Friday, July 27, 2007





Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tasty Delicious pt. II

First, thank you to everyone for your encouraging comments regarding my last post. I'm sure I've written about this quote from Helen Keller before, but it is always worth repeating:

"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do."

Enough on this topic for now . . .

. . . because I need to move on to Tasty Delicious pt. II!

Peanut-Tamarind Sweet Potato Curry (from Vegetarian Times):
This was supposed to be a simple curry of sweet potatoes and a rich, complex sauce, but since the one sweet potato I had purchased for the curry had begun to, um, decompose at parts, (damn heat!), I decided to supplement with cooked chickpeas and green peas. (P.S. A first for using tamarind paste in my kitchen! Yum.)

Deep-Dish Polenta Pizza (from Real Simple):
This recipe originally called for radicchio as one of the toppings; alas, the Wedge did not have any the last time I went shopping. I subbed thin ribbons of local, organic, dinosaur kale . . . with delicious results! This really reminds me nothing of pizza, but it's tasty delicious, nonetheless. (The "pizza" also includes diced, smoked mozzarella, and sun-dried tomatoes.)

Custard Pie (from the Betty Crocker Cookbook, using a prepared, wholegrain, frozen crust):
Custard pie is food of my early childhood. My dad used to make custard pies, (also sour-cream raisin pies) for my great-grandma for family holiday get-togethers. I wanted to bake on Sunday night, but didn't have much in the house to work with. (I also wasn't feelin' anything chocolatey . . . imagine!) Frozen piecrust, eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, and nutmeg . . . I had all of those things, though! I learned my lesson with custard pies, however -- don't use a prepared crust in a disposeable, aluminum pie plate. Why? Because when you pull the pie out of the oven, the hot custard is wobbly and bendy . . . and the pie will bend in half, fall out of your hands, and hit the floor! Fortunately, the pie hit the floor face-up, so it is still edible, although majorly mangled. (This piece pictured above was the only one left photogenic, in the end!) Sometimes, you just have to laugh at yourself. :)

A Really Big Salad:
It's disgustingly hot and humid right now . . . what can I say? (I also can't seem to get enough greens lately . . . maybe my iron's low, or they're just in season and look irresistable? I bought two big bunches of local spinach, one big head of local red lettuce, and one big bunch of local dinosaur kale the last time I went grocery shopping. Munch, munch, munch.)

Enchilada Lasagna:
This recipe started as Corn, Black Bean, and Zucchini Enchiladas (from Cooking Light,) but in the end, I decided I was going to layer everything in a baking dish, instead of trying to roll up enchiladas. (I have had whomper issues with tortillas cracking and splitting when trying to make enchiladas in the past.) Verdict? FABULOUS!!! I made a whole 9X13 pan's worth, but split the recipe into two 9-inch pans, so I have some now, and some in the freezer for later.

And, thus ends Tasty Delicious -- at least until the heat and humidity go down. Leftovers and salads for the next week or so!

P.S. I finished "Hope's Edge" today . . . very, very good. I would like to purchase a copy someday, because many of the recipes in the book look absolutely irresistable. One more to add to the list!

Monday, July 23, 2007

energy, diet, carbon footprint, ranting, oh my!

I just took the Minnesota Energy Challenge, and am feeling a little bit frustrated. It allows you to calculate your carbon footprint based on a limiting number of checkboxes, which assumes you own both a car and an air conditioner. Also, nowhere in the challenge did it mention eating vegetarian meals as a way to reduce your carbon footprint! This frustrates me.

Vicki over at Vegan Vice just posted about this same topic. Why, when most people consider what they can do to help the environment, do they think compact fluorescent lightbulbs and driving less, and refuse to consider their food choices? Not that choosing compact fluorescent lightbulbs and driving less don't help . . . it's just that folks ignore the single most important thing they can do -- eat a vegetarian (or mostly vegetarian) diet!

And really, in the end, it's not that hard. My blog, and countless others, are proof that you can eat healthy and well enjoying mostly plants!

I could keep ranting about this, but my thoughts are a little disorganized right now. Instead, I encourage everyone to go and calculate their own ecological footprints using a device that allows you to include your dietary decisions in determining your carbon footprint.

Here's the thing:

I recycle, buy as many locally produced foods and products as I'm able, live in a small apartment with energy efficient lightbulbs and the works, purchase products that are manufactured in a sustainable way, create a minimum amount of waste, eat a vegetarian diet, buy local as much as I can, ride my bicycle and use public transportation, and many other things.

Still, according to the results of my ecological footprint quiz, if everyone lived like me, we would need almost two earths to accomodate everyone!

Sometimes, I want to throw in the towel.

Instead, I'm going to go check out a new website I just discovered. They have a function that allows you to minimize the amount of junk mail you receive! Off to learn more.

P.S. I want to read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle," by Barbara Kingsolver. (I also want to read the new Harry Potter, but that's unrelated . . . I can't wait until my property tax return shows up! Money for books and a few other things I've been waiting for!!)

Friday, July 20, 2007


("Tasty Delicious" is a phrase we've been using at the store lately . . . it is redundant, but oftentimes, appropriate!)

Beans and Rice:
I never use a recipe, so my beans and rice is never exactly the same, but it always hits the spot.

I received this rhubarb pie as a thank-you gift from one of my coworkers for picking up a shift for him very last minute. (He and his partner are buying a house, and they had emergency last-minute paperwork to fill out!) See how pretty:
The only bad part about the pie was that, due to the warmer weather, I lost three pieces to "the fuzz." A major bummer. (I suppose it was a sign that I didn't need to eat an entire pie by myself?)

Tomato and Parmesan Strata:
This recipe was pretty good -- not stellar, but pretty good. If I made it again, I would probably use sandwich bread, per the recipe's suggestion, as opposed to the week-old homemade bread that I used . . . the strata was far too bready for my tastes. The other flavors were spot-on, however, so I'll just have to play with the texture.

Barbecued Seitan:
A recipe from VT that I altered slightly and served with coleslaw, local sweet corn, and juicy, red watermelon, to appease Dan, who has been hinting off and on how much he'd like some vegetarian barbecue and sweet corn. (He ate this exact meal two days in a row!)

And lastly, Millet-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms:
Believe it or not, this is the first time that I've enjoyed eating millet! Combined with garlic, green onions, sun-dried tomatoes, and parmesan cheese, it made a delightfully rich, slightly crunchy yet slightly creamy, filling for one of my all-time favorite fungi. Kale on the side.

More to come in a couple of days . . . .

Saturday, July 14, 2007

sushi (again)

I've discovered that sushi is a great way to use up produce remnants! Lately, I've kept sushi rice, nori, sushi vinegar, and wasabi on hand as staples, and have been enjoying homemade veggie sushi on a somewhat regular basis. Dinner the other night (pictured in leftover form at lunch the next day):
Sushi (using half a leftover red bell pepper and some broccoli stalk,) and miso soup (using about six leftover button mushrooms, a couple big handfulls of remaining spinach, half a package of leftover tofu, and half a leftover onion.)

If only there was a way to make sushi with brown rice . . . anybody have suggestions on this front?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

busy in the kitchen

Maple-Cinnamon Granola (with flax and sesame seeds):

Udon noodles with stir-fried tofu, red peppers, pea pods, green cabbage, and broccoli, seasoned with tamari, toasted sesame oil, and rice vinegar, and garnished with sesame seeds:

No-knead bread:

Raspberry-ginger iced tea:

Black bean and walnut burger (from VT,) topped with avocado and salsa, and watermelon and coleslaw (with apples and raisins) on the side:

Dark chocolate chunk and walnut cookies (vegan, lower sugar, and whole grain, to boot!):

Pizza (homemade half wholegrain crust, a light layer of tomato sauce, mushrooms, spinach, red onion, garlic, roasted red peppers, kalamata olives, mozzarella, and feta):

Not pictured: a baked sweet potato topped with black beans, salsa, broccoli, and mozzarella cheese, and a simple pasta and salad dinner.

In non-food news, I'm very happy it is no longer 100 degrees in MN. I can't guarantee the more comfortable weather will last, but I'm enjoying it for the time being. :)

Segue . . .

THE GREAT SUSHI DISASTER OF 2007: Friday, Dan and I both had the day off, and since it was hotter 'n' heck and very sunny, we decided to head to the beach. We stopped at the Wedge on our way to pick up lunch. I picked out a salad, some crackers, and a Naked juice, and Dan grabbed some sushi from the prepared food section. We paid, packed everything in my drawstring bag, and drove off to the beach. When we parked, I opened the back door to get out our bags . . . and my drawstring bag toppled to the ground! Dan's sushi landed open and face-down in a puddle in the gutter. The look on his face . . . you'd have thought someone had murdered his puppy! In the end, we split my lunch, hung out for a shorter period of time, and ate when we got back to my house. Poor Dan's sushi! (And poor, disappointed Dan!)

And, job news:

I have two interviews for teaching jobs this week. Wish me luck!

Friday, July 06, 2007


Ever seen that movie "Almost Famous?" Well, "Stillwater" is the name of the fictional band in that movie, and I can't help but think of that movie every time someone mentions the town Stillwater, MN.

Speaking of Stillwater, Dan and I went there for the 4th of July -- one of the littler bands he plays in was supposed to play a house party there, but they ended up cancelling -- I guess the neighbors weren't too interested in outdoor rock 'n' roll. (Alas.) So, we just ended up bumming around downtown Stillwater -- poking in shops, dodging the crowds, (it's a VERY popular tourist destination, especially on holidays!), and grabbing some dinner.

We went into a kitchenwares store that I thought was very similar to the one at which I currently work . . . this store had lots and lots and lots and lots of stuff, (we're talking, overflowing gadget bins to the ceiling, probably fifty different styles of teapots, a whole back room of tabletop, etc.) but a very limited selection of cookware, and almost no cutlery. How can you cook without decent pots, pans, and knives??

We also browsed briefly in a local used bookstore -- they had a whole room of old maps, globes, and atlases, which were right up Dan's alley, and I, of course, beelined for the cookbooks. They had a whole shelf of vegetarian cookbooks -- wahoo! Didn't buy anything, but I certainly could have. :)

We had dinner at a local ice cream/grill type place -- very cheap, very tasty, and very quick. I had a grilled cheese and tomato, onion rings, and a root beer float. (And a stomachache later . . . I don't usually eat like that!) Mmmm . . . tasty. Can't remember the last time I've had a root beer float!

I didn't take too many pictures -- I was too busy having too much fun! It was a beautiful day, though:

The bridge over the river, to Wisconsin:
(We debated "just walking over to Wisconsin," but in the end, decided to wait until next time.) :)

I should have taken pictures of all of the boats out on the river, waiting for the fireworks to start, but there were so many people, I couldn't get a decent shot!

In the end, we grew tired of the crowds, and just tired in general, so we drove back to the city long before the fireworks started. (I did catch glimpses of a few displays from the freeway, however.) Hope everyone else had a happy Independence Day!