Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Dinner in waiting, plus cuteness!

Dan and I had a great time wandering around the Minneapolis Institute of Arts this afternoon (I hadn't been since they added the new wing, and he hadn't been in years,) and then he had to leave for BAND PRACTICE. (Boo.) However, he is coming back later to have dinner with me, so I've been cooking up a storm. (That's nothing new, right?)

First, miso soup:
Carrot, onion, red pepper, vegetable broth, miso (obviously,) mushrooms, spinach, green onion, plenty of ginger, buckwheat soba noodles, and a little cubed tofu. MMMMMMMMMMM. This is currently sitting quietly on my stove, waiting to be devoured. Let's hope band practice doesn't take too terribly long, or I might not be able to wait!

Next, spring rolls:
Rice noodles, green onion, bean sprouts, cucumber, carrot, red pepper, and cilantro. And my "secret peanut dipping sauce," consisting of peanut butter, tamari, toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar, and ginger. Boy, am I getting hungry. (Even though I just ate a spring roll to tide me over!)

And, although these are not part of our dinner, aren't these two little clementines the cutest thing ever?
The checkout guy at the Wedge and I had a conversation about how cute the clementines were, since they all had their little stems and leaves still attached, and then he yelped, "oh lookit -- these two are still attached to each other!!!" I never thought I'd get to a point in my life where I thought food was cute! Oh well.

It's been a good day. :) (And it's not even over yet!)

Oatmeal, tofu, kitty, and SHOES. (Yes, shoes again!)

I am so bummed that I am only able to post once or twice a week these days! Alas. Anyhow, food this week has been pathetic at best -- I am in dire need of a trip to the co-op (headed there later this morning,) and have been surviving mostly on cereal, PBJ, pasta, and other assorted "fast" foods. I did manage to do a little cooking and photo snapping this week, however. Here goes!

This is really bizzarre oatmeal that I made for breakfast this morning. It's purple from lots of frozen blueberries, with a few other yummy ingredients mixed in. Yummers.

No matter how busy I get, I still manage to make time to scramble some tofu. Double-yummers.

Here is my "close by but not touching" kitty being weird. Yes, he is actually laying on my arm! This is the closest thing he has ever done to cuddling with me! (He barely tolerates being scratched atop his head, and will allow me to pick him up, oh, maybe once a month or so.) I was so freaked out by this display of feline affection, I had to snap a picture of it!

And . . . NEW SHOES. I really don't have a lot of money right now, and can't really afford new shoes, but was having problems standing 8+ hours a day on my current footwear (especially since we can't wear sneakers at work. I had one pair of shoes that sort of worked.) I went shoe shopping on my lunch break yesterday, and bought these Merrells! I can't tell you how pleased I have been with Merrells in the past, and these do not disappoint. I think Merrell is an awesome company, especially since they design shoes for women to meet the specific needs of a woman's stride and foot placement. While the pair of shoes I purchased is not vegan (sigh,) they have many vegan options on their website! Hooray for Merrell! No more knee pain for Catherine!

Off to get dressed and start my day. Today is my "Saturday," so Dan and I are doing something later. Hopefully, we'll have plenty of time to make a fun dinner tonight, because I have a GREAT idea!! Photos to come . . . !!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

job-tastic, yam-tastic, cat-in-a-box, plus one!

Again, it has been a busy week in the life of a food snob. Yesterday was day 6 of a 6-day work stretch. I love, love, love my job -- I love being surrounded by people who love food as much as I do all day long, I've always loved working retail, and my boss has been pretty cool about giving me as many hours as I'd like for December and into January. We've been selling a lot of pie plates, roasting pans, and digital probe thermometers this week -- everyone's stocking up for Thanksgiving cooking, methinks! I have received many compliments on my job performance so far, including several managers and the owner of the store. I also have mostly been trapped behind the register, and my drawer's never been off by more than a penny or two. Am I that anal retentive? Maybe. Is it silly that I like working retail so much? Maybe. I've already talked to my boss about long-term employment with them, and they are very interested in keeping me around 32 hours a week, after January, if I'm interested. I have to think about this one, because it's just not enough hours/income for me to be able to stay in my apartment. I have simplified my life quite a bit over the past year or so, and think that I am just about at the end of being able to cut expenses. I'm going to have to generate more income somehow -- maybe babysitting? Who knows. I do still want time to work on my cookbook as well, so those 32 hours are starting to sound really attractive. I'll keep you posted.

I haven't been cooking much this week, but I do have one glorious food photo for you!
Sweet Potato Fries! (Or, more accurately, Yam Fries!) Vegenaise on the side there for dipping fabulousness.

I also have a Cat-in-a-Box:

And, one other piece of news: although I have been a party of one for over four years now, I have very recently (within the last week) added a "plus one" to my life! Remember mention of my friend Dan? Well, we finally made a little progress into relationship-land. Because this is the internet, I am going to be as vague as humanly possible, but suffice to say, I'm happy & he's happy, I think. :)

Oh yes, and despite this news, I will continue to work on "Party of One" as if nothing has changed. My mission to feed the single folks of the world well has not been dampered one bit!

Happy Tofurkey Day, everyone!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


I must preface this post with the following comment: I am generally quite the "tough girl," and have handled, with my bare hands, without feeling squeamish, worms, slugs, caterpillars (one actually pooped in my hand), butterflies, other insects (both dead and alive), honeybees, turtles, frogs, salamanders, a snake, chickens, and all manner of other animals during my time teaching at the nature center.

Now, I have a confession to make:

I have an irrational fear of squirrels. Now, we're not talking a fear of clinical-phobia proportions, but I really, really, really do not like squirrels. Not even a little bit. (I think it's their twitchiness that bothers me the most. They just give me the creeps.) When squirrels come too close to me, I usually squeak and hide behind my friends, if I'm lucky enough to be with someone! I am freaked out by places like the park by my house and the University of Minnesota campus where people feed squirrels, and they are, consequently, very adventurous.


Anyhow, I had to show you this postcard that my friend Marie sent to me a couple of years ago (we both thought it was funny!):
In case you can't read the text, it says, "Squirrel attacks averted by nature! Walking in the woods, we barely notice them, the squirrels. But with their superior speed, balance, and brutally sharp teeth, an organized group of squirrels could dispatch and kill a human with alarming speed. A quick dart of fur, a nip on the Achilles tendon, and down we'd go. Then the swarm of squirrels, bushy tails flying, ferociously attacking and assaulting neck, thighs, and other vulnerable sights. Within minutes, even strong men would be mortally disabled. Thankfully, squirrels are not very intelligent and they have very short attention spans. So far, they are incapable of organizing themselves into this kind of a formidable assault group. Today we are safe. Thank goodness."


Imagine my surprise when Christine asked me the other day, "do you guys have a squirrel cookie cutter at work?" I looked and, sure enough, we did:
I guess the kids in her class at work are obsessed with squirrels right now, and she wants to make squirrel cookies with them. [double shudder.] I have to run over tonight and drop off the cookie cutter on my way to choir rehearsal.

Here's hoping none of those squirrel cookies make it over to my house, eh? :)

Anyone else have any irrational fears they need to divulge?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Oliver in the sky with diamonds . . . and food.

A high kitty:
(The catnip came out of the bag kind of fast . . . I don't think my boy minded a bit!)

Now, on to the food!

An immune system booster type blueberry and OJ smoothie with a couple of other "secret" ingredients:

My vegan lunchbox for work today: black-eyed peas, one and a half corn muffins, grapes, and a cookie!

Breakfast of champions . . . a leaning tower of leftover tofu pad thai:
(This came from True Thai, which is located on 27th and Franklin in Minneapolis -- rated best Thai in the city! Michelle and I ate there last night for a fun weekend treat . . . truly, some fabulous thai food!)

I can't seem to get enough squash this fall:

AND, there's hummus among us!

Hope everyone had wonderful weekends!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Friday Night Baking Project

Corn muffins (they are quite dark due to the whole wheat pastry flour and the local honey that I used,) to go with . . .

Chili for dinner! My freezer is my very best friend during busy times. And yes, that is an avocado bowl on the side -- dribbled with balsamic vinegar and sprinkled with kosher salt. (I really ate the entire avocado, but the first half went down while I was waiting for the muffins to finish baking!) And I did eat two muffins, too -- I figured I was allowed a somewhat fat-filled, stuffed-full type of dinner, since I seem to have mysteriously lost three pounds since I weighed myself last . . . !

Happy weekend, everyone! I have no plans thusfar, and hope to rest and relax and de-germ!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

ch-ch-ch-changes . . .

Ah, will my life ever settle down? I guess not -- at least not right now! There has been lots and lots of drama with my day job, which has led to my giving my two-week notice yesterday (my last day teaching will be the day before Thanksgiving.) Essentially, this resignation has very little to do with me -- there was a huge miscommunication between HR and my supervisors regarding my availability, which required me to resign. (Essentially, HR offered me the hours 8 - 4:30, and my supervisors suddenly expected me to be on call/available from 6:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. five days a week. Second job = not a possibility! I can't support myself on what they pay me, so, I was forced to resign.) I've discovered over these past few weeks that the organization was not a place I was interested in working for anyway, so it's back to the job hunt. (And I can fill in with retail hours until I find something permanent.) I'll keep you posted!

And now, on to the food . . . !

1. I did manage to make chocolate chip cookies last Sunday night . . . only, at the last second, I decided to make oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies! Yum. These are definitely going in the cookbook, and will be tested by Carrie, my vegan coworker. (She's excited!)
And, a close-up:

2. Possibly a sign that I am too busy? Dinner one night earlier this week:

3. Sauteed mushrooms . . . yum! (Olive oil, garlic, dried fines herbs, salt, and a splash of balsamic vinegar):

And that, friends, has been the extent of my cooking so far this week! Pathetic. Sheesh.

I'm actually home sick from work today (high fever last night that has been coming down since I woke up this morning -- ah, the power of 12 hours of sleep!), so back to the couch I go. Happy Thursday, everyone!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

hello . . . whew!

What a week . . . and it starts all over again tomorrow! This whole working a couple of nights plus days, six days a week thing is exhausting! I love the retail job lots -- just a wonderful, wonderful company to work for. They are so flexible and just superb people to work for. And wowzers . . . over 12,000 products that I need to learn all about! Big learning curve with this one. I am so excited to learn more and more about high-end kitchenwares, you can't even begin to imagine! I wish I could work my part-time job full-time. (Lack of adequate pay and benefits are two major hang-ups with that one. Bah.)

The only exciting food news I have to report this week is that I found whole wheat gnocchi at the co-op! They were very good, although I overcooked them slightly. I have been packing lots and lots of meals lately -- I eat breakfast and lunch "on the go" every day, plus dinner on working nights. Other nights, I'm so busy either running off to church choir rehearsal or getting stuff done, I don't have that much time to cook these days. I hate that! I hope to have enough energy left when I get home tomorrow night to make some chocolate chip cookies . . . because I'm fresh out of dessert! (Now you know where my priorities are, right?) ;-) I have a feeling my food these next couple of months will consist of a lot of soup, pasta, beans & rice, sloppy lentils, salads, and sandwiches. I may rely a little heavier on convenience foods than I'd usually prefer -- boo! Oh well.

I'll try to take pictures of a few "vegan lunchboxes" next week, just so I have something to show you! Hope everyone had wonderful weeks, and know that I'd love to be getting around to your blog, but time is tight these days. (I'm going to try and get better about eating in front of a computer at work, so hopefully I can slowly make the blog rounds over the course of the week!)