Saturday, February 27, 2010

back to the simple life

goofing off ... and showing what i've been wearing lately (disregard mess of a life in flux in the background ... i'm not usually quite so messy!). most of what i wear (more than 90 percent, I'd say) is thrifted. yay!!

It's really good to be back home. Baked and cooked at long last ... after a week of restaurant food (albeit some of it really good ... mmm for Indian food twice in one week! And a VERY good sushi restaurant that had amazing vegetarian fare available) and takeout from Whole Foods and the local co-op. So I ate well, but still ... just. not. the. same.

It's still chilly and wintry here tonight (though not nearly as bad as my native New England, I'm thinking of you guys buried under all that white!!), so I made the mushroom-barley soup that Salt and Chocolate Mama (see my sidebar for the link) suggested a while back. And a "pan corn bread" from the Kripalu cookbook (recipe follows post).

Just a few notes, and then I'll share some recent pictures with you.

I'm feeling better after my last post (which no one commented on ... guess it means not to take myself so seriously, lol!)...really this always tends to happen when I'm away from the routines I know best. I've already recommitted to rein - ing in my spending. All I have to do is think of how most of the rest of the world lives to know I can BE A SAVER. I AM A SAVER. :-)

So of this past Friday ... I have 80 hours of student teaching and 90 hours of observation under my belt!! I still have a lot of work to wrap up, though ... in addition to preparing and gathering (and buying....) materials for my classroom next year. I had my second child interview ever today. It went very, very well. These children are going to be so special to me, and so is the classroom I create!

Good news, I am going to buy my CSA through a farmer friend of mine, and share it with another person he knows. Only $200 for 6 months of fresh local produce. yay!

I might make Frugal Trenches' kitchen sink soup with lentils and sweet potato and some dying veg this week ... before it's hopeless for my collards and carrot and celery still sitting there.

Tonight, I'll cut up some old National Geographics found at a yard sale last year, then out for drinks with this sweet gentleman I've kinda sorta been seeing lately. We are moving like turtles through it, and I like that pace just fine, thank you very much. I have so much else going on ....

Tomorrow, I'll be working on Montessori stuff all day (diligently, I might add!), stopping to go meet the guy who needs extra help organizing an estate for coffee. This money will all go into my savings account.

I'll also try to go to a yoga class in the afternoon, since I missed it today due to the interview.

I'm still pondering the 10-day trip to Montana .... not sure when I'd go. I'd go by train, though. For sure.

How are you all? Stay warm if you're in cold climes!

::vegan super bowl party, louisville

::a clean home is a happy home!! I try to keep it like this as often as possible. It's no small feat ...

::mmmm wheatberry salad ... containing mushrooms, amazingly yummily roasted courtesy of Heather's suggestions over at Beauty that Moves (see my sidebar to link to her blog, which I highly recommend)

choppin' up collards for green smoothies ... collards do last forever in the fridge!

::This vegan treat, and the soup below it, were eaten at our amazing local Japanese teahouse the day I joined the Louisville Vegetarian Club. Great group!

::Valentine's Day, preschool style. Hmm ... Do I spy a Jonas brother card in my packet?

::Yep, that's vegan sushi, followed by my plate and the vegan serving table at the monthly Earthsave potluck I go to. I was stuffed after all of that, AND a huge bowl of fruit!

::found this one day at the end of the court I live on ... a child could stand up in it ... probably an adult, too, though I didn't try it.

::a recent trip to the zoo, where my friend laura works. the gorilla was staring intently at a child, and the tiger was huuuuuunnnngry (for me?)!!

more of the kind of stuff i wear ... I have a clearer mirror in the sewing room but I kind of look this old-timey look ....

::here's me in lexington, not getting any work done, but surrounded by some of my favorite things.

::here I am, fiddling with Montessori purchases. I made the hat, the sweater is thrifted and appears elsewhere in this post.

::my friend Cynthia's husband's band, in a real "dive" bar here in Louisville...i love this place. it has art all over the walls by locals.

::vegan sushi and rice ball with jalapenos, louisville. this is my favorite place to get it in town.

::the rest of these I took today. They depict a recent Goodwill sweater and pants combo I like, an INCREDIBLE antique child's rocking chair find (you know where this will go!), and some knitting projects on the hush-hush. LOVE those buttons ... hmmm I wonder where they'll go?

And, as promised, here is the pan corn bread recipe from the Kripalu cookbook. HaPPY weekend, everybody! I am off to fancy-pants drinks!

olive oil
2 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/3 cups unbleached white flour (I used spelt in place of both whole wheat/white pastry and it worked fine ... it always does!)
3 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups water
1 1/3 cups soymilk
2/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Oil a 9x12 baking pan (i used glass) with the olive oil.

In a large bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, stir together all of the wet ingredients. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix together until just blended.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake 25 minutes.

Let cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack. Cut into squares and serve! :-) It's YUMMY warm .....

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A little down and out ... just a little

I have fallen completely off the wagon with spending over the last few days, back into old habits. I could really use some words of encouragement, if you have them.

I will be driving back to horse country tonight to do more student teaching, but I will try and check in a bit over the coming week. I have a lot of work to get done, though. :-( been procrastinating way too much.

I think this tends to happen when I get out of my element -- the natural, calm rhythms that define my days. I am truly turning into a nesting woman of the home. Hm. I'm beginning to not be a fan of these short stretches broken up by travel.

All the same, I'm contemplating a restful trip to Montana in May.

Please, please leave some words of encouragement for me today.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

some self-reflection for ya

Life's a bit chaotic right now, what with a few days of being snowed in here and there and having to go away for a bit about two hours from home to do some required student teaching at another Montessori school. I can't menu plan, or cook .. just make sunflower/peanut butter sandwiches and pack some fruit and scrounge together the rest of what I need to eat from a local co-op and Whole Foods. It's okay, it's temporary. I just always crave the comforts of home, especially this time of year. A fridge and freezer and cookie jar stuffed full of homemade, healthy goodness.

I can't complain, really, I've taken the nesting time pretty seriously lately, overall. I've very very much needed it. I think it will last a few more weeks, probably all of March. Which is just fine with me that March is not at all overladen with commitments -- and I don't need to travel ANYWHERE.

Finished knitting a gorgeous present for my Army friend in Afghanistan today. I should post more of what I've been knitting. Soon, promise. There are some pretty buttons making their way onto future birthday/Christmas (yes you read right, i wasn't kidding about getting started ahead!) gifts, too. Maybe I'll post pics and the recipients will ... erm ... forget? hee hee. Up next: a hat, and learning how to make SOCKS!!

The finances ... are looking GOOD!! Most of my tax refund and about half of my student loan check are going in the SAVINGS. I have some Valentine's Day money from my parents and some babysitting money to put in there, too. I'm applying $16 plus a huge bunch of change (when I can sort it) to my credit card with the lowest balance, and will keep collecting my spare dollars and change for said cause. The savings has several hundred dollars in it now, when I add all of the above it will be lots more than that. I'm also (very likely) getting a good under-the-table job as a university worker's personal assistant. He has to clear out a deceased person's estate and is overwhelmed. The pay is going to be very very good for 5-15 hours a week more. I like that it's not an overwhelming part-time job. Might last a couple months, might make a couple hundred bucks doing it. Not bad. I'm also going to sell an extra space heater on craigslist for $30. When there's a will, there's a way.

I've fallen off the wagon, so to speak, a bit. Buying $2 coffees instead of just waking up in time and making it in the french press. Buying a new pair of jeans, two shirts, and some underwear at the (gasp please) MALL -- haven't been to a mall in years, but was having work on my car done at Sears so I was captive for 4.5 hours. At least the two shirts were made from recycled materials. I HATE buying new clothes because of working conditions in other countries. Does anyone sew their own underwear? just throwing it out there... also, I stocked up on some vegan-friendly wines, because I like to offer it in addition to coffee/tea/water when people are over the house. or sometimes when I'm just all by my lonesome on a Friday night, feelin' frisky and listening to great local radio ... ;-) It's an indulgence, yeah, but I don't need to stock up that often.

Overall, I'm doing well, if I think back to where I was when I started this blog two years ago I've changed massively, massively. So I'll take where I am now over where I was then anytime, even with the stumbles. I love looking at my savings account! It's small but it's GOING somewhere. And I'm happy about that. Next year perhaps I'll look at splitting it off into an emergency fund (for things like aforementioned car repair, which was put on the Capital One.....).

I'm going to yoga in a bit. Been trying to surround myself with positive media: reading the book Stones into Schools by Greg Mortenson, listening to classical music while I knit or do schoolwork, finding videos on YouTube that touch my heart.

Oh and there's something else .... a bit of <3 is in the air .... but I shall leave that one hanging for now while I allow it to bloom. :-)

hope you all are well out there, and staying warm if you're in cold climes like myself! spring is just a few weeks away!!

peace and light,


Monday, February 15, 2010

just wanted to let you know ...

i'm moderating comments, sorry. i think i'm getting "fake" comments from a blogger that doesn't really exist. this ever happen to anyone else?

sorry it's been a few days. lots of goodness going on here. i joined a local vegan/vegetarian club, went to my monthly vegetarian potluck, missed yoga for a week (BOO)due to the female visitor. have had some snow days ... there is actually a snowstorm happening ... au moment.

still have tons of pictures and goodness to upload. soon.

peace and light,


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Calling all sewers!

I am trying to find a fairly large table for sewing and cutting that I can sit/stand at comfortably. everything i see online is too small/too modern.

Please help me determine just what it is I need. I do have plenty of space. I like old, blocky, wood, antique-looking, large, wide .... none of which I can seem to find online.

What do you use? Where did you get it?

I can't spend a fortune. THIS, in green, looks perfect, actually though it's a little more than I want to pay.(it's the one pictured at the top of this post too) Thoughts??

Thanks in advance for this advice.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

sunday morning, and last night's enchiladas

This morning is coffee, chocolate chip cookies from scratch, knitting, and drawing some drafts for my Montessori math album. Actually it's 11 a.m. so yeah .. I slept in ... too much Iron Chef America the night before. I couldn't resist. ... I have a crush on Iron Chef Michael Symon! :-) And I was knitting ....

Today I wanted to talk to you a little about my very frugal, very GOOD homemade vegan enchiladas. I make this up from time to time, and it lasts forever ... it makes 12 enchiladas stuffed full (so they're more like burritos), and a whole other square glass pan full of just the filling.

For the sauce, go to Bread and Honey's blog. It's hers. Basically it involves (and i double her recipe always) 4-6 chilies (i use fresh, just chop the whole thing up and throw in the food processor), veggie stock, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt, apple cider vinegar, tomato sauce, and corn starch. Go now. I have a link to it on my sidebar. So you process it all and it winds up in a large Mason jar and then some.

For the cheese sauce, this is what I found somewhere online (sorry I'm terrible at link-sourcing):

In a saucepan, combine the following: (this recipe is a doubled version of the original ... trust me, you'll want to double)

2 cups flour (i use white spelt)
2 cups nutritional yeast
4 tsp salt (this is also 1 tbsp and 1 tsp)
4 tsp garlic powder

Mix well, then add 8 cups of water. Mix well again.

Heat on medium until bubbling and thick.

Remove from heat, and add the following:

4 tsp spicy mustard
16 tbsp vegan butter (or suitable substitute ... look yeah it's fattening, it's CHEESE but it's vegan cheese so there's no artery-clogging cholesterol or trans fat...)

Pour half the cheese sauce into another bowl.

To the bowl on the stove that's still full of half the cheese sauce, you add:

one can each of the following beans, drained and rinsed to get the additional salt off (i use organic of course): pinto, kidney, black

3 tbsp dried or 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

2 medium onions, chopped

1 can green chilies

1 can organic diced tomatoes (no salt added), OR 1/2 cup salsa, OR 1 tomato, chopped, depending what you have on hand

Mix all that stuff together. Voila, your filling is ready!

You'll need two 9x13 glass baking dishes (or similar equipment) .... spread a layer of enchilada sauce along the bottom of each one. Then, take your first tortilla (I used Ezekiel sprouted grain ones ... they freeze well you just need to thaw them for a half hour or so before using) and plop it down in that sauce. spoon some filling in, roll up. repeat 11 more times.

Top with the leftover sauce and cheese mixtures. Bake in the oven, bottom rack, for about 40 minutes or until bubbling.

I usually take the leftovers (there's a lot) and fill up a smaller baking dish, top it with the sauce and cheese, as well ... it makes a nice "enchilada soup."

I'm assuming the leftovers freeze well. I shall try that this week.

ENJOY!! Top with fresh guacamole, if so desired!! Great dish for a family or a party. Easy and cheap.

Hope you're all enjoying the weekend, and that it's peaceful and relaxing. I've found that you just have to learn how to say "no" to commitments of all kinds, "no" to the shops and restaurants calling your name. You learn how to spread errands out over the week. And somehow, you can manage to have a weekend that feels long, as it should. I need them, how about you?

i did go out on friday night: vegan mexican food, followed by an art opening at my yoga studio, followed by becoming a member of the University of Louisville art museum, which is walking distance from my apartment in nice weather. Becoming a member meant free entrance to the event -- the speed after dark, complete with grapes and cheese, cocktails (cash bar), a dj, and various bands, one of which dressed up like the old presidents who wore wigs and played in the "tapestry room" ... trippy music in a very gothic-style chamber. nice. Now that I'm a member, I can visit the museum for free anytime. Sweet. It comes out to be less than $1/week to be able to do so. This I can afford. All this followed by a beer at my neighborhood hipster bar. Not bad.

Here is a photo of some very realistic-looking candles in the tapestry room gallery ...

Peace and light,