Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Midweek Munchies


I went to the store without a list this past weekend . . . thus, a weird concoction of randomness!

a tenth of a pound of vegan "gummy cubs" (I'd been craving candy for some odd reason!)

one box of Annie's organic shells and aged WI Cheddar (shared with Christine for lunch)
a four-pack of Izze sparkling grapefruit juice

1 organic avocado
2 organic white peaches
1 organic black plum
a few sprigs of organic basil
one organic orange bell pepper
1 small organic yam
half an organic canteloupe
1 bag prewashed organic local baby spinach

1 Wildwood raspberry soy yogurt
1 Wholesoy raspberry soy yogurt (I'm doing a side-by-side taste test)

AND, I finally joined the co-op last weekend!

Visit Harmonia for more info on Midweek Munchies.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


I was munching away at my supper tonight (spinach salad with orange bell pepper and almonds, and some chips and guac,) when I found a renegade crab grass strand in with my salad.

I actually enjoyed this finding. Why? Because I know my spinach was growing in a field somewhere, free and happy, with real dirt and crabgrass and maybe a few weeds and insects, to boot. It always kind of freaks me out when you get conventional greens -- they seem "too clean" to me.

The weirdest thing is conventional mushrooms -- they are WAY too clean. Dude -- mushrooms are supposed to be dirty!

Give me a few renegades any day, if that means my food's the real thing!

Monday, June 26, 2006

voice lessons!

Forgot to tell you about my second voice lesson this morning . . .

I'm having lots of fun! My church choir director (Bill) offers lessons for free to his singers during the summer, which I think is really cool. (He doesn't have quite as much to keep him busy, and this way, he gets better singers!)

My first lesson, we found the four natural breaks in my voice, discovered I am naturally a first alto, (which I guess Bill already knew,) and also did some breathing and posture exercises.

Today, we started doing a little singing. Bill's helping me learn how to add more richness/color/depth/roundness to my sound. (My voice is naturally a "flute," which means it is a bit thinner than, say, an opera singer's, which would be called a "clarinet.") Today, I spent most of my lesson singing into the piano.

Meaning . . . he had the top of the grand piano open, I stood in the curve of the piano and sang one phrase at a time into the strings while he held up the damper pedal. This was really weird at first, but allowed me to better hear the sound of my own voice, and also the overtones (higher pitches) my voice was creating. (The sound alone made the strings of the piano vibrate. It was really stinking cool.) The more color in my voice, (and the rounder and taller I made my vowels,) the more overtones there were. It was really, really weird, but really, really cool. Super-difficult to explain, too -- hope it makes a little bit of sense!

Faux-Caprese Salad and more recipes up for grabs!

Here's the recipe for the Faux-Caprese Salad I devised this past weekend!

Toss together:
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
pinch salt
pinch black pepper
2 tablespoons finely sliced fresh basil (i.e., "chiffonade")
7 ounces firm water-packed tofu, pressed for at least 10 minutes and diced in approximately 1-inch cubes
1 cup halved grape or cherry tomatoes

Allow the salad to sit for about 10 mintues before serving so the tofu can soak up all of the excess dressing.

My thoughts on this recipe: quick, healthy, and simple. Not quite as tasty as the "real thing," but definitely passable. :)

More recipes available for testing:

Creamy Mushrooms 'n' Mac (L with vegan option)
Pancakes (L with vegan option)
French Toast (L/O with vegan option)
Peanut Butter Cookies (L with vegan option)
Snickerdoodles (L with vegan option)
Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies (L with vegan option)
Awesome Oatmeal Cookies (L with vegan option)
My Favorite Fruit Crumble (vegan)

Again, PLEASE email me (link's still on my profile page) if you'd like to test one of them! I have all of your email addresses written down somewhere . . . where they are, though, is a mystery right now . . . !!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Amazing Disappearing, Reappearing Catherine!

Yes folks, I'm about to e-disappear for a few days. Don't know how long exactly, but I'll be back by Monday for sure. (I'll still be checking email if you have a recipe review to send me!) I responded to comments from the post I made earlier today, and hopefully I'll be back with more food posts early next week!

P.S. No specific reason for disappearing -- just need a break from the web. Toodle-oo!

What's cookin'?

I've been feeling a bit blog-neglectful these past few months, or at least that I'm not living up to my self-proclaimed "Food Snob" title. Other than Midweek Munchies, my blog has been nearly food-free lately! Why?

~ It's been too hot to cook much of the past few months

~ My kitchen has been a pit, and I didn't want to cook much in such a dirty kitchen

~ I don't have a camera and now that I'm in cookbook-testing mode, I don't want to post complete recipes (so what's the fun?)

All poor excuses, I realize! This morning, I decided to catch you up on the happenings of my kitchen and let you know what I've been cooking!

I finally cleaned the kitchen last weekend and washed all of the scuzzy plastic containers that have been sitting around for, ahem, a month (!), so I was ready to cook this week, finally! Here's what I made:

SLOPPY LENTILS: This is a recipe that I'm planning on including in my cookbook, and has taken several revisions on my part to get "just right." I really, really like it now. :) Ingredients: olive oil, onion, green pepper, garlic, dried Italian seasoning, tomato sauce, water, French green lentils, soy sauce, veggie Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, salt, and ground flaxseed. I'm really liking this recipe a lot -- for someone who doesn't like leftovers much, this seems to get better and better the longer it sits in the fridge! (Well, to a point, obviously.) It's a nice, healthy, quick meal when I get home from work and am so hungry I can't see straight -- cut open a roll and hollow it out, warm up the lentils, scoop some into the roll, add some fruit and a salad, and I'm ready to eat in less than five minutes.

POLENTA: I've made my own polenta a number of times, and find it's a great "go-to" food when I don't feel like cooking much of anything, but it will still taste really great and is culinarily flexible -- you can put just about anything on top of polenta, both sweet and savory, and it will be a success. I don't know what bizarre kind of cornmeal I bought bulk at the co-op, but my polenta isn't "gelling" as much as it usually does, thus it's been a bit tricky trying to pan-fry leftover slices. (They still taste good, but usually fall apart and don't look quite as pretty. Oh well.) Christine came over for dinner last night and I fried up some polenta and topped it with Hoppin' John (explanation next,) and made each of us a big, green salad for the side. Mmmmmm!!! I'm also excited to saute the kale I have in the fridge and top some polenta with kale, cannellini beans, and pasta sauce. Mmm!

HOPPIN' JOHN: I was really, really worried about the Hoppin' John. Why, you ask? Because I've had a food aversion to black-eyed peas for some time now, (had some Hoppin' John over a corn muffin for lunch, then had a migraine, then threw up lunch . . . ew!), so I set out to change my recipe significantly in the hopes of avoiding the food aversion. I started with the recipe I used to really like from the Betty Crocker cookbook, and then did some internet research to see what recipes for "traditional" Hoppin' John looked like. I switched out some of the veggies and spices, but kept the tomatoes, and am loving the new recipe! Ingredients: canola oil, onion, celery, green bell pepper, okra, garlic, salt, crushed red pepper flakes, dried thyme, a bay leaf, a can of diced tomatoes with liquid, a can of black-eyed peas, cilantro, and green onion. Mmm!

That's what's been cookin' at my house. I also tested a peanut butter cookie (for, like the 10th time,) for the cookbook, and I still don't like it. I might just cut that recipe alltogether -- there are enough other desserts in there, I think, to make up for the lack of peanut butter cookies! :)

I am going to be in town for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, and all of my friends (but one, I think,) are going out of town, so I hope to do some major recipe testing that weekend. I'll have to do a "big shop" before hand and plan out what will be tested! Perhaps I can borrow a camera from someone for the weekend so I can make some more interesting posts . . . !?! We'll see.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Midweek Munchies


I get so excited when the local produce starts to hit the co-op . . . !!!

six Wedge bakery burger buns
loaf of Great Harvest Bread Co. multigrain bread

just under a pound of Peace Coffee Sumatra City (fair trade and organic)
3/4 of a pound of organic brown flaxseed

16 ounces cut okra

a couple tablespoons of ground organic ginger

Garden of Eatin' sesame blues chips
15 ounces canned organic black-eyed peas
15 ounces Muir Glen organic no-salt added tomato sauce

1 small bunch organic celery
1 organic cucumber
2 organic bananas
1 organic red grapefruit
1 head organic purple garlic
1 bunch organic kale (local, too!)
1 bunch organic cilantro
8 organic white button mushrooms (local, too!)
2 organic white onions
1 small bunch organic green onions (local, too!)
2 organic green bell peppers
1 clamshell box local cherry tomatoes
1 clamshell box local strawberries

14 ounces House organic firm tofu
half-gallon Organic Valley plain soy milk
4-pack Holy Land whole wheat pita bread

Visit Harmonia for more info on Midweek Munchies.

Monday, June 19, 2006

still more recipes

Up for grabs:

Chickpea Noodle Soup (vegan)

Breakfast Burrito (L/O vegetarian)

EMAIL me if you'd like to test one of them!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

incredibly sparkling clean

Here comes a giant, fabulous, long-winded rave about a cleaning product I just tried!


Christine gave me some of this cleanser in my "organic home- and self-care kit" she made up for me for my birthday present.

This is the best cleanser I've ever used. Period.

It's not smelly, it's not harsh, but boy, does it clean grease and grime and stains like nothing I've ever tried. My kitchen was gross. Dust and stray cat hairs stuck in stuck-on grease gross. There is not a trace of this grime left. Sprinkle, scrub with a 3M green scrubbie, let sit for a couple of minutes, wipe clean with a damp rag. 'Tis all.

Most amazingly, this cleanser removed grease and burned-on food from my stovetop that I believed was permanent!

I can't wait to try this on my bathtub.

Half of the dishes are done, too! Hooray! No cooking will happen tonight, but the kitchen will be roarin' and ready to go for the next day I have time to cook!

I have my first voice lesson tomorrow morning, which is very exciting! (My church choir director offers free voice lessons for us during the summer, if we are interested.) Yay! After that, I have a looooong day ahead of me -- working until 9:30 p.m. This is the last of the screwy weeks for a while, thank golly!

makin' it count!

Since today is my only day off this weekend, I packed as much stuff into it as I could -- gotta make it count, baby!

I've . . .
~ washed and air-dryed two loads of laundry
~ hit the ATM
~ gone shopping with Christine: new clothes from Macy's (petite department,) Ann Taylor Loft (petite department,) and the Gap (one lonely tank top and some undies,) new shoes from DSW (Rocket Dogs!), Burt's Bees shampoo and conditioner, Okabashi flip-flops, and five blank cards from Walgreens, and a stop-browse at the Midtown Global Marketplace! Super-fun. Kai posted on this place awhile ago -- if you're in the area, check it out!

I hope to finish up some cooking projects yet today, and finally tackle the dishes. Wish me luck!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

chilly beans & PIZZA

No, not chili beans . . .

Chilly Beans! I made my first batch of cold-pressed coffee last night, with no real instructions and after a brief amount of internet research.

I poured 8 cups of water into a pitcher and dumped in just under a cup of freshly ground coffee. (I would have liked to have used a whole cup, but that was all the beans I had left. Bummer.) I then stuck the pitcher into the fridge, and went to bed.

This morning, I noticed that some of the grounds were never "wet" -- I guess I should have stirred the coffee grounds into the water. Next time.

Then, I strained the coffee, using two different methods. Method 1: I put a coffee filter into a strainer, and set this over a bowl. This took far too long. Method 2: I poured batches of coffee into my French press and plunged out the grounds, rinsing in-between. This worked better, I think.

Somehow, I got a few loose grounds floating amongst the finished product. My only complaint, though -- otherwise, it's really, really, really good. Smooth, good coffee flavor, and without the "bite" of heat-brewed coffee. I once heard somewhere that cold pressed coffee has half the caffeine and a fourth of the acid of heat-brewed coffee. A good thing for those of us who love our morning coffee, but are trying to cut back on caffeine! (Or for those of us who have more sensitive tummies.)

What do you do if you want a hot cup of coffee? (Say, in January?) Warm up some cold-pressed, in either a small pan on the stove, or (gasp!) in the microwave. I will try this and let you know, too. Just as soon as we have a cooler morning here . . .

Man, global warming is for real. It's WAY too hot for June here! We had no spring this year -- the weather jumped from 50 degrees to 90 degrees in one week. I don't like that at all. We did have a couple of really cool storms yesterday, though -- that was fun. Pea-sized hail and everything! Wee!


Michelle and I went out for pizza last night (I'm sure you've read my raves of Galactic Pizza before,) and had a wonderful time. We were there for over two hours, hanging out, eating pizza, talking, drinking water, splitting a hemp brownie (not vegan,) and meeting a little 16-month-old girl named Sylvia who was there with her family and very interested in sitting and "talking" with us. Could be because we sat at the table in the back corner that's low, with floor cushions. She loved sitting on the pillows, listening to us talk, and then jabbering in her own "two cents." Her parents were really worried for a while that she was bothering us, but it was so fun! She was a little sweetheart. Between Sylvia and the guys that the next table who were sort of talking to us every now and then, plus watching Captain Organica and Galactic Man go in and out with pizza boxes (and come back drenched from the rain storm,) plus laughing at our waiter when he accidentally stepped on our table to reach my water glass (the guys "next door" thought that was hilarious, and we were wary of the "foot spot" for the rest of the night,) plus laughing at Captain Organica when he tried valiantly to wear a raincoat that was just too small for him, (we all laughed, including him,) it was a really fun night. I love places like that, where everyone ends up kind of talking and eating together, where you can have your own conversation with the person you came with, but there's more of a community feel, too. It was lots of fun, don't you agree, Michelle? ;-)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Magic 8-Ball iPod Meme

Thanks to VeganCore for this fun evening distraction after a long workday!

The way it works:
1. Put your iPod on shuffle.
2. Press forward for each question.
3. Use the song title as the answer to the question.

How am I feeling today?
Going Underground (The Jam) (totally feel like finding a dark, cool corner -- completely accurate way to sum up my day!)

Will I get far in life?
Be That Kind (The TV Sound) (not bad advice to live by! Thanks Steve!)

How do my friends see me?
Stacked Actors (Foo Fighters) (is it me or the actors that are stacked?)

When will I get married?
Yesterday (The Beatles) (darn . . . must have missed my chance!)

What is my best friend's theme song?
Trying (Lifehouse) (Marie, what are you trying to do?)

What is the story of my life?
Smile Like You Mean It (The Killers) (HAHAHAHAHA! "Faking it" is a skill I'm learning!)

What was high school like?
Just What I Needed (Sister Hazel) (NOT . . . high school was awful!)

How am I going to get ahead in life?
In Awe Again (Chris Harrington) (well, I am amazed by the simplest things . . . )

What is the best thing about me?
If I Had $1,000,000 (Barenaked Ladies) (so, the best thing about me is that I don't have any money? Keeps me real, I guess.)

How is today going to be?
Pull the Power (The TV Sound) (???)

What is in store for this weekend?
Far Away From My Heart (The BoDeans) (man! That sounds like a bummer weekend.)

What song describes my parents?
It's Only Me (Barenaked Ladies) (interesting . . . )

What song describes your grandparents?
Wonderful (Everclear) (debatable, since my grandpa is on a mission to marry me off, now that my cousin's married . . . )

How is my life going?
Just Drums (Tapes 'n Tapes) (may need a little help from my friend Dan the drummer on this one!)

What song will they play at my funeral?
Look to the Children (Sister Hazel) (appropriate, given that I love Sister Hazel, and my career has been about children so far! Freaky.)

How does the world see me?
Fear of Mimes (Chris Koza) (ha! That's hilarious. I'm not afraid of mimes, but I guess I must look like someone who is!)

Will I have a happy life?
Losing Lisa (Ben Folds) (I must have already lost her, since I don't know anyone named Lisa . . . be on the lookout for me!)

What do my friends really think of me?
Can't Get There From Here (R.E.M.) (guys, am I really that misguided?)

Do people secretly lust after me?
Lovesong (The Cure) (sweet! I must have a secret admirer.)

How can I make myself happy?
I'll Give You Me (Epic Hero) (hm. So being selfless will make me happy in the end. Again, not bad advice from the magic iPod!)

What should I do with my life?
Change Your Mind (Sister Hazel) (so clearly I'm headed in the wrong direction!)

Will I ever have children?
This is Forgery (Dashboard Confessional) (yes, I guess I am a forgerer right now -- I'm pretending to be someone else's children's parent!)

What is some good advice for me?
The Deepest Blues are Black (Foo Fighters) (deep, man.)

What is my signature dancing song?
Alternative Girlfriend (Barenaked Ladies) (I do actually enjoy that song a lot! It's not completely danceable, though. And I no longer own a secondhand futon.)

What do I think my current theme song is?
How (Lisa Loeb) (again, appropriate -- I have these big ideas, but how to get there?)

What does everyone else think my current theme song is?
Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors (Radiohead) (whaa?)

What type of men/women do you like?
Po'Lazarus (James Carter & The Prisoners) (oh, so I have this deep-seeded attraction to lepers that I was unaware of. I see.)

What kind of kisser are you?
Daylight (Coldplay) (I guess I wouldn't mind . . . )

What's your style?
Take Me Out (Franz Ferdinand) (sometimes I do enjoy having others make the decisions, although not all that often!)

What kind of lover are you?
Lonely As You (Foo Fighters) (not going there . . . !)

What would be playing on a first date?
Love Me Do (The Beatles) (very cute!)

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Lies (Joe Firstman) (HAHAHAHAHAHA! So I'll be livin' a lie. Wonderful. I must be really misguided!)

Oh, that was super-funny. Worth a good chuckle and a half! Thanks for the idea, VeganCore!

Five Things

Thanks to Crystal for this fun idea!

5 healthy things in my kitchen:
cannellini beans
organic red grapes
a big head of butter lettuce
whole wheat pastry and bread flours

5 not-so-healthy things in my kitchen :
Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream
soy ice cream
the cookies I made last night (cookbook testing, after all!)
chocolate chips
Hershey's Syrup (hmm . . . can't remember the last time I've used it . . . I bet I should throw that out!)

5 things in my purse/bag:
sunglasses (prescription)
travel-size Burt's Bees Hand Salve

5 things in my car:
two carseats (Little Boy's and Little Girl's)
loads and loads and loads and loads of crumbs (ahem, Little Boy and Little Girl!)
a big stack of directions to different places
a plastic gas can (I once ran out of gas in the middle of Hwy 55, a block and a half away from the gas station, during rush-hour traffic -- no fun!)
half a bottle of transmission fluid (my transmission acts up on occasion . . . )

Anybody else care to join in?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

chop chop!

(This post's title is especially for Michelle.)

I had a haircut today! Hooray! Why am I so excited? Because I haven't had a haircut since DECEMBER. Back then, I had really, really, really, really long hair -- over halfway down my back. Then I got fed up with it, had a gift certificate to a salon one of my student's parents owns, (her name also happens to be Michelle, but a different one from the post's title dedication,) and went in and said, "I'm sick of the long hair -- no bangs, but cut it off!" She ponytailed it because I had enough to donate to Locks of Love, chopped off the ponytail, and gave me a really cute, sophisticated, chin-length cut.

Then I spazzed out. It took me over a month to get used to it.

Then, I just let it grow. And grow, and grow, and grow. Lately, it's been looking like crap to me, although my friends keep telling me that they can't tell I haven't had a haircut in six months. But, what was a really cute short style was a sort of blah shoulder-length style. So I went to Michelle again today, said, "now I want to keep the length, no bangs, but something more interesting," and I have this really cute, feminine, layery-but-not-annoying cut! Hooray for Michelle again!

Unfortunately, her salon is all the heck the way over in Saint Paul -- boo! I'll have to figure out how to take the bus there once I sell my car.

Double bonus, though -- she's the "proprietor of the establishment," so no tipping allowed, and the cut's only thirty bucks! Not a lot to spend on a super-fantastic haircut, if you ask me!

A good hair-cutting person is a must find. I've been living in Minneapolis for nine years, and I've finally found someone! (Insert trumpet fanfare here:) Hallelujah!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Midweek Munchies


Didn't need much produce this week, after last week's extravaganza! Cereal was on the list this week, and I took Kai's advice and decided to try some bulk granolas -- cheaper and less wasteful than cereal from boxes! (And pretty tasty, too!)

1 pound Hemp Plus organic granola
1 1/4 pounds Pumpkin Spice granola
1 pound organic bulgur
1 1/2 pounds organic quinoa

two lemon-olive oil cookies (one for me, one for my shopping assistant, Ann!)

Tofutti Cuties "coffee break" flavor
Turtle Mountain's Purely Decadent Rasbperry a la Mode

L'Estornell organic extra-virgin olive oil
Vogue veggie broth base (it's low-sodium, which is exciting, but I was sad -- I prefer the "Rapunzel" brand, which they only had in the cubes -- no jar! Bah.)

NatraCare organic all-cotton tampons

one organic mango
two organic white peaches
1 1/2 pouns organic red grapes
1 small bunch organic cilantro

1 big carton WholeSoy plain yogurt

Visit Harmonia for more info on Midweek Munchies.

another recipe . . .

I had my recipe for Hoppin' John returned to me because okra was unavailable in this tester's area . . . anyone else interested? Email me if you are! Thanks!

Sunday, June 11, 2006


I made a recipe for a Sweet Potato-Coconut soup last night, that is very, very good. Anyone interested in testing? Email me!

birthday money!

I went to Target yesterday in the hopes of spending my birthday money and the money from selling my air conditioner on some new bathroom accessories and rugs for my apartment. Here's what I got:

New shower curtain:

New bathroom rugs:

New towels (but only the fingertip towels -- I got plain green and plain blue bath towels to avoid "too much stripey"):

New entryway rug:

And for some reason, I can't find a picture of my new kitchen rug. It's a red, pink, green, orange, and yellow rag-style rug -- pretty cute! I also picked up a few other odds and ends, which is what always happens when one goes to Target, right?

I'm off to work today at noon, so you probably won't hear from me again until Monday night or Tuesday night. Wish me luck with the marathon work week!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

MwM -- The Produce Explosion!


Last Friday's shopping was a bit produce-heavy, since I went to the store slightly hungry, and also hadn't had much produce in the house for over a week . . .

half a pound of TVP

one vegan carob almond cookie (consumed on the ride home . . . life IS uncertain . . . !)

16 ounces Cascadian Farm organic Spud Puppies

Garden of Eatin' Sesame Blues chips
one Green & Black's organic dark chocolate bar
one 4-pack of Izze Sparkling Blueberry Juice
six Larabars (two cherry pie, one each of ginger snap, chocolate coconut chew, cashew cookie, and cocoa mole)
one can of organic chickpeas
16 ounces of Bionaturae whole-wheat elbow mac
one 4-pack of Seventh Generation TP

Nature's Gate Herbal Conditioner (they've changed their packaging . . . confused me for a moment!)

Organic Valley soy milk
four WholeSoy yogurts (peach, lemon, cherry, & mixed berry)

three organic cucumbers
one head of organic garlic
one bunch of organic parsley
two bunches of organic green onions
two packages of fresh organic mint (one peppermint, one spearmint)
four organic bananas
two organic Gala apples
one organic Fuerte avocado
one organic mango
three organic lemons
one organic Asian pear
one organic Bartlett pear
a quarter pound of organic red bing cherries
a pound and a quarter of organic asparagus
two heads of organic bibb lettuce
just under a half pound of organic cremini mushrooms
one organic red onion
one organic yellow onion
one small organic red bell pepper
one small organic yellow bell pepper
two organic Yukon Gold potatoes
two conventional yams
ten local, conventional vine-ripened tomatoes
one pound bag organic baby carrots
1 pound organic strawberries
a fourth of an organic watermelon
a package of alfalfa sprouts

Visit Harmonia for more info on Midweek Munchies.

Monday, June 05, 2006

massive amounts of tabouli

This coming Wednesday night, I have our end-of-year church choir potluck to attend. (Geek, geek, geek . . . am I an old lady? Nope. But I enjoy the folks I sing with, and have lots of fun with them!) Since I grew royally sick of washing dishes earlier this evening, I decided to take a break and make the tabouli I planned on taking with me. After Leslie test-drove the recipe for me, I added slightly less lemon juice and a lot more more mint, and also a can of chickpeas. (I also made a double batch.) I didn't have enough bulgur for an entire double-batch, so I used half bulgur and half quinoa. I just sampled it, and it's darn tasty. I love tabouli.

One funny disaster from the cooking process -- aparently I've never rinsed my quinoa before cooking before, because when I rinsed it this time, it all came crashing through the holes in my colander! Bah. I thought I had some cheesecloth around somewhere, which I couldn't find, so I ended up using a dishtowel to line it. There are little uncooked quinoa pellets EVERYWHERE in my kitchen! Sheesh.

I chose to make tabouli for the potluck for a variety of reasons: it's a good outdoor/summer food (not too messy and nice and light,) lots of people like tabouli, and it's pretty much a complete meal, so if there's not much else I can eat, I can fill up on the dish that I brought, which I know is vegan and healthy.

Man, though, a double batch . . . that's a LOT of chopping. Parsley, mint, cucumber, tomato, green onion, garlic . . . thought I'd never get done! It took over an hour to make, but now it's done. ;-) Off to do one more sinkful of dishes before I head to bed!

P.S. -- I have a buyer for my air conditioner already! It only took one day!

The Great Debate: bulk beans versus canned

So, I got home from work tonight and was in the "I'm so hungry I could eat my hand" mood. Familiar with this one? Well, I needed something fast and tasty for dinner, and not soy, since I had soy yogurt with breakfast today and a tofu scramble at about 2:00 this afternoon. (Call it "second lunch." We were at the beach all morning, and all I had for lunch was a peanut butter sandwich, some watermelon, and some canteloupe.) The only leftovers I have right now are tofu-based, so those were out . . . I decided to make a big, green salad and drain and rinse some cannellini beans for the top. Side of guac and chips, and I'm feeling much better now. :)

As I'm eating, I think, "boy, canned beans sure are nice."

See, I haven't bought canned beans in ages. I appreciate them for their convenience -- cooking beans from scratch takes a lot of planning and a lot of time, and sometimes I just don't have the time to do that. This is why I've made the decision to call for canned beans in my cookbook. I realize it's not the best thing, but I figure, I'm attempting to market my cookbook to a wide variety of people -- not just those who cook healthfully already. I think I'd scare off newbies if I told them they had to cook their own beans. (It does take some practice, I've found.) I also figure, foodies who use my cookbook will choose to cook their own beans anyway, so everybody wins, right?

I don't like canned beans because they are mushier and less flavorful than ones I cook myself, and because some brands are very high in sodium (although the brand I buy had no added salt. Awesome!) Also, they are more processed than bulk beans, so they cause more overall waste (although the packaging is fully recyclable.)

Bulk beans taste great and are super eco-friendly, but they are also a hassle. I know you can freeze cooked beans, which I haven't tried doing yet, but since I have such a small fridge and freezer, that's not terribly practical for me right now.


I guess I haven't made up my mind about canned versus bulk beans yet. Any thoughts?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

crazy-busy weekend update + more rambling:

What a weekend . . .

It all started Friday night when I left work and headed straight to the co-op for some grocery shopping. I bought a TON of produce to make up for the lack of produce in my house last week. :) Hooray for fresh, organic fruits and veggies! Then, when I was almost all the way back home, I realized I left my bag of clean laundry at work . . . so I wound back 'round through rush hour traffic to collect my clothes. :) Sheesh.

Saturday, I accomplished very little before dinnertime -- unless you count sleeping, going to Target, reading a magazine, and giving myself a pedicure big accomplishments. :) Ann, Christine, Michelle, Tony, and I went out to celebrate my birthday (finally!) We enjoyed drinks and sandwiches at Brit's Pub in DT Minneapolis, then wandered over to Sebastian Joe's for ice cream. Ann went home at this point because she has a bad cold, and the four of us wandered aimlessly through Uptown, only to discover there was a street beer festival going on . . . we decided to hightail it away from the crazy drunks! We stopped at Cheapo and bought CDs (and Christine bought some records,) and then hung out at Christine's and drank red pop and played Atari! (I swear the Atari gave me crazy nightmares last night! That, or the red pop -- or both. Seriously, this one dream could be made into some crazy sci-fi/thriller type thing!)

Today, I went to church, then Michelle picked me up shortly thereafter to head over to the Edina Art Fair. It was okay -- neither one of us bought anything. It was really sunny and really hot, (thank God for SPF 45 sunblock!), and I got run over by a wheelchair. Seriously. Someone who was pushing someone else literally rammed a wheelchair into my leg! (All they had to do was say "excuse me," and I would have happily gotten out of their way! They didn't even apologize!) It hurt quite a bit. I may have a bruise tomorrow. After we pooped out at the art fair, (it only took an hour and a half, and we ducked into Cook's and a couple other stores along the way to browse and for an A/C hit,) we meandered over to the Megamall (also known as "The Black Hole of Death,") to go to H&M. I tried on lots and lots and lots of tank tops that could have been dresses on me; Michelle laughed. I found one (non-dress) style that fit, so I bought two different colors. THEN, Michelle and I stopped off at her house to see if Ann wanted to join us for dinner; she still felt too crummy to go out. So, we came back over to my neighborhood and had dinner at Salsa a la Salsa -- THE BEST VEGGIE TACOS! Their tortillas are so fresh tasting, and the only cheese is a slight sprinkle of queso fresco atop the black beans I ordered as a side. (My other side was grilled vegetables! Yum, yum, yum!) When I got home, I posted my air conditioner for sale on Craig's List. Here's hoping it sells! I'd sure like to free up that space in my entryway it's currently occupying. ;-)

I made a decision yesterday that I'm not going to move after all, so I need to start thinking about selling my car sometime soon. Once I do a "big purge" and take stuff out to Michelle's friend Trudy's house for her summer garage sale, I think it will be time to say bye-bye to my gas-guzzling ghetto cruiser. I need to get an old lady shopping cart on wheels (which will double as laundry-to-work transportation,) and will use the car selling proceeds to buy a great, new bike! I'm looking forward to being freed from my rust-bucket burden. :)

Hope everyone else had great weekends, but I hope you had more time to relax than me!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

my version of a tofu scramble!

I wish I had a camera! I just made the best tofu scramble for breakfast -- yukon gold potato, red onion, garlic (of course,) cremini mushroom, asparagus, yellow bell pepper, fresh tomato, and some "secret spices." It's sooooo tasty!

Fortunately I took notes, so this one's going in the cookbook!

Friday, June 02, 2006

dinner tonight

Barbecued tofu, organic spud puppies, and a giant salad of bibb lettuce, cucumber, tomato, balsamic vinegar, and EV olive oil.


It's still too hot to turn on the oven for the spud puppies, but I did it anyway . . . SO worth it!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

rumble grumble, rumble grumble.

My kitty was kind enough to wake me up at 6:30 a.m. this morning by puking all over the living room floor. Once I got up and cleaned it up, it was useless trying to go back to bed. Grumble, grumble, grumble, rumble, grumble.

So, what to do with all of this extra time? Why, update my links, of course. I've been meaning to alphabetize them for eons now, so now it's done. :)

I may have a chance to finish washing the dishes I left last night, too. Thanks, Oliver.