Archive for the ‘May 2010’ Category

Texas–Just a Few Weeks Away

May 30, 2010

Peony I 'Borrowed' From My Neighbors

I spent last weekend in Columbus, GA, being reunited with my sweetie.  After 62 days of Army training, he was sleep-deprived and food-deprived, probably with some minor malnutrition.  To ensure I had something to eat and to encourage healthy snacking for him, I came loaded with Bolthouse Farms smoothies, hummus, carrots, Newman’s Own cereal, almond milk, blue chips, salsa, bananas, figs, Lara bars, and Happy Vegan chocolate chip cookies.  Since his fridge was empty and he was hungry every hour, this was a wise decision.  We spent Friday with our respective families and several of his good friends, celebrating his graduation and giving tours of the base, before being left to our own devices.

The remainder of the weekend we regrouped and enjoyed a bit of calm before our big move to Texas and the official cutting of the apron strings.  We went to Atlanta for a night and toured the Aquarium.  We’d last visited the Aquarium in 2005, right after it first opened, and, disappointingly, not much seemed to have changed other than the original 4 whale sharks and belugas had all gone belly-up and been replaced.  I still find it dark and cynical that both McCormick & Schmick’s and Legal Sea Foods are located right around the corner.

My husband felt he really really needed to try a Double Bypass Burger from The Vortex in Little 5 Points, so I indulged him and ate some of his tater tots.  The waitroids thought they were hysterical when they brought the burger and put it in front of me and tried to give my husband my half salad and bowl of Treehugger Chili.  We love The Vortex for it’s atmosphere, the fact that children under 18 are not allowed, and the extensive food options both of us can enjoy.  I love the fact that I can get any of the gourmet burgers with a veggie burger and one day, I WILL try the Elvis, which is topped with banana and peanut butter.

My husband liked his cookies so much, he asked me to bake more and shared them with his friends the Martins, who have 4 young kids.  It made my heart swell with pride when we watched the 3 year old twins eat some cookies and my husband said he wished he had saved more for himself.  We watched multiple movies, ran errands, and my husband made me an interesting stir fry with Szechuan vegetables, brussel sprouts, Salsa Lizano, Srichacha chili sauce, and red pepper.  I accompanied this with roasted asparagus and red bell pepper, and stir fried tofu marinated in ketchup and soy sauce.  Oddly enough, it was a delicious meal.

I left my husband and spent my last day before my 10 hour drive back to VA with my little brother and parents.  I had shared some of the original batch of cookies with my bro and now HE wanted some more.  These are so easy and so tasty, I could only comply. 

Now, I’m back in Fredericksburg, surrounded by boxes and actually enjoying making meals from the leftovers in my freezer.  Yesterday I had a bowl of frozen spinach with an apple and peanut butter.  Today, an Amy’s frozen meal with grapes and mango. 

I’m avoiding the roads, the traffic, and the tourists downtown and instead focusing on planning 2 successive roadtrips out to Texas to find somewhere to live and then move all my household goods.  We hope to be Texas residents by 14 June.  And if I hear one more joke about how I’m going to have to get used to eating baked beans while everyone else has barbecue….

'Joy of Vegan Baking' Chocolate Cake Recipe With Blueberries


Still Eatin’ Down the Kitchen

May 14, 2010

Which means no grand new pictures of food, sorry.  But I did finally get to use my crinkle cutter!  Don’t you have something I can crinkle cut for you, huh huh huh???  (Thank you BFF Kat!)  Here we have a butternut squash which I turned into some tasty fries, using an herb mixture out of The Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health.  Yesterday, I used the other half of the squash to make a version of The Vegan Table‘s Oven Baked French Fried Yams.  You can read Chay’s review here.  As far as I’m concerned, it’s hard to screw up sweet potatoes or butternut squash and both versions were satisfying and had me licking my plate.  It’s ok, I live alone and I can do that with no shame.

Moosewood-inspired Butternut Squash Fries

Lindsay from Happy Herbivore posted this article on her Facebook page and I’d like to pass it on here.

A Man Walks Into a Restaurant…

In other news, I’ve discovered that Trader Joe’s does not exist in the state of Texas.  My kind parents are making a visit to their nearest store in GA this weekend and are taking my shopping list with them.  Now I know that there are other, perhaps better stores that I will find in Texas and I’m not going to starve to death, but the thought of not having another bag of my anti-oxidant mixed berry trail mix waiting for me when I finish this one??  Perish the thought.  They’re also going to hit up the Dekalb International Farmers Market for some bulked goods that will travel well.  It’s killing me, not being able to purchase bulk flours and beans and spices because 1) I don’t want to pack and carry them all over East Jesus and 2) I’m not sure how they would survive if we have to leave them in the back of a U-Haul in 90 degree heat for more than a day.  And again, I just have to keep reminding myself, Texas has food. 

Today was officially my last day at work and I am now effectively unemployed.  Well, technically not until the 22nd, but that’s splitting hairs.  So I clean, I pack, I pack, I clean, and I hope that I will be seeing my husband this time next week.  And then…..Texas bound!

A New Read, New Baking Experiment, and New Vegetable

May 11, 2010

My coworker Bonnie forwarded me this suggested reading from the Polyface Farms Facebook site (see Food Inc).  I’m only on Chapter 3, but so far I have found The Unhealthy Truth by Robyn O’Brien to be a new and insightful look at the food industry, environmental factors, and the rise of allergies, asthma, ADHD, and autism in kids.  It’s frightening and makes me think, even more than I already did, about every single item I put into my body, in addition to all the chemicals and pollutants I come into contact with daily.  I eat extremely healthily, I know, but yes, I do sometimes have Diet Coke or use Lysol–am I dooming my future children to a lifetime of autoimmune disorders?  Scary stuff.  My main takeaways, thus far, are from page 47 where Robyn notes 4 major factors behind the allergy epidemic:

1.  “Shift from a natural to an industrialized environment.”

2.  “Excessive exposure to antibiotices, both as prescribed…and as consumed through antibiotic-laden meat, milk, and poultry.”

3.  “The rise in pollutants and environmental toxins…”

4.  “Our tendence to eat more processed foods…”

So, with that thought in mind, on a happier note, let us turn to our most recent Joy of Vegan Baking experiment and first time using active yeast.  These cinnamon rolls were divine!  I used walnuts and had to omit the raisins since I didn’t have any.  I was concerned (see previous post) because my dough seemed a little, well, tough and flaky when I rolled it out, and the rolls are probably denser than meant to be, but they taste marvelous and that’s what matters.  Next time, I’ll use my mixer for the icing.  My confectioner’s sugar clumped up and left unpretty white lumps.

My experimental vegetable of the week was fiddlehead ferns.  At $10 a pound, they’re a special treat, but I loved them!  Sort of like a mild asparagus.  I baked them in a foil pouch with Brussels sprouts, garlic, onion, and rosemary for 30 minutes. 

Wrightsville Beach and Wilmington, Afterwards

May 10, 2010

I’m back from my family sojourn to Wrightsville Beach, NC, which is part of the Inner Banks in the metro-Wilmington area.  After only a 5 hour drive for me, my parents, little brother, and myself passed a most excellent weekend chilling out, playing games, getting facials, and walking gardens.  It was a bit too chilly to sit out on the beach, but it was just lovely to get away from Fredericksburg, contact with the outside world, and packing boxes.  Speaking of which…my guest bedroom looks like a lush’s hideaway and this is just a small selection.

So back to the weekend.  We went to Airlie Gardens and especially enjoyed the Sculpture Garden.  The joke was, as you’ll see from the photos below, that we would have loved to contribute by helping to empty all those bottles that form the sculpture.  They also have a butterfly house, but actually, it kinda grossed me out, all those insects fluttering around.

Minnie Evans Sculpture Garden, Airlie Gardens

Detail From the Sculpture Garden

Butterfly Garden

My favorite meal was from Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn in Wilmington where I had the Veggie Deluxe, no cheese, and my brother had the Treehugger, plus we sampled 8 different salsas including Wasabi Avocado, Cucumber, Pineapple, and Peach Ginger.  “Hot, Fast, Cheap, and Easy”…insert rude comment here.  Another good meal was the Veggie D-lite on a Kaiser roll from Sweet and Savory Bakeshop

Flaming Amy's Burrito Barn

For Mothers’ Day my brother and dad gave my mom a facial.  I went along.  This was my first time getting one, although I have had massages before.  It freaked me out when the facialist told me to take my top off and I could remove my bottoms if I wished.  I gotta get nekkid for a facial???  It was lovely, although the warm steam thingy was blowing right up my nose.  Mom enjoyed it, which was the important part.  All in all, a low-key, relaxing weekend.  No one killed anyone and I think we all appreciated each others’ company.

Now I’m back in Fredericksburg with only 3 full days left in the office!  5 or 6 realtors trooped through my house this weekend to show it to potential renters, which is just irritating, no matter how you look at it.  Thank goodness I was away…I’m going to be so crabby this weekend when I have to keep vacating so they can tromp through my stuff.  With packing, I’ve got all kinds of things in all kinds of places, but oh well!

I have a bowl of cinnamon roll dough rising in the kitchen that needs to be punched.  This is my first time using active yeast and I’m trying out the recipe from Joy of Vegan Baking.  I’m a little concerned because the recipe utilizes a mixer (although it notes you can do it by hand) and I did it by hand.  My dough isn’t really elastic-y and smooth, so we’ll see…

Pictures to follow!