Monday, July 31, 2006

A Quick Lunch Break Post

As usual, I ended up having a pretty busy weekend.

Let's see, my tomato plants have their first baby toms growing which is pretty cool!

A package arrived from Leslie this weekend. She sent me a funky quartz bracelet that she made. I really dig the colors and natural stones. I'm definitely going to order another bracelet or perhaps a necklace soon.

Also included was a lavender and flax eye pillow which smells wonderful. To the left is a quick photo of the bracelet and pillow.
I'll try to take a better pic of the bracelet tonight.

Tommy my cantankerous cockatoo is not fond of any jewelry. As soon as I wear a watch or bracelet she attacks. I'm not sure if she thinks the jewelry is attacking me and is trying to protect me...or if she is afraid of it. I put on the bracelet without thinking and during our snuggle time (she gets 30 minutes of pure Jody time every night) she tried to take a bite out of the bracelet. She narrowly missed and I have large beak mark on my wrist. Today, I put the bracelet on before I left the house and after Tommy was in her cage.

I was in Maine for meetings all day Friday. Friday evening I met a good friend of mine for dinner in downtown Portland. We had a nice meal at Natasha's on Exchange St. They had vegan pot stickers and a funky tofu veggie bowl.

Before I left Maine, I stopped at the Whole Grocer and picked up some of my favorite Little Lad's vegan tarts. This time around they had cherry, bumbleberry, and blueberry rhubarb. I've finished off a cherry and a bumbleberry. Cherry is definitely my favorite now. I've not tried the Blueberry Rhubarb.

This weekend, I got very little cooking done. Last night when I was cleaning out the fridge, I found some tofu that needed to be used ASAP. I don't know what my problem is sometimes! I buy things and note that I have tons of time to use them and some how I end up letting them expire. Tommy and I both love the oven fried tofu recipe that I tried previously, so I cooked that up this morning after letting it marinate overnight. My lunch is the tofu and some strawberry applesauce. It would be a pretty boring photo, so I didn't bother.

Also, some of you have been emailing and asking about my handmade soap. I did start up a soap blog and put a link to it on the right nav bar. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to post what kinds I have at the moment. However, I did post a photos of how I make soap and also an article about why handmade soap is better. I'd say always buy handmade soap whether it is from me or a local soap maker in your neck of the woods. It is better for your skin and the environment.

Last thing...cookies! I'm going to talk/email with Harmonia and ask about setting up a cookie swap area on veggin' out.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Coldstone and vegan!?!

I'll be driving around for work tonight and tomorrow, so I won't have time for posting. Before I left the office tonight, I did want to write a quick note.

A vegetarian, NOT VEGAN (---if you listen to the Vegan Freaks podcaast, you should hear that sound effect in your mind!), friend of mine in the office wanted to head over to Coldstone and invited me to go. I stated I would join her, but would not partake.

As a vegetarian, I loved Coldstone, so it was interesting to be there. I was glad that I wasn't even tempted to get dairy ice cream. Then we both noticed that they had non dairy sorbet in the ice cream case! How cool is that?

They also have a new smoothie menu with yogurt or soymilk options. Obviously yogurt is NOT VEGAN, but soy milk is. I'm tempted to write them an email letting them know that I love these options and that maybe they could offer a non-dairy ice cream option in the future too. Many of the potential toppings are vegan.

For now, I'm psyched to see sorbet on the menu there.

Prius Update - It is averaging 50+ mpg at the moment. I'm really enjoying having a bit more space in the car. Coopers have very stiff suspension (almost Jeep like) and it is nice to have smooth commute into work. I'll post a pic or two of the Prius over the weekend.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Sloppy Lentil Patties

I still had left over sloppy lentils and VegNews had a Lentil Burger recipe. Sloppy lentils were perfect for the recipe because they already had kale, onion, and carrots. I added chopped sun dried tomatoes, oatmeal, and some spices and then cooked up the patties.

These are good and I may actually prefer them to the plain sloppy lentils. Though I believe the addition of tomatoes would make me love the sloppy lentils.

Funny, the recipe in VegNews says 4 burgers and I made 12. Tommy, loves the lentil burgers. I'll bring 1 or possibly 2 for lunch tomorrow and will likely need to freeze the rest.

Teddy and everyone wondering about the Prius---I am planning to pick it up at 8:30am tomorrow. It is time to say goodbye to my good friend Gary Cooper. The photo to the right is one of the first pictures of Gary. This car handles like a little tank in the snow, so I will likely miss that the most. My sister and I took Gary up to Vermont with us and we were stuck in a crazy snow storm. SUVs were skidding off the road and Gary just trucked along. I'd like to believe this was due to my exceptional driving, but it is probably due partly to the car.

There was an office prank involving pink toilet paper and the wrapping of a number of manly trucks in our parking garage. It escalated to various other decorations including this one to the right. I was called into a conference room to view a PowerPoint presentation where I saw the picture of Gary sporting the pink bow. GC and I had some good times. I'm sure Gary's new owner will really dig him.

I won't miss filling up with 93 octane at the gas station or getting 30 miles to the gallon. I am looking forward to lowering my contribution to global warming and dependence on foreign oil!

Spellcheck laugh of the day...It tried to replace VegNews with vagina's! The apostrophe s is perhaps the most amusing part of that substitution.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Smoothie & Adzuki Beans

Wow, lots to update on! First the food and then everything else.

I had some left over kale from Leslie's sloppy lentil recipe. A few of you had been posting smoothies with some leafy veggies added, so I gave it a go. This has some frozen mixed berries, kale, Rainier cherries, soy milk powder, and a few kale leafs! Verdict---not bad! I definitely detected something more healthy than normal in it, but the kale didn't deter me. The picture has one of my pint glasses from The Great Lost Bear in Portland, Me. GLB is veg friendly, though not exclusively veg. One of my friends bought me two pint glasses from GLB as a house warming present a few years ago. She knows, I love to stop there when I am in Maine.

Unfortunately, I still had kale left and it is not one of my favorite veggies. I looked around and found this recipe for Kale and Adzuki Beans. One fortunate side effect of needing adzuki beans is that I finally had an excuse to drive out to the Asian grocery store which I will write about shortly. Anyway the kale and adzuki beans are cooked with garlic, tamari, coriander, and cumin. Though I knew I liked adzukis, I wasn't sure about making this recipe. In the end, I gave it a thumbs up. This photo got submitted to allrecipes for the recipe as it was lacking a photo, so maybe it will be there next time we look it up!

My trip to the Asian grocery... I was pretty excited about this as I might be able to find yuba which is something I love. When I am in NY they sell this macrobiotic yuba meal that I am addicted to. Additionally, I was pretty psyched to just wander through the aisles and check out all the funky foods. I made it there without getting lost and meandered through the store for awhile. I found many neat things including adzuki beans, super cheap rice paper for making veggie rolls, and funky sesame crunch bars.

I couldn't find the yuba and finally stopped to ask someone. No matter what I said, the employee immediately responded with, "No, understand." I don't know if there was someone else who could understand me because she never offered to look and I could only see one other person busy at the register. Finally, I just walked slowly through each aisle. Eventually, I did find the yuba. I'm not sure if I am being unreasonable hoping that someone speaks English at the Asian grocery, but I was a little frustrated.

In the freezer section, I was very excited to see sweet red bean buns. I used to love these at DimSum as a vegetarian. Unfortunately, they all had milk in them. I'll have to make them on my own some day. They had super cheap tofu at the asian grocery, so I may go there to stock up next time.

This afternoon, I headed out to the Toyota dealer to talk about a Prius. The question was really if I could trade in my Mini Cooper (Yes, when I started making real money...I went and purchased the car I loved.) for a Prius and end up with an equal or lower car payment. Conveniently for me, someone traded in a Prius with 27,000 miles on it the other day. Guess what? That means Gary (you read that right...Gary Cooper) will be traded in on Wed for a shiny almost new Prius. I'll miss Gary, but I need to put my money where my mouth to speak.

My very last thing to post about today. I'm sending Leslie's some of the cookies I will be making later today. She is going through cookie withdrawal due to the Arizona heat. Perhaps, the lack of homemade cookies contributed to her vertigo. A few days ago, I stumbled onto a vegan cookie swap at livejournal. The group doesn't look too active, but I thought I would throw the idea out there. How do you guys feel about creating a vegan cookie swap among our little blogging community? It might need to wait a few months for the weather to cool down. Let me know what you think about that.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Veggie Pasta

I stopped at the farm stand around the corner from my house yesterday and purchased some fresh zuchini and summer squash. I'd alway wanted to try making pasta ribbons with the squash and that is what I did tonight. These were sliced on my grater and sauteed in a tiny bit of water. On top is some leftover veganrella, sauce, and some tofurky kielbasa.

Last night, I also made Leslie's sloppy lentils. I had a bag of tri-colored lentils on my shelf and thought they would be a good candidate. They are ok, but I am not in love with them. I've added quite bit of crushed red pepper and feel like they still need something else.

Did you notice the new plate? It was $1.25 on clearance and I thought it might be nice to take pictures without a glare from my white dishes.

Let's see, what else? Oh, yesterday I went to see the movie, Who Killed the Electric Car? It is about the history of the GM EV1 electric car in California. I found it very interesting, though it was very frustrating to see how so many different factors killed this great technology and I left the theatre wondering what is wrong with us.

For those of you that don't know, the EV1 was a completely electric car that would get 75-100 mile per charge. The electric charge equaled about 60 cents a gallon for gas and the vehicle had zero emissions. They were available for lease. At the end of the lease period, GM collected all the cars and did not give owners a buyout option. Then they destroyed all the perfectly good, working vehicles.

The movie talks about the many different facets of this story which include GM's interests, big oil, our goverment, CARB (the California Air Resource Board) that repealed the law they made that required 10% of the cars in CA to be zero emissions, other car companies and even the consumers.

One particularly frustrating point is that everyone says electric technology is the past and that hydrogen is the future. A little research on hydrogen powered vehicles shows that we are no where near seeing one available to buy. They cost upward of $500,000 to make each one. We have no good source of hydrogen or an infrastructure to support it. (We'd need to build 1000's of filling stations before it would be possible to sell.) Why tout a technology we don't have and squelch one we do have an infrastructure already built to support?

Though all of the players were a problem, GM really got my goat. If they took the cars off the road because the couldn't sell them, why did they need to destroy them? Why couldn't leasees purchase them? What kind of environmental policies does GM have that warrant destroying perfectly good vehicles? There were better batteries available for the EV1 which could double the range and make it a more viable option to many consumers. GM bought the battery technology, shredded the EVs, and sold the technology to Chevron.

I would never purchase a GM car even if they came out with a hybrid. What a waste of a wonderful technology. Now GM and others are devoting tons of time and money to hydrogen which is most likely not even a viable solution.

I've been talking about getting a Prius for a few years now. It is time for me to make that move pretty soon.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Berry Oat Squares

Just a super quick post tonight. I still had some wild blueberries that hadn't been used up. Since I didn't want these babies to go to waste, I cooked up a batch of Berry Oat Squares from La Dolce Vegan.

These squares are relatively simple with lots of oats. The filling is raspberry jam mixed with blueberries. The bottom crust is cooked first, then you layer the berries and the crumb topping. Both the top and bottom are crunchy, you gotta love it! If you have La Dolce Vegan, I highly recommend this recipe. I'll be making this again at some point, I am sure.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Another Crazy Weekend! --Homemade pizza

Very little cooking, but lots of cool stuff. Unfortunately, I can't say I got to mowing the lawn. Luckily, neither have my neighbors.

After fixing a laptop for a friend, I headed out to a shop where one of my co-workers sells bikes on the weekend. This shop has a body scanning machine that actually helps determine which bike frame size, crank size, etc... is best for me. Well it sounded like a good idea, but the computer program pretty much puked when it got to my leg length. It kept saying, "enter valid length." Apparently, I should join the circus!

We were able to figure out that there are basically two bikes that will fit me without building a custom frame. Terry makes small frame female specific bikes. These would be special order and pretty expensive. Kona makes a kid's bike that is pretty decked out, called a Jake 2-4. It is a cross which means, I could take it out on a jeep trail or it will handle just fine on the road. Yup, I'm riding around on a kiddie bike!

Saturday night, I headed out to a concert. It was Big Head Todd and Toad the Wet Sprocket. Toad was one of my fav bands in high school, so that was pretty neat. VeganDoc met my friend and I at the show. It was a great concert and very cool to meet someone through blogging! Also pretty awesome, to have a new vegan buddy. At the moment, I have one friend who is vegetarian and a few that are wannabe veggies.

This morning, I was supposed to go for hike. The weather here was outrageously hot and humid, so I chickened out. BTW - I chickened out and vegandoc finished a triathalon! In the afternoon, I stopped by my aunt's. She gave me some fresh basil and oregano from her garden. Later, I headed into the city to go to the Boston Vegetarian Society meeting at my favorite vegan restaurant...Grasshopper. I met some nice people and really enjoyed the speaker and of course $8.95 buffet!

I'm not a fan of crowds and two hours was all I could take even though everyone was very friendly. So, I headed over to say hi/bye to VeganDoc who was sitting on the other side of the room with some new friends!

On the way home, I stopped at TJ's for some tomatoes. Once I arrived at the house, I took my new bike out for spin because it had started to cool off. I rode until it got dark, and then headed inside. I definitely didn't need more food after the buffet, but I did need lunch for work this week.

My fridge had pizza dough, herbs from my aunt, veganrella, the tomatoes I got on the way home, kalamata olives, tofurky kielbasa, and the pesto I made earlier in the pizza it was. Half is pesto, olives, rella, and tomatoes. The other half is tomatoes, sauce, rella, kielbasa, fresh basil, and oregano leaves. I tried one bite it is dang good. I'm pretty sure it beats the vegan pizza at TJScallywaggles. Tommy polished off a mini slice---yup she loves pizza. That bird is a freak of nature.

Hope you all had a good weekend! I've got to get some exercise in before bed time. Within the next few days, I will make the blog rounds and also update my frequently read list on the right. Quite a few of you are missing.

Oh---another spellcheck fav. Today it tried to change blogging to flogging.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Tri-color Potato Salad and Pesto!

Last night I had won tickets to a charity concert at Fenway Park. The weather report said 50% chance of showers, so I skipped my rain jacket. The chance of showers turned out to be a torrential rain storm. My three block walk from the parking garage to the Fenway, turned me into a very soggy Jody. I was soaked to the bone. The stage was flooded and they moved the concert inside, underneath the ballpark. That meant no seats, bad acoustics, and that I couldn't see anything with my 5 foot frame. After 30 minutes or so, I gave up and went home. (Not before stopping at Boston Beerworks to pick up a growler of watermelon ale. ---At least the trip wasn't a complete waste!)

When I got home, the first thing I did was change into warm/dry clothes and then I decided to cook up a few things that had been sitting around too long. First I boiled a bag of baby potatoes (blue, yellow, and red). While those were cooking, I made up a batch of pesto from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook. As usual, I opted for less oil. I added some lemon juice and water to make up for that. This pesto is interesting because it uses white miso. It is pretty tasty though.

The potatoes were turned into vegan potato salad. I looked at a few recipes and wasn't sure what I wanted to make. I settled on a recipe from Passionate Vegetarian. Of course, I was missing celery seed and pickles. I may add those if I pick some up today, but the salad is quite good as is. It has vegan mayo (less than the recipe called for), sliced green olives, some olive juice, ground pepper and mustard. The pic is my laptop lunchbox with potato salad, pesto and tomatoes, and Rainier cherries. I'm working in northern, MA today and had to pack my lunch.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Strawberry Banana Muffins

My fridge contained a large container of organic strawberries that were on sale at Whole Foods and early today I visited Jess' blog where I saw strawberry muffins. ---I forgot to mention the over ripe banana on my counter. (BTW- I don't like ripe bananas. I prefer when they are mostly yellow with a bit of green. Once they are all yellow or start to show brown spots, I think they taste soapy. If I bake them in something at that stage, then they are ok.)

So, the ingredients dictated what I would cook. A quick google search found a vegan strawberry banana muffin recipe. The recipe looked good, though I didn't think chocolate chips were necessary. I was lazy and didn't process the banana in the blender. I just mashed it in a bowl. My pantry didn't have turbinado sugar, so I used sucanat. In then end, the muffin batter was a little dry. I'd guess this was because I used fresh strawberries instead of frozen. I also used less oil than it called for. To remedy this, I added some extra soy milk. A quick taste of the batter made me think it needed something, so I sprinkled in some cinnamon. Yeah, I sort of followed a recipe...

The muffins are delicious. Tommy screamed until I shared some with her and she ate it rather than dropping it on the floor. Nacho really loved the strawberry part of the muffin. I'm especially fond of this recipe because it is low in fat and there is only 1/2 cup of sugar. Chances are they could have cooked a tiny bit longer, so that they browned more. The batter is cooked through though and this recipe is a keeper.

WholeSoy & Co.

Unfortunately, I didn't cook yesterday. I did want to do another quick post at lunch today. Last week when I baked up the scones I was using yogurt from Whole Soy and Company. Their yogurt is delicious. That is quite a compliment considering I never liked regular yogurt.

The plain yogurt had gone bad and I could not use it. Luckily, I had some of the vanilla on hand. I emailed Whole Soy & Co about the issue with my plain yogurt which did not expire until August. Within a day, someone emailed me back with an explanation and offered to send out some coupons for a free product.

Yesterday, the coupons arrived. They sent me quite a large stack for yogurt, ice cream and even smoothies. I can't possibly use all these and not many of my friends will try the soy products, so I thought I might share with you guys. I'll post a few different riddles. The first to answer correctly will get a few of the coupons. You'll have to email me your address!

What a great company these guys are. If you haven't tried their products, pick up some when you are at the whole grocer!

First riddle!

There is a common English word that consists of 7 letters. Each time you remove a letter from it, it still remains a common English word. From 7 letters right on down to a single letter. What is the original word?

Good luck!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Blueberry Corn Muffins

A quick post at lunch time from the office today. Last night, I cooked up a batch of blueberry corn muffins from Vegan Vittles. I'm not a fan of this recipe, but I did like that it was written to make a small batch---only 6 muffins. Tommy loves these muffins. They have silken tofu and that bird loves tofu, go figure! I'll give VV another try on a different day.

I've still got two small containers of the wild blueberries and I am hoping to make at least 1 more, maybe 2 more recipes. Perhaps I will get to post one tonight!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

A Wonderful Weekend!

This weekend got off to an uneventful start. I had a long drive back from NY which meant no cooking Friday night as I was exhausted! Saturday, my dad stopped by to help me replace a leaky spigot for my garden hose. (I'd turned the water off from inside the house to prevent wasting it.) After that, my dad and I headed out to a casino nearby my house. Before we left, I told him that I was hoping to win $40 that I would donate to charity.

Karma was on my side last night as I won quite a bit. I ended up donating a big chunk to both MercyCorps and America's Second Harvest. Farm Sanctuary also got a smaller donation. Unfortunately, what's left will go towards bills and possibly two other items. I'm thinking about getting a road bike, so that I can bike part or all of the way to work. I'd also like to get a dehydrator and had been putting it off because I have other stuff to take care of financially.

Anyway, I ended up going to bed later than planned. That made getting up early rather difficult today. Friends of Willard Brook were leading a hike in central Mass today. The hike interested me because there are wild blueberries at the summit which we could pick. It was 1.5+ hours driving and I did get slightly lost on the way, but luckily still made it in time. We hiked up Mount Watatic. It is small mountain, actually it is a small monadnock and not a mountain---but I digress. The terrain is pretty rugged with some shuffling over rocks and relatively steep climbing. The view at the top is quite nice as you can see 360 degrees and a few other mountains/monadnocks. (Perhaps even Boston on a clear day.)

Here are a few pictures for you:

These are pretty close to the beginning of the trail. The twin rocks must have broken apart at some point. The picture doesn't completely portray the amazing size of the two chunks of stone. They are definitely a good 15 feet tall or more. I guess that gives you some scale as to how tall those trees are!

This photo below, is a view looking out from Watatic. We're very close to the peak when I snapped this shot. The last one is the blueberries I picked. They are very sweet and I can't wait to cook something up with them. I'll likely make some mini blueberries muffins and then use the rest for smoothies and/or breakfast. Hope you all had a good weekend too. I promise some food pictures soon!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Sea Veg Salad, Scones, and Soap!

The last few days were plenty busy. We avoided the crowds and skipped fireworks. I know, not very patriotic, but it was relatively stormy in Boston yesterday anyway. My town has fireworks for its Founder's Day festival in June, so it feels like we just saw fireworks not that long ago.

Anyway, I finally decided to brave making the sea vegetable salad I like to order at my favorite restaurant. First, I boiled the arame and hiziki in water. While that was cooking, I mixed up the carrot ginger miso dressing. It is definitely not the same dressing I get at the restaurant as this was creamy with silken tofu.

The recipe came from a group on Yahoo that I frequent. The credit says, "From an old Cooking Light magazine." Here it is, in case you want to try it.

Tofu Carrot Ginger Miso Dressing
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup silken tofu
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons yellow miso
2 teaspoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 garlic clove, crushed

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor; process until smooth.

It is really good and low fat. I drained and sauteed the sea vegetables for a few minutes after they had softened. The salad is greens and carrots with the sea veggies. I've been adding a sprinkle of toasted sesame oil to these salads. Last night I was lazy and had not cooked up brown rice yet. Today, I have brown rice to mix with my lunch salad. At the restaurant the dressing is ginger miso (not tofu) and they serve wood grilled tofu and brown rice with the salad.

This dressing is addicting, it reminds me of the orange carrot ginger dressing you get on salads at a Japanese restaurant, except creamier.

Also during the holiday, I had to use up the fresh currants I purchased at the farm while strawberry picking. I found a currant scone recipe while flipping through Modern Vegetarian Kitchen. (This cookbook was a clearance find at a local bookstore a few months ago.) The recipe wasn't vegan, but did have directions to veganize. They were kind of funny actually. It called for yogurt or whey, but said to substitute water and lemon juice for a vegan scone. I just used soy yogurt. The scones look pretty and I love the way the pastry tastes, but I am not a fan of the currants. The fresh currants are very tart, almost like cranberries. I probably should have added more sugar to the recipe. Most of the scones are in the freezer, don't worry I will eventually devour all of them.

Lastly, yesterday I cut up my mojito soap. The soap is made with olive oil, palm oil, and coconut oil. Then I "super fatted" it with mango butter for some extra moisturizing. It is scented with spearmint, bay rum, peru balsam, and lime essential oils. It smells very fresh and I'm looking forward to when it is usable. In the picture, you can see I dipped the cut bars in dried spearmint leaves. This needs to cure for at least 4 weeks while the saponification reaction continues.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Pumpkin Soup and Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

A few days ago, I made some pumpkin muffins from freedom's blog. That left me with some extra pumpkin to use up. Yesterday I was flipping through cookbooks at my aunt's house and I wrote down a recipe for Arizona pumpkin soup.

Today I cooked up the soup recipe. It is made with pumpkin, red pepper, onion, garlic, chili powder, and lime juice. The soup is good. My last pumpkin soup attempt was a disaster, so I'm glad this one was edible. I wonder if the folks from Arizona have ever had any soup like this.

My aunt and I went strawberry picking yesterday. There is a wonderful little farm not far from our houses. This is the first year they offered CSA shares. I'm hoping to get one next year, but I was excited to check out what they had at the store. I purchased some fresh currants (which I have no idea what to do with) and some rhubarb to use with the strawberries.

While we were walking over to the berry patches, one of the owners stopped us and offered some freshly picked black mulberries to try. They were interesting. The strawberry fields weren't doing incredibly well. Because of all the rain, many of the berries were moldy. Though we managed to pick some good ones.

The Garden of Vegan has a recipe for Rhubarb Crunch. I used half as much rhubarb and added strawberries. Check out the big pan of fruity goodness that I have waiting for me.

Actually, shortly after that photo I ate a plateful of it. After my soup, I may have another dish of it. Tonight I'm hoping to make some mojito scented soap. I'll post some pics of it once it is done.