents this year) This time, however, MVG was actually not riding a bicycle. We were out for a run in the early morning along the Lachine Canal when out of nowhere (well, along a street) a dude comes flying along on his bike THROUGH A RED LIGHT and hits MVG. I saw the cyclist coming in my superior peripheral, but unfortunately MVG did not. It was kind of slow motion, as she tumbled over the front wheel and down to the pavement.

Thankfully, she was not hurt, and the cyclist was able to slow down enough to cause only a minor scratch. The cyclist was apologizing profusely (in French) to MVG, and she was saying "It's ok" back in English... I'm not sure either one knows what the other said.

Anyway, MVG insists that THIS is her last bicycling accident EVER.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Part I: How do you "Measure Up"?

Are you "Man Enough"?

So, here we are (MVG and I) in Montréal going through the process of getting our Green Cards. Here is the gist of what takes place:

  1. You go back to your country of origin
  2. In that country, you have a medical exam by a doctor specified by the US Consulate
  3. You get your results (at some point)
  4. You take the results to the US Consulate at a specified time and date along with the GC forms
  5. You go back to the US Consulate the next day to get your "Immigrant Visa"
  6. You go to a "port of entry" to the US, and meet with Homeland Security to exchange the Immigrant Visa for the Permanent Residence (Green) Card.

This post is, of course, about item number 2 (as a result of completing item 1).

It was a LONG day getting our medical exam. We had to give urine samples, fill out forms, get vaccinated against everything, have our eyes checked, have blood tests, get X-rays taken, and meet with a Doctor. It was a full day of fun and frolic. So, without going into boring details, here are the highlights:

  1. MVG is now a pin cushion - The nurse claimed that MVG has 'fragile veins', a.k.a. the nurse was unable to get blood from her.
  2. The US Consulate is chock full of perverts - The doctor, when we were in her office to meet with her, told us

    The US Consulate would like us to VIEW your genitals

  3. Someone may be following us - We aren't typically paranoid, but the doc also asked us if we were currently being followed by a doctor. After she said that, I realized that there have been strange people nearby, they may be doctors, I'm just not sure...

So, getting back to the "Genital Viewing", this one nearly caused MVG to burst into laughter (also, had her a bit worried... not sure what the doc meant by it). We were quickly going through all kinds of scenarios in our heads such as:

  • Perhaps there is a requirement for a person to "measure up" to get admitted to the U.S.
  • The doc just likes to see genitalia
  • The doc had a tiny spy camera, and now our genitals are on the web somewhere
  • Perhaps we'll have to parade around so everybody gets to 'view' our genitals

After the viewing, the doc just said "No lesions", and that was it... in all, it was an 'experience', I feel like a lab rat or something now.

Stay tuned for more...

Monday, August 07, 2006

By Request - Move update

Ok... I'm lame. I know it. But, moving is a busy time! (excuse).

So, here is the update on how the move went and all that jazz.

Utilities and stuff

So, when we last talked, I was telling the tale of woe about our Internet and Television options (or lack of options). So, the phone service provider (we went with DSL without local phone service, and opted to keep Vonage for our telephony provider) was able to hook us up with DSL... but, it was a two phase approach (phase 1: they had to install a line with a phone number - but you cannot make or receive calls on it), with the second phase taking 14 days to complete after the first phase - on Matmas day (phase 2: activate DSL on the line).

We were in the loft for TWO FULL WEEKS without DSL... what did we do??? Well, fortunately, there were 7 rogue wireless signals kicking around, so I did the only honorable thing and 'borrowed' some bandwidth for a while. I gave it back... we were only tempted for a short while to keep this as a permanent solution (oddly, that decision came when I couldn't get the internet connection sharing to allow me to rebroadcast the signal from upstairs to our routers down here...). Anyway, life is good now... we have the Internet back.

TV... now that is a new saga. We were unable to get any cable service in the downtown area, so we elected to get DirecTV installed... they offer a High Definition (HD) service, so we thought we would go that route... WRONG!

You see, we live on floor #4 of an 8 floor building, and there is a single dish providing DirecTV currently to the building. This is an old dish providing an analog signal.

Well, hook up another dish moron! (you say)

Well, it isn't that simple (I reply). You see, the existing dish and antenna (for use when the dish service is down - so we can get local channels) have cables running through conduit in the building to the basement, where it is split out via various cabling devices to all units (1 cable per unit). The new dish would require 3 cables to run down the conduit (would have to fish a new one down), a new dish, and a new antenna. The equipment in the basement would need to be replaced for HD, and there would then need to be 2 cables run to each unit instead of 1 (1 for the regular signal, one for the HD signal)... hence, we now have regular, old, boring DirecTV... AND... they don't just display the channels you get in the set top box, no, they display all 70000000 of them, so essentially, every channel you select to watch is one that you do not get.

So, now we were stuck with crappy quality reception on our plasma TV... so, I had to do something about it. MVG got on the internet and looked up information on HD antennas, while I looked for an HD receiver to take the signal and pass it to the plasma (it is a monitor with no receiver built in). We ended up with an indoor HD antenna (works great), and a receiver that actually plugs in to the USB port on our computer so that our PC is now a DVR (we don't have to shell out the $9/month for DVR service)... we feed the DirecTV through it too, and can now pause tv. Actually, we will likely cancel the DirecTV, since we get 12 HD channels on the antenna. We also joined NetFlix.


This is another saga... (aren't they all).

When we moved, our funiture looked like dogmeat in the new place. Even homeless people were pointing and laughing at us as we hauled it in (MVG will NOT EVER move that couch again... actually, we have since sold it - dog snot and all). Anyway, it turned out (thankfully, our non-heterosexual male designer pointed this out) that we were in need of about 65 million dollars worth of new furnishing, paint and art.

We hired NHM to help us (thinking he would come in and 'voila', magically come up with a design for us)... after the first visit, he went away and said it would be about 5 or 6 more visits, then about 6 months for the CUSTOM furniture to arrive. After the second visit (which almost lead to a second mortgage), we fired him and sighed with relief.

Off we went to a furniture store in a panic to get something that was not covered in cat hair and dog snot. We found some, and the entire ensemble (sofa, big chair, dining table, 5 dining room chairs, lamp) cost about the same as the dining room table that NHM had in mind for us... AND the stuff we ended up with was not cheap, it was Italian... and (it seems) they make good stuff.

Anyway, the university student happily came and took the dog-snot couch for use in her dorm, and we have a nice 'minimalist' space. Unfortunately, despite not coming with cat hair and dog snot, those items have begun to make an appearance on the new furniture.

So now, MVG happily takes the bus to work (well, maybe not so happily), and I drive 3 days a week out to a far away land known as Warrendale (the Sewickley office moved further away), while working from home 1 day, and at the Hall of Justice the other day.

Speaking of working from home, I saw what appeared to be a 'jumper' on the bridge out of our living room window today... details to follow as they appear in the local news.


Bike Tales - MVG summary (to date)

So, as one of our friends pointed out, MVG's cycling has consisted of (in the past year):

  • Being hit by an unidentified flying object (thrown from a motorist on the other side of the road), resulting in a massive bruise
  • Crashing during an 'emergency braking' drill at cycling camp
  • Abandoning a ride in tears at the side of the road after VG takes a few minor wrong turns (in 100 degree heat) and ending up about 30 miles from home... after already riding about 30 miles (and being out of food and water).
  • Crashing (again) into a bush by the dinosaur at an incredible speed of about 2 mph... in public
  • Being chased down by two wild turkeys in the park

We're not sure what else can happen, but believe me, when it does, you will see it here first!


Wild Tukeys could not drag me away...

MVG Does it Again!

Just when you think you have heard it all, MVG has another cycling 'adventure'. This past weekend, MVG and I were riding to meet some friends for a ride at the now infamous dinosaur by the Carnegie Library. I'm not sure if there is bad karma for MVG on this route, or what, but while we were riding to the library, the latest incident occurred.

Turkey Trot

So, as we were going through the park on the way to the library, I passed two rather large wild turkeys (see image below). My guess is that they were of the 25 lb variety.

Anyway, I casually rode on past them, then looked over my shoulder to ensure MVG was close behind. Now, keep in mind that we are both Vegans, and MVG loves animals (she now hates birds, mind you). MVG decided to 'kindly' let the birds cross the road rather than ride past them. This would be akin to (in the eyes of the turkeys) a lion stopping to let some wildebeest past (a.k.a. GNU, and yes, it is Wildebeest and not Wildebeast, at least according to the ever correct Internet), but I digress. Anyway, 'prey' typically would be very nervous if a 'predator' stopped nearby after obviously seeing them. The choices would be (for the prey) 1) run or 2) try to fend off the predator (there were two of these turkeys afterall). They chose the latter.

The chase

So now, these two turkeys decide that they need to frighten off the predator by going into a military style flanking maneuver and 'clucking' and 'pecking' at MVG. In the mean time, MVG has now become terrified, and is frantically trying to pedal, but her feet are not actually on the pedals. Just when it seemed all hope was lost for MVG, she found the pedals and sprang forward, but the beasts pursued...

Eventually, they stopped their pursuit... MVG made her escape. Where was I during this? I was in tears from laughter. You have never seen a sight like this, it was just so funny (unless you are MVG).

I'm glad to say, that MVG made it out of the 'woods' and continued on the ride (although, there was an episode on some gravel later on that had her dander up).


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Bush League


So, MVG had an incident recently on her bike... again. Alter-Ego, MVG and I decided to do some biking... MVG of the 'road' variety, and Alter and I were going to do some trails at the local park. We would all meet at the Carnegie Library in Oakland (Pittsburgh, not California) before heading back to our place.


So, Alter and I did the trail riding (although, it kind of sucked, and we ended up wallowing through some poison ivy bushes). We were on our way to the library when MVG sent an IM on my cell phone... I deftly replied with one hand while continuing to ride (I'm that good). Anyway, we met at the designated spot, then as a group, began the ride back to our place.

I lead the way... past the dinosaur (it is not alive, so don't panic) in front of the museum, with MVG behind me and Alter bringing up the rear... I'm not far past the dino when I hear a mighty yell "VEE-GEE" (coming from Alter). I quickly return only to find that somehow MVG has crashed into some bushes next to the dino. This image below shows the details:

In his re-telling, Alter said

I thought she just, you know, misjudged the turn. I thought she turned early, and went right into the bush.

MVG claims that she was trying to avoid a pedestrian, but nobody else saw this supposed pedestrian. To this day, the bush is all flattened down (not like in the picture above). It looks like a pack of wild dogs had a fight there.

Bush 1, MVG 0.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Donton (a.k.a. Downtown)

Veggie Tales is Moving!

Yes, you heard it here first... we're moving 'Donton' to a loft. We found a lovely place on the river just five blocks from where my office is (although, in a twist of fate, I will be starting a new assignment in Sewickley next week... you just can't win).

That there Internet

So, you know, you move downtown and everything is great, right? You have more and better access to stuff... so you would ASSUME! It turns out that FiOS (the Fiber Optic Service that Verizon offers) is NOT available downtown, so we can't have that. Okay, we'll stick with our Comcast service... NOPE, not available there either... perhaps we should just move to Adephia (sorry... not in that area either). So, we now are relegated to DSL with Verizon (not so bad, we were beginning to think we would not get any high speed at all... I NEED speed. We managed to get DSL without local service, so we can keep our Vonage phone service, and we'll go with DirecTV for our viewing pleasure... hmm, there is a kink there too... it requires a hard-wired local service phone line to provide the initial setup and 'on demand' content. According to the Vonage FAQ, there may be a fix... Stay tuned for the continuing epic stories relating to our move, I'm sure things will go awry in one way or another, and I'll be there to blog it.

- VG

Clang, clink, clunk

Blue Clouds overhead

So, I had my bike in a million or so pieces on Tuesday night for a good solid cleaning. You could eat off the rear cassette when I was done with it (it didn't really want to go back together, but I won out in the end). It took about 3 hours to fully clean the bike, but afterwards, it was gleaming and changing gears like never before.

That brings us to tonight... this has happened before (twice), but I thought it was due to needing adjustments, anyway, my bike has a NASTY habit of making EARTH SHATTERING CLANKING noises on very steep climbs. The noise is bad enough itself, but at the time, it also causes the chaing to slip (jump, skip, whatever) and negate forward momentum (not to mention put fear into me that something is about to snap). So, I made certain that my bike was adjusted perfectly today, and started the climb up Sycamore... 1/4 of the way up, it began the clank, clink, clunk trick. Only on the top of my pedal stroke, and only every 10 or so revolutions (clearly there is a link in the chain that is screwing up with a tooth on the chainring). I shifted down to my lowest gear (by this time I was stopped due to the 24% grade), and returned to the bottom of the hill to start over.
I began (again) to climb, making sure that everything was in alignment, and I was in my easiest gear (usually I am in the middle chainring and middle cog to start). I got about 1/3 of the way up before the clanking began - it was at this point that children ran in terror from the blue smoke that begin to erupt from my mouth... 25% grade, and I lost all momentum (in fact, the last clunk screwed me up so much that I began to go backwards down the hill). Clearly, there is a problem... I will have to investigate.

I didn't get to finish the ride up the hill (out of fear of ruining the drivetrain), but I did get the full GPS report of the hill. Here is the elevation and grade diagrams (click the pics to get a bigger view).



So, it appears that Sycamore isn't as 'burly' a hill as it was touted to be. It has sections in the mid 20s for grade, but the average over the 0.6 mile climb is about 14% (those sections of 24% and 25% are rough though). I need to try that hill in the 'Dirty Dozen' that has a 30+% grade (just for kicks).

- VG