Sunday, September 14, 2008

living with intention.

I am going to start treating this blog the way it should be: as a true testament to my ever-increasing simple life. The best and most inspiring blogs I've read have all made excellent use of pictures. I want to do the same and bring more "traffic" to my site. So ... stay tuned. I do believe that a weekly pictures post will be in order!

here's what I'm making this weekend: (from scratch)

frozen end-of-summer vegetable soup (in batches to be had throughout the winter): contains cannelini beans, low-sodium "no chicken" broth, zucchini, yellow squash, green beans, onion, corn. all but the corn and beans and broth are local. when you reheat you're supposed to throw dill in there. on the stove, of course.

also i'll make ...

tomato sauce -- fresh tomatoes, paste, onion, garlic, fresh organic basil
hummus -- chickpeas, tahini, garlic, juice from lemons, olive oil. was dying to put horseradish in it but can't find it anywhere!
potato salad -- red potatoes, onion, green pepper, vegenaise, dijon mustard. maybe hard boiled egg, just a little. i try to use as little dairy and eggs as possible.
barley and bean salad -- the barley is already cooked, i'll probably add black beans and improvise the rest.

next week ... a recipe with eggplant and cheese tortellini from the pages of Real Simple magazine.

i don't know how i'm going to eat all of it ... but it will get eaten, by golly. it's wonderful to make it all ahead and not have to worry about lunches and dinners every day of the week. eating the same recipe several days, or even nearly two weeks, in a row gets a little boring when you live by yourself, but i'm trying .... really trying to not go out to eat. i haven't actually sat down in a restaurant by myself since i just got back from st. louis a month ago and had sushi. now if i could just cut out the morning bagels when i'm in a rush (i've taken to helping myself to school snack cause there's always extra, and carrying a nutritious bar with me to school) .... i can do it, i can!! and i am very proud of the stockpile i've been amassing. again, pictures and a better, more well-tended blog to come ...

may i say, already i love ...

... having learned how to knit and working on my first project, a scarf!
... living by myself with: no microwave, no television, no roommate.
... having quit my second job, which gives me time to do tons of community activities, most of which are free. tonight i saw flamenco dancing! and i'm going to start doing work with TWO community farms/gardens.... swaps up recipes from scratch every week
...being a vegetarian, which i'll have done two years this december. incredible! is it still weird to think the smell of meat cooking is wonderful, though? i have no desire to eat it ... it just smells amazing to me.
... having no Internet bill (i steal signals and use a nearby cafe)
...taking several mile walks each day, most of them through Frederick Law Olmsted parks (look him up, he was fabulous)
... dumping just about every bottle of shampoo, soap, etc. containing parabens and sodium lauryl sulflate/cocodfdfdsafdaf's. I felt pretty guilty about "wasting all that money," but i feel much healthier. now i'm down to homemade bar soaps i pick up at local health food stores and farmer's markets and fairs, vegan shampoo and conditioner, and apple cider vinegar to dilute with water for a great rinse that makes hair very unfrizzy. next goal: buy sage oil to add to shampoo to darken hair naturally. i use tea tree oil diluted as an antiseptic. I'm also going to start trying to add essential oil drops to my laundry detergent (i'd love to make my own detergent, but haven't gotten there yet) EVERYTHING with a vinegar/water mixture
...limiting paper towel use to cat messes, and using cloths for the rest

of course, i have very far to go, but my dreams of gardening and having a large spare room that i can set up to make my own clothing will be possible once i spend a couple more years here in my tiny apartment, living as simply as i can and squirreling away the funds for my own home and acreage. hooray!


  1. Hi Karen! Well done on the cooking and all the other small steps. I will write about tea soon. In the meantime, keep going, you're doing really well. :- )

  2. I searched my entire supermarket for a jar of horseradish not long ago, even asking the clerks about it, but no one could think of where it could be. Then, later, while in the refrigerated section looking at cheeses, I noticed some up on the top shelf. It didn't have to be refrigerated until after opening, but now I know where to find it.

  3. Hi Karen,
    It's always good to hear the changes you're making in your lifestyle... often makes me think of things we could be doing more of (or less of for that matter!)... like the cleaners we use and reducing use of paper towels... I'm conscious of these things, but we could do better. Having our own garden this year has been amazing... and we only hope to make it bigger next year when we have more time to plan ahead. I'm going to make another batch of homemade tomato sauce this week and homemade pesto. Next year I think we'll be better prepared and have enough that we can freeze or can for the winter...and make some raspberry jam too! It's so wonderful to watch things grow and help them to grow. I'm also daydreaming about making my own clothes... I even have some shirt patterns I want to use, but it's hard to put aside the time. It's become especially important to me living here because salvation armies are few and far between. Right now I'm working on crocheting us some cotton dish clothes. It feels good to make these little changes, but it takes time. The best we can do is go slow and live consciously. Thanks for the inspiration!