Monthly Archives: May 2010

Memorial Day

Memorial day is a time to reflect on the freedoms that we so often take for granted in this country, and the men and women who have fought so valiantly to protect our freedom.  How can you thank someone who gives the ultimate sacrifice of a life?  How do you relate to  the parents who now grieve for a child lost to war, or those who come home to less than warm welcomes like the Vietnam vets faced?  When Tommy died I thought his parents would never recover and in some ways they never have.  There is a sadness in their eyes and even laughter is tinged with grief.   But life does go on no matter what and we can choose to rejoin life after tragedy or sink into our sorrow.   I hope that all who have lost a loved one to war choose life to honor those who gave their own.

On a more cheerful note we wound up our week of vacation with a barbeque at home.  We started with chips and salsa to snack on of course.  Then, instead of some faux meat product on the grill I made a packet meal of fresh veggies and seasonings that steamed in a wonderfully seasoned sauce for 25 minutes on the grill.  With it we had salad of fresh greens from the garden, spiced blueberry pomegranate mocktails and peanut butter ice cream.  Eaten in the sunshine in this great country of ours it was truly a meal to honor all that is good!  Details, details…

Food Should Taste Good – The Works Chips plus Apple Salsa (this stuff has a kick in spite of the sweet apples) from Smiley’s Red Barn

The salsa is thick and chunky and packs a punch.  It’s always worth a trip out to Smiley’s when we’re in Oregon to pick some of this stuff up along with all their other goodies!

Sweet potatoes, red bell pepper, green beans, golden raisins and a splash of sesame oil.  So colorful and loaded with vitamins.

Packets stuffed with the veggie mix, lentils and a sauce of veggie broth, garlic and a dash of curry powder already to grill.  How easy is that?

Served up with mango chutney…zippy and sweet and oh so pretty

Salad…could those greens be any fresher???  I think not!

A beautiful mocktail made from spiced chai tea, lemon juice, and blueberry pomegranate juice.  So refreshing!

And finally peanut butter ice cream…such simple ingredients, soy milk, peanut butter, brown sugar, and vanilla.  Heating the milk and peanut butter and sugar and whisking with my new whisk…

Chilled and into the freezer it goes

Let the magic begin

Crushed peanut butter filled pretzels stirred in at the end then packed up to firm up in the freezer

Ahhhhh, dessert!

Creamy, smooth, an added salty crunch, oh decadence!

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A Day of Shopping

What a beautiful weekend this has been and still there’s Monday to look forward to before it’s back to work.  We set off today without much of an agenda which always seem to turn into the best days.  After a stop at Jamba Juice for a fruit smoothie (btw, they have quite a few vegan choices) we walked down to the local Farmer’s Market.  I had brought along my Vegetarian Times and decided on a couple of recipes this morning so I had an idea of what to get.  There was a used book booth out there this morning and the gentleman manning it told us he had just taken ownership of a storefront very close to my house where he would soon be opening his store.  I loved used book stores and he had some great gardening and cookbooks in his inventory.  I saw the Betty Crocker Children’s Cookbook that we used when we were kids.  I’ll bet my mom still has it in her cupboard, it sure brought back memories of my beginning cooking and baking endeavors.  After picking up some stunning produce and granola from a little bakery stand (they had some awesome looking vegan brownies there today but I restrained myself) we went back to the house.  The day was so sunny and warm and we spent the next hour or two cleaning up the front planters…lots of dead-heading and weeding to do.  I pulled out a couple of daisy plants that were looking a little worse for wear and moved my birthday rose to a better spot, I hope it survives the transplant.  We were hungry and D. had a sandwich in mind so it was off to the Corner Bakery, I love their Black Current Iced Tea.  A stop at World Market to get some peanut butter pretzels for the peanut butter ice cream I have planned, was right on the way home.  Of course one doesn’t go into World Market and only come out with one item.  I found a whisk to use with my non-stick cookware, and some darling mini-cupcake papers, as well as a new artisan iced tea and some interesting looking sodas from Australia and the mango chutney I need for one of my recipes.  All in all a good trip.  One more stop to pick up peanut butter and soy milk for the ice cream…this is the first of my ice cream experiments.  I really wanted to make fig ice cream but the farmer’s market didn’t have any fresh figs perhaps later in June they will and I can try it then.  Figs are just coming into season, I know my CSA has fig trees perhaps I can request some.  Anyway the ice cream tonight will be peanut butter with peanut butter filled pretzels crushed up and stirred in at the last-minute.  The mix is chillin’ in the fridge as we speak and will make a perfect ending to a perfect day!

Farmer’s market bounty…can’t wait until I can pick half of this stuff in my own backyard

World Market treasures, plus a bonus reusable bag because I spent more than $10

Ice cream fixin’s, the only other ingredients for this batch are brown sugar and vanilla…simple pleasures, I’ll tell ya!

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Soap

Before I went back to school I used to be a prolific soap-maker.  I used the cold-process method and my lye of choice was Red Devil drain cleaner that I bought at the hardware store.  Traditional cold-process soap uses a base of lard but to keep it vegan I used an olive and coconut oil base, with the coconut being the solid fat.  There is something so therapeutic about stirring a batch of soap until it saponifies, it’s kind of like kneading bread, another activity I find therapeutic.  I remember when I was first diagnosed with cancer and I had a little meltdown of sorts and sat in front of the T.V.  stirring a pot of soap and watching The Shop Around the Corner and other old movies and boohooing through all of them.  It was quite a nice pity party and when I was done I had a fabulous batch of soap.  I haven’t done much in the way of soapmaking for a couple of years and I’m actually down to my last few bars in my tub ‘o soap so it’s time to pull out all my equipment and get to making another batch.  I need to freshen my supply of fragrance oils since mine are old and have lost a lot of their oomph.  Soapcrafters.com was one of my favorite suppliers of all things soap so I’ll have to check out their site again and see what new scents they have.  One time after I had just cut up a batch into bars and the lye was still fresh I accidently popped a sliver of soap into my mouth thinking it was a little shredded cheese left over from pizza making…suffice it to say uncured lye soap, even a sliver, can burn!  Teach me to pop unknowns into my mouth, you’d think, but I won’t tell you about the slug I thought was an olive, or the cat food I thought was cookie dough…or DOH! should I say?

The last two bars

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Back in LA

After an awesome week in NYC we arrived home this afternoon.  The kitties were glad to see me and it was nice to have a little fur-fur to pet.  My garden is growing by leaps and bounds so I’m assuming R. took good care of things while I was gone.  five days away seemed much longer…I think because we crammed so much into every day.  The first thing I did when I got home was pull out my Vegan Scoop cookbook.  After eating at Lulu’s I decided I needed to perfect my vegan ice cream making this summer.  My goal is to try at least two recipes a week (I like setting goals otherwise I tend to put things off, recall the term paper!).  Will my waistline suffer from this much experimentation???  Perhaps, but I am willing in the name of all that is delicious to make that sacrifice.  And since I’m training for the Avon Walk in September I need to keep those calories coming…Really, I read that somewhere.  On the Internet I think, and you know anything published on the Internets is true!  I plan to add some photos to my last few posts, it wasn’t possible while I was blogging on my phone and taking photos with my camera.  It’s off to unpack, laundry, pet the furries, feed my favorite bun-bun and then myself!

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I Love the Subway

We spent all day running uptown and downtown on the subway. I wanted a University T-shirt and forgot to get it when we were down there on Tuesday, so off we went. While we were on the area we went and looked at all the 911 memorial stuff, it can still bring you to tears. Then it was back uptown to wander through the Natural History museum. I got free tickets for my perfect GPA, yahoo! Then back on the subway to the seaport area shoppingdowm by Battery Park. A little disappointed with that, all the usual mall type stuff you can get anywhere. Since we were down inthe area we went and saw Sex and the City 2, I have to say that was a little disappointing too. Back on the subway to eat at Uncle Nick’s. And I forgot to mention it was pouring rain
when we came out of the movie. Just another NY adventure.

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Why I Came to NYC

Sure I came here for my graduation with the cap and gown and pomp and circumstance and all, but my secret reason for visiting the Big Apple was to eat the ice cream at Lulu’s. My sweetie was good enough to indulge my wishes after commencement today. We rode the Staten Island ferry just for the fun of it and then treked almost three miles in sticky humid weather, through China Town, and a few not so friendly looking neighborhoods just to allow me to enjoy a frozen vegan treat. He made me promise we could take the subway back to the hotel, so I indulged him! I got a scoop of lemon of course, D. got orange dreamsicle then…I got a cakebatter softserve in a waffle cone to go…don’t judge, it was hot..

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Doing the Big Apple

More walking and our first subway adventure. We managed to get from our hotel to the college for the luncheon. I was surprised to find out that I received an award for a perfect GPA, not only that I’m graduating with Latin honors, summa cum laude, who knew?? Afterwards we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. My camera battery died while we were out so I missed some photo-ops, whoops! Lunch had some awesome rolls, a tasty little salad, and the standard chicken and fish that they serve at these functions. But it really wasn’t about the food then was it??

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