Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Midweek Munchies


All I have for you is a question this week, because it's been too hot to cook and I haven't been able to go grocery shopping due to lack of fundage. (I get paid in two days, though!)

Question of the Week:

If you were forced to choose only five meals to eat for the rest of your life, which five meals would they be? (Three courses plus a dessert, beverages, etc.)

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Kai commented about this, but I wanted to share her comment with all of you, because I think it's so funny!

She was thinking of veggie cookbook acronyms . . .

Vegan With A Vengeance = VwaV
The Everyday Vegan = TEV
Vive Le Vegan = VLV

And the acronym of my potential cookbook?

Party of One = POO


Thanks, Kai! That was a great birthday present! I laughed so hard!

happy birthday to me!

Because today's my birthday, I thought I'd sing you a little song! Unfortunately, since I don't know how to upload audio, you'll have to imagine my voice. But here are the lyrics:

"Happy birthday to me,
I don't watch much TV!
I'm writing a cookbook,
And have a cat named Ollie!"

Monday, May 29, 2006

It's good to be home! (+ rambling)

I celebrated my return to the Cities with a trip to Holy Land Deli with Ann and Michelle, who both picked me up from the airport! (Ann drove, but Michelle tagged along for an A/C hit -- they don't have air conditioning in their apartment, and neither do I for that matter, but it's been in the nineties for days now and they both looked miserable.) We ordered the "Vegetarian Shiek's Dinner for Two," which was more than enough food for the three of us with leftovers! Here's what was on the giant platter:

stuffed grape leaves
saffron Basmati rice
lightly breaded/fried cauliflower
three different sauces: cucumber, tahini, and hot sauce

AND THEN, the dinner also included Arabian tea and baklava for dessert. All for twenty bucks. I kid you not. The three of us ate ourselves sick for twenty bucks, plus leftovers. That place is just incredible.

Oh, it felt so good to eat lots and lots and lots of really yummy veggie food! (And it was all vegan, as far as I could taste/tell, except for the cucumber sauce, which was obviously made with yogurt.) Yes, even their spanakopita is cheese-free -- it's just loaded with tons of spinach, onions, and vinegar to make it extra-tasty! (And their spanakopita comes in a bread-like pocket, instead of in phyllo.) My tummy's happy, happy, happy to be home.

(Disclaimer: my parents actually were very generous and accomodating, it was just that we ate out quite a few times during the weekend, which is always a bit tough, especially following a week of lots of eating out.) Tonight will be the last time, if I have any say in the matter, that I eat out until Saturday, when we all go out to celebrate my BIRTHDAY!! (My birthday happens to be tomorrow, however.) :)

In other news, it is hotter 'n heck right now -- high nineties during the day, low seventies at night. My apartment is like an oven -- even the hardwood floors are hot! I have all the windows open and fans everywhere attempting to pull the cooler evening air inside.

I'm trying to see if I can live without the air conditioner, because it quintuples my power bill when I run it, and because I think it might be a waste of energy, when we really don't have that much miserable heat here. I'm going to see how long I can suffer through it!

Speaking of electricity, my first WindSource power bill came, and it only raised my entire bill by 26 cents. (I don't use much electricity to begin with, however -- my average bill is somewhere between ten and thirteen dollars.) It was a well-worth Earth Day adventure!

Speaking of Earth Day, I have been failing lately on my resolution of air-drying laundry. See, the family I nanny for has offered me the use of their washer and dryer for free, as long as I don't "get in the way" of the family laundry. Free laundry is pretty hard to turn down, and it could pose quite a challenge to wash my clothes at their house and then bundle them up wet to hang dry at home! So I've been tossing them in the dryer. I'm thinking of taking sheets/towels over there, but doing clothes at home. (I just need the willpower to turn down the free laundry!)


I have been flattered by the chatter I've read around about my upcoming cookbook! I'm happy to have more recipe testers volunteer, although I don't have anything to give you at this time. (If anyone who has some of my recipes wants to hand one over to someone else, let me know -- I've got at least three more people queued up!)

Another segue,

I just finished reading David Sedaris's "Me Talk Pretty One Day," which I borrowed from Michelle. (Thanks, 'stache lady!) I am currently without a novel! I do have an issue of the Rake to read, plus the City Pages and Pulse, but I will need to go to the library SOON! And yes, the brand-spankin' new library is finally open! Perhaps I will run over there one day this weekend. Novels and cookbooks galore, oh my!

Another segue,

It's just so stinking hot. Boo.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

yukkity yukkity yukkity!

We ate at "Old Country Buffet" with my grandparents today for lunch. It was pretty freaky. (Skirting a bunch of severely overweight people while trying to find vegan options was pretty interesting.) I stuck to the salad bar, which was actually okay, (they had chickpeas and sunflower seeds, and oil and vinegar as a dressing choice,) and also had some terribly overcooked white pasta with a basic red marinara.

I just hate chain restaurants.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


Greetings from America's Dairyland!

I have been in Wisconsin less than two full days, and have had two servings of cheese already! Spanakopita for dinner last night and Brie at the wedding shower today. Both were tasty, but I have to tell you, I felt really icky last night after all that feta. I'm better now -- I had an easy breakfast and dinner today, (hooray for Amy's cheeseless pizza!) had a reasonably okay time at the wedding shower, (I hate wedding showers as a general rule, but there were no stupid games and it was good to see Anna!) had fun visiting Jess and Dan and baby Aramae, and am now considering having a small piece of the birthday carrot cake with cream cheese frosting my mom made for me.

My tummy may never recover! Just goes to show that my idea of eating very little dairy is a good one. :)

Friday, May 26, 2006

vroom vroom

I'm "leavin' on a jet plane" this afternoon to spend the weekend in glorious Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (I have a high school friend's wedding shower to attend Saturday, and am also planning on visiting my friends Jess and Dan who recently had baby Aramae, and my parents and I will spend "quality time" with the grandparents on Sunday!)

Wish me luck dining in the land of brats and cheese. :)

I feel like a lazy bum flying to Milwaukee, but it's only a little bit more expensive than driving my gas guzzler all the way there, and since my transmission has been acting up, it seems much safer to me, too! (No possibility of being stranded by the side of I-94 in The Middle of Nowhere, Wisconsin.) Plus, cutting the travel time down to an hour (from 5 1/2 hours,) is a treat! (Well, it's more like three hours once you consider arriving at the airport early, the flight itself, and picking up my giant green suitcase.)

Hope everyone enjoys their holiday weekends! Eat lots of yummy picnic food!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

a post just for Lauren

Here's a stinky update:

I like the Tom's deodorant! I'm not stinky, which is nice. Slightly damp, but odor-free. :) Not sure if this is the best thing or not, but it sure beats aluminum-based yukkiness that doesn't quite work anyway!

I have also been enjoying an aluminum-free deodorant by Adidas (Absorbent-Deo), but it's not perfect, either. Dove hasn't been working lately, and Certain-Dri has failed me horribly!

I have a buffet of underarm protection in my medicine cabinet right now.

I think I should go to bed -- Little Girl, Little Boy, and I spent the afternoon at the zoo, and I'm tired. Really tired. (The tigers were swimming when we were watching them, which was very sweet. This is not a "sad zoo," although we have one of those in MN, too.) So tired that posting about deodorant seems interesting to me right now! Sheesh.

recipe testing thank-you!

Hello everyone! I've been popping around to everyone else's blogs as usual, and received very awesome emails from those that volunteered to test recipes for me, and everyone's been so great. Thank you all! Just wanted you to know how much I appreciate your help:

I can test and test and test recipes until I'm blue in the face, but it is helping SO much having other people test them out for me. Why? Because they are my recipes, and I know how they are supposed to look and taste in the end, and also because I can be a bit snobbish (!!!) about my food and like things just the way I like them, and it's good to know other people like things that way, too! Every little piece of advice helps, and I'm so glad to hear what parts of recipes have been too complicated or confusing, or need more explanation. (i.e., how to peel a frozen banana! Thanks Leslie!) I really want this cookbook to be great, and the help of my testers will prove to be invaluable!

As a side note, and I'm sure as Dreena can attest to, food is expensive and testing recipes over and over again can become a bit costly. I hate to waste food, and since I'm only one person, I can only eat so much before I'm sick of something! (Fortunately, most of my recipes make a small number of servings, so that part isn't quite so horrible.) Also, I can only pawn so much food off on my friends. :) Although they are usually happy to partake -- Tony test-drove a brownie for me last night and said it was "a little strange, but really good." (Whole wheat pastry flour was the "strange," I think.) Having a few folks here and there help out has been awesome, again!

And many of you have asked how/why I chose recipes for you -- I tried to think of the things you blogged about often and offer you foods you'd enjoy/foods that would fit into your personality/lifestyle. (For example, Vicki and Kai both got some fun dip recipes because they both have kids, and kids like to dip things.) Hope I made decent choices!

Note: I haven't sent out any dessert recipes yet, because they are all still in the planning stages. Those will come in another month or so . . . watch out for the sugar!

And now, I must hurry off and get ready for work before I'm late! Sheesh.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Midweek Munchies


Question of the week: if you could cook with one famous chef, (dead or alive,) who would it be and why?

Here's my shopping (very little produce since I'm headed out of town this weekend, but I wanted to stock up on the "regular" stuff so next week wasn't such a shock!):

1 loaf Great Harvest Bread Co. Country Wheat Bread

just under a pound of Peace Coffee Sumatra City blend (Fair Trade and organic)
just under three pounds of organic natural granulated sugar
organic flame raisins
sulphured dried apricots
dried cherries

1 box mint chocolate chip Tofutti Cuties
10 ounces organic blueberries
10 ounces organic strawberries
10 ounces organic raspberries
10 ounces organic peaches
10 ounces organic in-pod edamame
LightLife faux breakfast sausage

15 oz organic chickpeas
15 oz organic black beans
15 oz organic cannellini beans
8 ounces buckwheat soba noodles
16 ounces honey (from Canon Falls, MN! I love buying local products!)
Barbara's Bakery Shredded Spoonfuls cereal
Ka-Me Hoisin sauce
Westbrae naturals vegetarian fruit-sweetened ketchup
East Wind smooth peanut butter with salt
Mori-Nu soft silken tofu
4-pack Seventh Generation TP
Seventh Generation lavender dish soap
Pet Promise cat food

Tom's of Maine peppermint gel toothpaste
Tom's of Maine lavender deodorant (something to try . . . anyone have any opinions about this product?)
Burt's Bees Garden Tomato toner
4-pack Preserve razors (the handles are recyclable . . . but #5 plastic, which I don't believe we can recycle 'round here! Bummer. At least there's less packaging than the Venus ones I've been using!)

three organic bananas
two organic valencia oranges
one organic Asian pear

12 ounce tub Earth Balance whipped organic buttery spread (switching to this kind for the summer -- countertop margarine gets melty!)
16 ounces Earth Balance buttery sticks (been doing a lot of baking lately and ran out!)
sprouted corn tortillas
House organic firm tofu
Organic Valley plain soymilk
Holy Land Deli hummus (8 ounces)

I have to talk with someone at my co-op and ask them to please start stocking Bionaturae brand whole wheat fettuccine! They never have it. :(

Visit Harmonia for more info on Midweek Munchies.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

"plus one"

Ha! I just had the best evening last night, but I have a funny story to tell you about it!

I went to see my friend/former coworker Dan play drums last night -- he's a member of the (rather famous, especially if you listen to the Current!) local band called Cloud Cult (see the link over on the right . . . scroll down!) and I hadn't seen them play in ages! It was very fun -- saw Kid Dakota open, and then Cloud Cult always puts on a fun, trippy-dippy show. (Their painters were present this time, which was neat!) Dan was kind enough to put me on "the list," (I'd never been on "the list" before,) with a "plus one," because Michelle was going to come with me. Michelle wasn't feeling well yesterday, so I went to the show by myself. (This is an accomplishment -- I don't usually do that, but since the show was in Dinkytown, which is a very safe neighborhood near the U of M campus, I decided to suck it up. Glad that I did!) When I walked in the door, I handed the guy my ID and said, "I think I'm on the list." He found me and then said, "your plus one?" I said, "I have no plus one -- it's just me." He shot me a funny look; I said, "well, my plus one is sick." He said, "oh -- okay -- head on in."

Never thought I'd get crap from the door guy for NOT having a plus one! Sheesh.

The moral of the story? If I ever write a second cookbook, it might be titled, "Plus One: Healthy Cooking for Parties of Two."

Speaking of the cookbook, I'm going to work on it for a couple of hours now, and those that volunteered to test recipes, beware -- you may get an email today!

I have a choir concert tonight at the church -- we are performing the Minnesota premire of Karl Jenkins's "The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace." If you are in the area and bored, come on over to Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church for a FREE concert at 7:30 p.m! It should be a neat show -- organ, piano, brass, woodwinds, percussion, and lots of singing. :) It's a neat, somewhat unsettling, but ultimately hopeful piece . . . hope to see you there!

Friday, May 19, 2006


I just signed up for a workshop titled "Selling and Publishing Your Book" at the Loft! (The workshop itself isn't until July -- that's a long time to wait!) Regardless, I feel like I'm making some headway! Perhaps this will give me the push I need to keep working on the manuscript?

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Just because I don't have any VEGAN cookbooks doesn't mean I don't have any COOKBOOKS! :)

Here's what I have:

The Ultimate A-Z Bar Guide (Sharon Tyler Herbst & Ron Herbst): a great book to learn about alcohol. I hardly ever drink, but when I do, I want to know what's in it!

The Laptop Lunch User's Guide (Amy Hemmert & Tammy Pelstring): there are some neat recipes in this teeny little book that came with my Laptop Lunchbox!

The Christmas Cookie Book (Lou Siebert Pappas): this book was given to me as a gift and I've never cooked anything out of it . . . but it's very, very pretty, and has many "old school" Christmas cookie recipes in it like springerle and peppernuts, which I might enjoy making . . . someday!

Betty Crocker's New Cookbook: I grew up cooking from an earlier version of this cookbook, and still prefer it to "Joy of Cooking." Many recipes are not vegan, but easily veganized -- I've pulled muffin, piecrust, and pancake recipes from here with great success! There are also some awesome recipes in the beans and legumes section, and handy charts for cooking times for dried legumes.

The All New All Purpose Joy of Cooking (Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker): where I turn when Betty leaves me hangin'.

Gear for Your Kitchen (Alton Brown): I love this book. It's funny and interesting, and I've had it signed!

I'm Just Here for the Food (Alton Brown): even though I don't enjoy eating meat, it's still interesting to read the science behind preparing a variety of different kinds of foods. It's broken down by cooking method, which is just plain cool.

I'm Just Here for More Food (Alton Brown): AB's baking book. Truly fascinating, for those of you who love to bake. Funny as hell, too.

The Joy of Cooking All About Vegetarian (Rombauer, Rombauer-Becker, & Becker): I have lots of recipes flagged in this book, but haven't made any of them.

Jamie's Kitchen (Jamie Oliver): another gift cookbook; I love Jamie Oliver's philosophy of stripping food down (hence, "The Naked Chef,") and focusing on a few simple, high-quality ingredients over fussy preparation methods and complicated recipes. This is not my favorite of his cookbooks, because it is mostly "restaurant food" and a little too fancy for my tastes. (Plus, it's a lot of meat, of course.) But it sure is purty. And funny. (And I give credit to Jamie Oliver's first cookbook for my ability to bake bread from scratch -- those cookbooks, and a lot of practice, of course.)

That's my cookbook library. I used to have more, but I've gotten rid of ones over the years that I didn't use and/or didn't like. I check lots and lots of cookbooks out from the library and copy down a recipe or two here and there, and if I want to cry when it's time to return the book, I write it down on my wish list. I also have found many, many good recipes on the internet, and have a vast recipe collection of my own. (I actually worked about two years ago on digitizing my recipe box -- I had outgrown a side-by-side, double 4X6 recipe box, and decided it was time to join the 21st century.) I think, ultimately, unless I'm baking, I just "wing it" -- I never make anything the same way twice, and use recipes/cookbooks as more "inspiration" than anything else.

Cookbooks on my wish list:
Vegan with a Vengeance
Vive le Vegan (hi Dreena! Is that the one with the gooey brownies in it that I read about on someone else's blog? I miss brownies . . . !)
The Vegetarian Family Cookbook
The New Vegetarian Epicure
Sinfully Vegan
World Vegearian

And not a cookbook, but sounds very interesting:
Super Nutrition for Women (Gittleman)

SO, I guess the new question would be, what (top 5?) cookbooks are on your wish list?

AND, I forgot to add something to my gadget wish list: a Salter kitchen scale. I really should bake properly.

another question!

I started thinking of other "top 5" questions I could ask you all, and this one's too good to leave wait until next week!

What are the top five items on your "kitchen wish list?"

(Mine are modest because I have a small space, but feel free to dream big!)
1. Shun by Kershaw chef's knife, serrated knife, paring knife, and 4-inch (or so) slicer
2. All-Clad pots and pans: medium and small saucepots, tiny frying pan, 12-inch saute pan, large Dutch oven or soup pot
3. Food processor
4. rice cooker (I think I would like rice more if it was prepared properly -- I have a "bad rice gene," just like I have a "bad pancake gene" -- I can make good pancake batter, I'm just not very skilled at cooking them.)
5. vegan cookbooks! (I have none)

(I posted answers to my previous questions in the comment thread.)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Midweek Munchies


Since I didn't do any shopping this past weekend, I thought I'd post two questions this week!

What are your top five favorite/most used/can't live without kitchen gadgets/pieces of equipment?

What are your top five most favorite flavors or ingredients with which to cook?

(Your answers will help with the cookbook writing process, in the first full chapter, "Getting Started.")


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Monday, May 15, 2006

new breakfast!

I just had to share what I had for breakfast today because it's really good, and I've never thought to have it for breakfast before!

Pan-fried polenta! (With a little drizzle of maple syrup -- like pancakes, only better!) (I have a soy sausage pattie and some watermelon on the side, too.)

Leftover polenta is just about my favorite thing in the whole wide world, and now I can have it every meal of the day! (Not that I would . . . but I could!)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

end-of-weekend blues

I realized I haven't posted all weekend! Here's an update:

~ I made a tofu and veggie stir-fry with brown rice for Michelle and I for dinner on Friday night. I used hoisin sauce again, and added a little extra garlic, ginger, and chili flakes this time. I made chocolate pudding cake for dessert, too! (The kind that makes its own hot fudge sauce in the bottom of the pan while it bakes.) I sent Michelle home with the "Sack It!" section from my cookbook to read and test out, and I will try to get recipes out to those that volunteered soon!

~ Saturday, I took Christine to the airport and then spent the day with my friend Chelsea and her daughters Olivia and Norah. It was great to see Chels and meet Norah, and I had SO MUCH FUN playing with Olivia! She's 18 months old, and just a ham. We danced, wrestled, dumped toys out of buckets and filled them back up again, sang songs, and looked at books. I feel kind of bad because I didn't spend much actual time with Chelsea, but I think it all turned out fine in the end! Jenny, a friend of Chelsea's, also came over and brought yummy lunch and it was good to see her, too. (Thanks again, Jenny my blog lurker!)

~ Saturday night I WORKED ON MY COOKBOOK! I edited and added a few recipes to the dinner section, and added more recipes to the dessert section, too. That was fun. :) I also baked a loaf of bread and a peach-strawberry crisp. Carbtastic!

~ Today, I did almost nothing, other than drink tea, eat toast (and some other stuff,) watch movies, and go for a walk around Lake of the Isles. (Thanks for coming with me, Ann!) I feel kind of crummy -- low-energy, tired, a bit achy. I don't know whether I'm just overtired or actually coming down with something, but I decided to lay low today. I watched "Angela's Ashes," "Zelary," and "Walk the Line." All three were wonderful, and a great way to spend a rainy day! (I'm addicted to Netflix, if I didn't mention that already!)

Now, I'm a little sad that the weekend is over. I have to steel myself for the next two weeks -- they prove to be beyond busy. I apologize in advance for infrequent posting, because I will be working like mad, seeing friends' bands play (and going to a CD release show!), and be out of town for Memorial Day weekend. I will attempt to post any interesting kitchen happenings, however! (I took a bunch of stuff out of the freezer for this week, though, so there probably won't be much!)

Friday, May 12, 2006


The family that I nanny for also employs a housekeeper, and her name is Diane. She's Parisienne, and very nice, and speaks with good, but not great, English. The other day, she was unloading the groceries and came upon a canteloupe. She was supposed to clean it/cut it up, and she didn't know how. I don't think they eat much melon in France, (I think they are native to the Americas,) and I asked her if she wanted to watch me do it so she could do it next time. She did, but made funny faces the whole time. I asked her what was the matter; she said, "I don't like fruit." I was confused -- she didn't like cutting up fruit? (I thought maybe we misunderstood each other -- language barrier and all.) She said, "no -- I don't like fruit. Raisins, maybe, sometimes a banana, but otherwise, no!" and made a grossed-out face.


Happy Friday! Don't forget to call your mommies on Sunday, if you celebrate Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 11, 2006


I just searched The Loft website, and found a workshop titled, "Selling & Publishing Your Book." I'm registering for it as soon as I get paid again!
Thank you Lauren and Michelle for shoving me in the right direction!

thank you!

Very special thanks to Anna, Dori, Leslie, Melissa, Jess, Johanna, Courtney, Kai, Megan, and Emily, who all have volunteered to test recipes for my new cookbook! (I wanted to reply to all of your emails individually, but I was overwhelmed by the sheer numbers!)

(And you all, of course, will be receiving an extra-special thank-you in my "the author wishes to thank" section if I actually publish the thing!)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Back Where I Belong Midweek Munchies


Yes, I was happily back at the Wedge this past weekend, and here's what I bought:

Ka-Me Hoisin Sauce (contains corn syrup! boo! but the only brand of Hoisin available.)
tube of tomato paste (Amore brand, conventional)
14 oz Muir Glen Organic Fire-Roasted Tomatoes (I thought of you, Jess!)
1 organic fruit leather (apple) (emergency work snack)
2 "Loony" Bars (Peanut-PB and Nuts & Cranberry) (emergency work snacks)
1 Larabar (Cherry Almond) (emergency work snack)

Burt's Bees Garden Tomato Complexion Soap
Burt's Bees Lip Balm (the tin, which is less convenient, but recyclable, unlike the plastic tubes)
Burt's Bees Almond Milk Hand Cream

1 small bunch organic broccoli
1 organic mango
1 organic Asian pear (a new produce item!)
1 small head organic Bok Choy (another new produce item)
a big handfull of bulk organic basil
1 gigantic organic red bell pepper
8 ounces organic strawberries
organic watermelon chunk (about 1/4 medium melon)

White Wave organic firm tofu
big tub WholeSoy plain yogurt
1 Mighty Mango Naked Juice

Visit Harmonia for more info on Midweek Munchies.


Breakfast today: a smoothie made with vanilla soy yogurt, strawberries, blueberries, flax, and apple juice! (And some toast.) Yum. I wish I had another one, it was so good! The only bummer was, I dropped a glass and broke it this morning. :( Oh well.

I also managed to do 20 minutes of yoga. I'm having a hard time waking up "on time" this week, so the hour I did last week seems a little daunting!

Dreena gave me some great advice on the cookbook publishing front -- I need to head to the library and figure out how to write a proposal, and get those out sometime soon. (It probably won't be until next month, because the rest of this month's weekends are chock-full of busy stuff already . . . how did that happen?)

Monday, May 08, 2006

"Party of One"

Before I get started, tonight for dinner: a homemade white bean, oat, and herb burger with Vegenaise for dipping, broccoli stalks and red pepper strips with hummus for dipping, tater tots with ketchup for dipping, and an asian pear with nothing for dipping, because it's perfect just as is. :)

Now, on to the cookbook. I have had several questions about the cookbook I am working on, so I thought I'd post about it and offer you all a few details!

The working title is, "Party of One: Healthy Food for Single People." Essentially, my target audience is single people (young or otherwise) who cook for themselves and who want to eat healthfully but need help getting started and finding some ideas. All of the recipes are vegetarian, most are vegan (or can be veganized easily,) and all emphasize whole foods (fruits, veggies, grains, beans and legumes,) with a short to medium amount of prep/cooking time, lower sodium, and lower sugar. All of the recipes make a manageable amount of servings (one or two, or in the case of baked goods, six muffins or a small loaf of bread) and could be easily doubled for couples/dates/whatever.

Here's a simple breakdown:
Section 1: Why on Earth would a preschool teacher want to write a cookbook?
This is my introduction. It pretty much describes how I arrived where I am diet and nutrition wise, and gives a general overview of the whole cookbook. I'm thinking about overhauling it and focusing mainly on the reader, while keeping bits of my personality/story here and there.

Section 2: Plan of Attack.
This is my chapter on hardware and software, (kitchen needs such as pots, pans, knives, etc., and basic "raw ingredients" to have on hand,) with tips on grocery shopping/list making and meal planning at the end.

Section 3: Daily Breads.
Muffins, quick breads, a scone, biscuits, corn tortillas, a couple of yeast breads (which I'm thinking of omitting,) and pizza crust.

Section 4: The MOST IMPORTANT meal of your day.
Split into two sections: ideas/"recipes" for quick, on-the-go weekday breakfasts, and weekend breakfast ideas: homemade granola, doctored-up hot cereals, pancakes, french toast, a couple of egg recipes, and veggie home fries.

Section 5: Sack it!
Why and how we should pack our lunches. There's a sandwich assembly chart, a salad assembly chart, easy pasta salad, some sandwich fillers (tofu salad, chickpea salad, egg salad,) tabouli, croutons, and vinaigrette recipes.

Section 6: Snack attack.
Why and how to snack smart: ideas, tips, and a few recipes for dips and crunchy things.

Section 7: Mom, what’s for dinner?
Hoppin' John, Sloppy Lentils, Chickpea Pocket Pies, Beans and Rice a million ways, Black Bean Enchiladas, three bean burger recipes, polenta, stir-fry, tofu marinades, pizza, pastas, a marinara sauce, and soups (lentil, miso, chickpea noodle, chili, and a couple "cream of" veggie soups.)

Section 8: Sugar shock.
Cookies, simple cakes, maybe a cupcake or two, a couple bar recipes, and a couple of fruit desserts.

Section 9: Fancy food for fancy days.
This is a section I haven't written yet and am toying with omitting -- I wanted to give a few "fussier" recipes/sample menus for simple entertaining -- dinner parties of 4 to 6 people, etc. But I think a whole book on dinner parties could be more fun!

SO, here's where I'm at. Most of the cookbook is written, (I need to finish the Sugar Shock chapter, rewrite the introduction, and write a conclusion,) and I am working on testing recipes on my end. Once I get recipes the way I like them, I'm going to need helpers! If you'd be interested in helping me test-drive my cookbook, drop me an email (see my profile) and let me know what you'd be interested in testing -- baked goods, only vegan stuff, dinners, whatever. I haven't even thought about the publishing aspect of this yet . . . maybe someone (Dreena!!) out there could give me some tips about what I should do/what I should send publishers?

I appreciate everyone's encouragement for and interest in this! I have never undertaken a project this big or exciting before, and it's lots of fun. :)

Saturday, May 06, 2006

regretting I don't have a camera . . .

Dinner tonight:

~ soba noodles topped with hoisin-glazed stir-fry of mixed veggies (carrot, mushroom, red pepper, broccoli, bok choy, zucchini, and green onion)
~ coconut-crusted tofu (from my recent Eating Well magazine)

This is a pretty meal -- pretty to look at, and pretty tasty, to boot.
Sorry I can't share the visual!

Best . . . Tomato . . . Soup . . . Ever . . . !

Thanks, Melissa, for sharing Sarah Kramer's recipe for Cream of Tomato Soup from La Dolce Vegan! I, of course, made my own bastardized version, and I have to say, THIS IS THE BEST TOMATO SOUP I'VE EVER HAD! Enjoy.

1. Saute 1 small onion, finely chopped, in 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil until soft. (Keep the heat at medium-low so the flavor of the oil doesn't cook away.) Add 1 clove of garlic, minced, and cook until everything is fragrant and translucent.
2. Add 1/2 cup vegetable broth, 14 ounces crushed fire-roasted tomatoes, 1/4 teaspoon salt (or less), and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Puree the soup using a regular or immersion blender. (I used my new boat motor!) Stir in 1 cup "milk" of your choice, 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil, and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup. Heat through.

(The garlic and choosing fire-roasted tomatoes were my changes -- everything else is exactly as Melissa relayed.)

Segue . . .

I did not buy a yoga DVD at Target, as I had originally planned to do. I bought clothes instead. A dress, a skirt, and 5 tees/tanks. I get stuck on black shirts. Three of the shirts I bought were black, and the dress was black, too. Everyone says I should introduce more color into my wardrobe, and I try . . . but the colors don't get worn as often as all of the black. So I've tried to branch out and buy interesting-looking black shirts, with lots of cute details, so I can look a little more feminine and a little less frumpy. I think it's working? We'll see. (The skirt, however, is blue and twirly!)


I haven't posted in about 36 hours, and I have a lot to tell you!

~ I made Kai's recipe for fried rice again on Thursday night, and although I slightly overcooked my rice, it was excellent the second time as well. I tried for a more traditional approach this time, and used all brown rice, some white onion, mushroom, water chestnuts, baby cocktail corn, green peas, and green onions. (I forgot to buy bean sprouts . . . .) YUM YUM YUM! Thanks again, Kai, for the awesome recipe! It's so easy to throw together, and tastes fantastic!

~ Yesterday morning, I did a half an hour of yoga, made oatmeal for breakfast and ate it slowly, paid bills and balanced my checkbook, took out the recycling, and washed a few dishes. It's soooooo nice to have that time to get stuff done!

~ Last night, friends and I went out to celebrate release from my old job/starting my new job. We had fabulous drinks, appetizers, and PIZZA at Psycho Suzi's!!! (I did eat dairy, although I'm sure they'd be happy to make a cheese-free pizza for anyone.) The drinks were fabulous, the pizza was fabulous, our waitress was awesome and hilarious, and for a party of five with drinks all around (two of us actually had a second round,) two appetizers, and a ginormous pizza, our tab was only sixty bucks. Sweet! We got there around 8:30 and by the time we left around 10, it was starting to get kind of loud and raucous in there -- but the fun kind of loud and raucous. Funny side note: there was a line for the MEN'S bathroom most of the night! Isn't that hilarious!

~ I'm off to run errands today. I'll have a happier Midweek Munchies post this week, and will probably have a yoga DVD review as well (I need a few things from Target, and am going to browse their DVD section.) Happy, happy weekend, everybody!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

a new grocery-buying experience

Holy cow. I went grocery shopping today with the nanny family, and they had the weirdest thing at this store --

Drive-thru grocery pickup.

You pay for your groceries, they load your groceries into tubs, they give you big, plastic numbers, you drive around to the side of the store, give them the numbers, and they load your groceries into your car for you (sans tubs.) I'm not sure how I feel about this whole process. It was quite the experience.

In unrelated news, the little boy was intrigued by my Nalgene water bottle. Almost every time I took a drink he asked me, "are you drinking green water?" At first, he was confused -- I couldn't possibly be drinking water, because water at his house comes bottled out of the fridge. He saw me fill it from the tap a few times, and thought about it some more. After I poured out a little water to show him that it wasn't green, he seemed satisfied.

Perhaps he needs his own Nalgene? I'll have to think about getting him one for his birthday, which isn't for several months.

up and at 'em

I got up, did an hour of yoga, made coffee, made breakfast, and now have time to blog! Wow. This is weird.

Cool, but weird.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

toodle-oo, teacher-land!

Today was my last day as a preschool teacher! The kids and parents were sad to see me go, and I was bummed to leave them, but I'm excited to start my new job tomorrow!

I am having a celebratory dinner of crackers and guacamole, diced mango, and almonds. (Weird, I realize, but very tasty.) Oh, and a cup of rooibos tea -- I got a big box of tea as a gift from one of the families! People are so generous there.

Speaking of generous, one of my coworkers, Don, gave me a hand blender as a goodbye gift! Wow. I'm excited to start using it -- I've had a "boat motor" on my list of stuff to buy for ages!

Other than that, it was a pretty uneventful day. Some of the parents planned a little ice cream goodbye party for me this afternoon, which was very nice!

Since I don't have to be at my new job until 10 a.m. most days, I have big plans for that time -- big plans, baby! I am going to continue getting up at 7:00, do an hour of yoga, sit and actually enjoy my breakfast, pack my lunch and do other things to prepare for the day, and get little things done here and there. Doesn't this sound fabulous?

I'm A Frustrated Midweek Muncher

Well, welcome to "Midweek Munchies, the frustrated edition", aka, "I shopped at Whole Foods this week." I had a $5 off coupon from my Blue Sky Guide, so I decided to make the ten-minute drive, shop, and cash it in.

I know a lot of you out there in blogger-land love Whole Foods. I don't. I think I'm spoiled by a killer co-op.

Things that frustrated me about my trip to Whole Foods this past Sunday:
1. I find their produce department mega-confusing. Some of the organic produce is over here, some of the organic produce is over there, and it's just too stinking confusing to find what I need. Plus, the WF closest to me doesn't carry a ton of organic produce, and even less locally grown stuff. The organic produce that they do carry looks a little battered and bruised -- not nearly as gorgeous as the co-op's.
2. Their receipts are cryptic at best. This makes figuring out what you were actually charged for difficult, and organizing my MM post that much harder! Garn.
3. They do not stock organic lite coconut milk.
4. They do not carry Peace Coffee in bulk.
5. They do not carry Great Harvest Bread Co. breads.
6. They do not stock ANY flours in bulk.
7. They do not carry Burt's Bees Almond Milk Hand Cream.
8. I find their store brand a bit confusing -- sometimes it's "365 Natural," sometimes it's "365 organic." I wish it was all organic, all the time!
9. Their store layout is nonlinear and JUST PLAIN CONFUSING. It took me an hour and a half to find everything I needed.
10. It takes me 10 minutes to drive there, I had to park far away from the entrance, and they only have two cart corrals, and they are within 15 feet of the front doors. (Why not just walk the cart back into the store?)

Things that I enjoyed about Whole Foods:
1. Their bag refund is better than my co-op's.
2. I think their vegetarian vitamins might be more reasonably priced than my co-op's. I'll have to check next time.

Total coupons redeemed, including bag refund: $9.80
Here's what I bought:

Amy's Organic Pesto Pizza (not vegan, obviously)
365 Organic Frozen Blueberries
365 Organic Frozen Strawberries
365 Organic Frozen Peaches
Cascadian Farms Organic Spud Puppies
"the big carton" of WholeSoy vanilla yogurt

1 box soft Mori-Nu
1 can Ka-Me baby corn
1 can Ka-Me water chestnuts
1 can lite coconut milk
2 quart-boxes of original Soy Dream Enriched
Nature's Path Heritage O's
1 pound Peace Coffee Birchwood Blend
1 loaf Whole Foods Bakery 100% whole wheat bread
5 pounds Bob's Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
Daddy Sam's BBQ Sauce
2 cans 365 Organic no-salt added diced tomatoes
1 can quartered artichoke hearts
3 Clif Bars (crunchy peanut butter, black cherry almond, & cranberry apple cherry)
1 package unbleached coffee filters

1 gigundo bottle Jason Lavender Body Wash
Avalon Organics lavender body lotion
Burt's Bees Shea Butter Hand Repair Cream

half a pound of organic raw walnuts
half a pound of raw almonds (I can't afford organic -- they are almost fifteen dollars a pound!)

4 organic bananas
1 organic zucchini
1 organic yellow onion (the only kind of organic onions in the store)
8 organic cremini mushrooms (the only kind of bulk organic mushroom in the store)
1 small bunch organic green onions
1 conventional mango (and it was crummy -- stringy and not very sweet)
3/4 pound bulk organic spring greens
3/4 pound organic broccoli
2 organic Bartlett pears
1 organic lime
1 organic Haas avocado
2 organic Pink Lady apples

I will be back at the Wedge next week. Sorry Whole Foods, but I heart you not!

Visit Harmonia for more info on Midweek Munchies.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

hooray hooray hooray!

My work for work is done and edited. All I have to do is print, file, and stuff envelopes tomorrow.

AND, tomorrow is my last day teaching! Hooray, hooray, hooray!

new shoes (again)!

Leslie asked to see my new Earth Vegans, so here they are! Head over to Zappos for more info (they are Earth Solar Vegans in black microfiber).
This is random, but I appreciate that Zappos has a specific "vegetarian shoes" link over on the right-hand side of their main webpage.

Monday, May 01, 2006

veggie culinary schools

Since I had a bit of down time this evening, I decided to do a short web search and find information on vegetarian culinary schools. There aren't many. I located one in New York, one in the UK, and one in Colorado. The one in the UK sounds like the best of the three -- it's called the "Cordon Vert." Cute. Emphasis on whole, organic ingredients and other fun stuff.

My dream would be to one day own my own catering company. Perhaps I don't need to go to culinary school to do that? I wonder if there is an all-vegetarian catering company locally that I could check out? Hmm. More research is necessary.

what happened?

It's 7:40 p.m., and I've managed to eat dinner, finish those last two reports, bake blueberry muffins, and wash all of the dishes from the last two days . . . I think I hit some sort of reverse time-warp-loop!

Don't get me wrong . . . I'm not complaining! What a refreshing feeling, having everything on the "to do" list checked off!

Dinner of Champions!

On my plate tonight . . .

Barbecued tofu, steamed broccoli, tater tots, and sweet potato fries, with ketchup and Vegenaise for the fries and tots.


(No camera today . . . my apologies!)

Shoes arrived today -- new Earth Vegans are right-on! Whoo-hoo!

Must run and finish writing last two reports!