Saturday, March 26, 2011

quiet saturday at home

vegan corn chowder i made this week, i also made homemade vegan chocolate chip cookies per dbf's request.

Well, it seems winter has briefly returned to these midwestern/southernish parts, despite the obstinance of blossoming tulip magnolias, dogwoods, crocuses, daffodils, and tulips! It even hailed briefly today. Oh, well. Not to last long.

I've gone and decided (after months of subconscious reflection, I believe) to learn how to play ... the banjo! So today I went and looked at banjos at two music shops. Of course, the first one I looked at was $500 and had all the bells and whistles. But the second one that a friend had put on hold for me was just over $100 and would allow me to afford at least five months of lessons (once per week for a half hour, enough, I think, to tell me whether or not I should continue with it).

Now I have always, always wanted to learn to play an instrument. Flute did not work, my parents could never afford piano, and I have a guitar that sits and sits mainly I think because I wanted to play because it was the cool hippie instrument to play, the one "everyone else" plays. I made some halfhearted attempts at it, and just lost interest. I mean, I would love to learn how to play, I just have zero motivation to get lessons or practice. But the banjo is more of a novelty. I'm always fascinated watching peple play them, they just look like such fun! And I think that after this initial expense, it will become another of my frugal hobbies. Eventually I'd even like to fulfill another dream, to join a little coffeehouse duo or trio! But baby steps first. I'm hoping to pick this lovely instrument up on Monday when I'm paid.

This weekend, Adam has gone home to Boston for the weekend to retrieve his things, so it's a quiet weekend at home. However, we booked a crazy expensive (last hurrah before the big April 1 FRUGAL BUDGET kickoff.....hehe) weekend "away" a few hours to the east of us in Kentucky. It's at a 300-acre organic farm bed and breakfast, and only vegetarian food is served. this weekend will be plugged out, but i'll try and take some pictures. This weekend kicks off my long-awaited, much-needed spring break from school. The only other thing I'll be doing is spending two nights up at a Montessori farm school in Ohio. That should be a blast, as well.

Today I went to to thrift shops, something I haven't indulged in in AGES. So I let myself spend $18 for four shirts and the adorable cream/sugar set you see below.

vintaaaaggggeee!!! yay. I also indulged (cheaply) my bad tendency to eat outside the home - a coffee, a cookie, vegan nachos...

... a margarita. $20. groan. I will be much tighter on the purse strings come april 1 though ... determined now that I'm budgeting for two! At least I made vegan egg salad over romaine for dinner, AT HOME. go me.

vegan egg salad, sorry for poor light quality!

I think a major part of being a frugal vegan is always having convenient snacks available. I am one of those people that needs to always be eating, so if I had nuts/fruit etc. on my person at all times this would curb the need to not have to go to some cute local place and spend at least $10-15. Because you know, we can't just shoot through a golden arches corral and spend 99 cents. :-( (not that i'm regretting that one much, but seriously a VEGAN drive through would be fabulous!!)

I'll share some pictures with you from the things I've been up to lately. March has been a relatively quiet month, despite some normal (i think!) growing pains from having someone else constantly in a space you inhabited quietly for so long.

Our menu plan for the week is simple: vegan "tuna" wraps, homemade hummus and raw veg, veggie foccaccia sandwiches with pesto on the panini press (the bread comes from a local baker/deli), green smoothies, and steel cut oatmeal in the crockpot, with fruit and nuts. Also some kind of spinach/mushroom/lentil dal or soup to use up leftovers.

Here are some new links I found after listening to a great podcast about raising vegan children (actually the second link is where I found the podcast). I think I am addicted to podcasts now! They are wonderful to listen to while knitting or cooking/baking.

Kid Bean
Vegetarian Food for Thought

Hmmmm Sunday ... well since the weather is crappy I'm going to spend some time working in my classroom, go put a payment down to secure my banjo, take a walk, cook a bit for the week ahead, and maybe go to my usual tea shop for some knitting and antique cups. Here are the pics I promised you from said tea shop! (and of the baby sweater i'm knitting ... which is a lot farther along now but which looks nothing like the picture in the book ... hmmm... oh well)

have a good week, everyone.

love and light,


p.s. Vegan cinnamon buns, I made them last Sunday and they are time-intensive (four hours!) but soooo worth it. I added 1 tbsp. maple syrup to the icing. Find the recipe on my friend carrie's blog, Vegan Yogini in KY (see my sidebar - then type in cinnamon rolls in her search box).

Sunday, March 20, 2011

sunday update

st. patrick's day was fun! i love cloggers. those two girls go to my school.

Today is one of those nice, slow Sundays where I bake, knit, read blogs and books (today's reading will feature learning about raised bed gardening from two books i checked out of the library). In fact, I have vegan cinnamon roll dough rising as i write. it smells delicious!

I wanted to share with you some pictures I've taken recently. I know, no knitting pictures yet, I'll get there! Bear with me here. Been going outside more and taking advantage of all the gorgeous warm weather here in Kentucky! So many early spring flowers and budding-green trees to admire.

On the knitting front, however, I have started my first-ever sweater, in newborn size, from a library book called Nursery Knits. Some very cute vintage patterns in there! I also discovered a new local yarn shop. It's in Indiana (just over the river from where I live) and called The Grinny Possum. Cute, huh? I also picked up my first Elizabeth Zimmermann book - Knitting Without Tears! I love her sense of humor.

On the menu plan this week: more vegan tuna wraps with pickles and sea salt chips, chocolate chip cookies (dear bf's request), vegan corn chowder with a local bakery baguette, vegan cheddar pasta bake, homemade pesto/red pepper/mushroom pizza, an asian stir-fry with veggies and white rice (made by dear bf), and green smoothies!

I'm excited that the farmer's market should start having veggies again real soon. mmmmm ... asparagus! We're also signing up for a vegan CSA share this year. Can't wait!

Oh, yeah, the pictures. Here ya go. Happy weekending, everyone!

spinach ... lots of that being used lately! mostly i took it for the glimpse of daylight through my kitchen window

my kindergarten children, writing a story with the moveable alphabet

vanilla cake, veganized, from the awesome pretty cookbook Apples for Jam

hiking!! A three-mile hike yesterday here, followed by an amazing veg dinner at P.F. Chang's (finally got to eat there!). The coconut curry tofu dish is out. of. this. world.

tigger, in one of my clothing baskets, sunning himself in the studio.

love and light,


Monday, March 14, 2011

two quick recipes

My latest intention is to be off the computer by 8:30 p.m. each night to allow for some very healthful non-screen time before turning in, but as I was just standing here in my clean, cozy kitchen and settling in, lights off, with a cup of tea, I could not resist telling you two food things on my mind!

the first, is something i try and prepare at least once each week, and usually lasts two days. oatmeal in the crockpot. yes, simply (with a SMALL size crockpot) place 1 cup steel cut oats (or rolled, whatever you have on hand), 4 cups water, 1 tbsp butter (mine is Earth Balance since I don't put animals in my tummy), and a pinch or two of sea salt. Put the cover on, and turn on low for 8-10 hours. Mine will be on from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. In the morning, lift the lid, savor the delicious nutty oatty smell, and mix in all your favorite toppings. Mine are usually real maple syrup, almonds or walnuts, flaxseeds, cranberries or raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sometimes even peanut butter and/or chocolate chips. Go easy on the last two if you use them, they go a long way!

A healthy, quick breakfast for a non-morning person like me who gets up, packs the oatmeal in a glass pyrex dish, and eats it around 10 a.m. .....

The second is what I like to call vegan tuna, because it seriously. tastes. like. a tuna sandwich (minus all the gloppy mayo, ewww). actually, it's in a wrap and comes from the cookbook (do you really need me to tell you?) 1,000 Vegan Recipes. She calls it tofu-tahini wraps, but I'm telling you, folks -- looks and tastes (to a vegan anyhow) like tuna salad....YUMMMM-O!

I would just double the recipe, making it in two batches. Makes 8 wraps, lunches for two for the week. I paired it with a lentil soup from the same cookbook and it was delicious!

here's the recipe:

8 oz. extra firm tofu, drained and patted DRY
1/2 cup tahini
3 minced green onions (i call them scallions with an elongated nasally a ... yeah, i'm from new england!)
2 minced celery ribs
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
2 tbsp capers
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cayenne
Four 10-in. tortillas (I use stone ground whole wheat tortillas) or lavash
1 medium carrot, shredded
4 lettuce leaves (i used organic romaine)

In a food processor, combine the tofu, tahini, scallions, celery, parsley, capers, lemon juice, mustard, salt, and cayenne and process 'till well combined (it will be thick and pasty!).

Then place approx 1/2 cup of the mixture on one tortilla and spread it around, topping it with the carrot and lettuce leaf. (for a couple of these, i also chopped in some dill pickle...cause dill pickle and tuna are YUMMM!!)

Repeat for all the wraps, rolling each one up and slicing diagonally in half.

Dip in Vegenaise if you're like me and can't get enough of the stuff!

Love and light,


p.s. tomorrow is buy one get one free pizza day at whole foods! i'm going to order a daiya and veg one and freeze the other! can't wait.

p.p.s. This blog looks really really cool. follow her. ;-)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

rare as gold

I had one of those weekends. Rare as gold.

Total and complete relaxation, and letting go of all expectations, just flowing into the moments as they came. Such as the farm walk. Oh well, 'twas not to be!

Today, after a very late bedtime due to visiting a neighbor friend and watching a movie on netflix, I did something very unusual: slept in blissfully until very late in the morning. I awoke to sunshine and cool breeze filtering in through the windows.

I woke up, and popped my leftover homemade "sausage" and tofu scramble in the microwave, dumping frank's red hot over it.

Then enjoyed a cup of Uncle Lee's white tea while writing a long e-mail letter to a friend.

Spent about an hour or so reading blogs. Inspiring, as always!! While listening to Rick Steves' travel show on NPR about Ireland - fascinating. I love Ireland.

Threw in a small load of laundry, fed the cats, took a shower, dressed, and set to work doubling the recipe from 1,000 Vegan Recipes for tofu-tahini wraps (lunches for the week).

Here is where I apologize for not having enough good sunlight coming in/a fully charged camera (in fact it has been totally dead for days b/c I have been too lazy to find the charger). Today was the PERFECT day for photos between food and the tea house I went to this afternoon. Next weekend ... pictures from my own camera ... promise!

Anyway, the wraps. It was so pleasant to make them while listening to my first-ever podcast - an hour and a half long one about homeschooling. I learned a lot! The wraps literally taste like tunafish - only they're cruelty-free! They contain shredded carrot and a romaine leaf each, and some have dill pickles inside. Sort of like the picture below, except the filling had the exact color and consistency as a dry-side tuna salad!

After I finished making/taste-testing the wraps, I made myself a green smoothie. So happy I was able to give myself this gift: swiss chard, orange juice, half a cucumber, half a banana, a whole mango, flaxseeds. It made two portions so I'll try the other one for breakfast tomorrow. I love getting my greens and fruit this way - such an easy, energizing way to load up on iron, vitamins, minerals, calcium, sunshine! :-)

Then it was time for me to head over to the new teahouse downtown called Hillbilly Tea. There was supposed to be a knitting group there from 3 to 6, but I was the only one! I soon found a cozy rocking chair covered with a cozy quilt and set to work knitting for TWO hours. I finished TWO projects, a scarf and a messed-up hat turned headband (promise those pics later!!). I could not believe how wonderfully relaxed I felt just to knit, people watch, and drink wild rose white tea out of an antique-style cup!

I bought a vegan cookie to bring home ... but turns out I was not charged for either tea or cookie due to knowing a girl who works there (of course that was her tip!). The place is rustic, cozy ... with wooden benches, brick walls, funky but subtle artwork, antique tchachkes (sp?), and the BEST part - a VERY UNPLUGGED feel. Coffeeshops/teahouses are losing this atmosphere so conducive to true conversation, relaxation, handwork, novel reading. I'm so glad this gem exists and I sure hope it will be around for quite a while! I'll be back there next sunday with Adam (my guy).

When I was done at the tea shop, I headed home and made a large pot of soba-lentil soup in a base of crushed tomatoes for dinner/lunches. It's delicious (can you guess the cookbook? lol!). And a loaf of sunflower-zucchini bread (yep...same one) using up zucchini I froze at the end of summer. It's cooling on a wire rack.

While the soup was simmering, I did a 10-minute tidy that turned from folding a long-neglected pile of laundry on my closet/studio floor into a quick rearrange of the closet/studio space! It's not quite done but I'm leaving it for the night.

Soon I will crawl into bed and read for at least an hour, with the hope of lights out by 10:30 (this will be 9:30 as the week wears on) as I plan on being at school two hours early tomorrow to get some materials-making done.

And I have a great week planned, so I am feeling very warm and fuzzy right now. Only thing I did not get in was a 15-minute walk ... hmmm so maybe I'll go and do that right now. Daylight savings time is always a little weird but it doesn't get dark now until 8 p.m.!! yay!! (i'll still be walking in the dark ... lol. Also my at-least five minute daily meditation/reading/yoga.

Saturday was amazing, too, btw: the condensed version involves homemade breakfast, writing a card to a friend over tea, a very long walk in a very pretty park, seeing horses!, a couple hours at a neighbor-friend's house just talking, menu planning and grocery shopping (which I actually love), making up a budget for my new financial situation that's making my life a whole lot easier, and watching a good movie on netflix.

have a week full of love and light ... i'm happy that adam will be back from his work travels in california late tomorrow night.


Friday, March 11, 2011


i have a craving.

vegan recipes requested.

maple icing preferred.

entirely homemade, of course, for both. 'cause that's how i roll!

happy weekend to you! i'm planning on visiting a new yarn shop tomorrow and getting some new library books for my classroom. i also ordered Knitting Without Tears from my local bookshop today. i can't wait to pick that up next week and begin reading!

sunday will be a walk on a biodynamic farm with two friends.

maybe i'll throw some cooking and yoga in there for good measure.

be well, ladies. and send me some VEGAN recipes for those buns!!!

love and light,


Thursday, March 10, 2011


I find that baking soda, vinegar, and lemon/tea tree essential oils, and hot water, really go the distance at my house.

thinking of making my own laundry detergent next (after my soap nuts run out). any ideas? pondering something with borax and essential oils. i want a liquid but i guess powder would be okay. the simpler, the better.

i love cleaning my house (but not deep cleaning my oven). am i nuts? :-)

clean house, clean mind. so true. the guy pictured below is wonderful, but does need to learn to clean the sink and counters of dishes and grit after every meal! one must make evening tea in a cozy kitchen. or so i think!

on another note entirely, i also refuse to use chemicals (or animal-tested products) in the shower. my favorites are Avalon Organics shampoo and conditioner, Dr. Bronner's liquid castille soaps, and various cruelty-free vegan soap bars made locally/regionally. i use tree of life tea tree oil face wash, touted as "100 percent vegan"

the only makeup i ever wear is mascara, and i buy mineral to avoid petroleum. for moisturizers i use dr. bronner's and for my face, Beauty Without Cruelty brand SPF 15 lotion.

hope that didn't sound too much like an ad!

anyway, get back to me with simple laundry soap recipes. thanks!

love and light,


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

love, simply.

bernheim forest in kentucky - iron ore trail, this is the bridge on the "canopy tree walk".

the path ahead of me is not changing, yet it's becoming clearer.

loads of transformation here.

i am, in a matter of days, becoming the official money manager of a new unofficial "family unit" (no it's not what you're thinking tee hee!) .... yes, my boyfriend (i will tell the long story sometime) is moving from massachusetts to kentucky!

i bet he thinks i'm a little crazy, but i'm looking forward to being a self-coined frugalista and making a game out of how much i can save, while visions of waldorf toys and afternoons spent playing and baking with my homeschooled children dance in my head.

you see, this guy is the one. he always has been over the years i've known him, it's just taken this long for it all to come together. but it's all happened this way for the right reasons, i'm sure of it.

did you hear me? THE ONE!!!

i've gotten away from my individual routine, the one i've so carefully and mindfully crafted for myself over the four years i've been in kentucky. slowly, i'm letting go of planning and cooking all the meals, doing all the dishes, having everything in my environment just. so.

he changes easily. me, not so easily. i need to process. as a typical type B, change is very overwhelming to me, even good change. i need to pace myself, let things go back to the universe in increments. i have already given up Wednesdays in the kitchen. luckily, he's a good cook. and he's already off to a good start with the vegan meals. (he's attempting to make it a year as a vegetarian)

thank goodness that becoming a regular yoga practitioner has helped so much with my own personal transformation to a more calmer, flowing individual. it's going to help me navigate this most important of relationships.

it's still a bit much to realize that if i'm still blogging on here in two years or so, i could well be blogging about my "dear husband!"


i'm actually hoping this blog will begin to take on more form, as i feel i've lost that initial focus i had on living simply. see, i learned what i needed to know to start on this downshifting path, then i took off with it. i stumbled, i fell, i picked myself up again. now, a lot of the things i used to dislike or see as chores (cooking, washing dishes, sweeping, daily walks, etc.), are second nature.

over recent months, i've felt a bit of a disconnect between the life i've always dreamed of living and the life i live now, so i was doing more reading of the blogs from women who are already "there." i do believe in blooming where you are, but i do believe that i'm going "there," too and it was frustrating to just sift to find things to write about my solitary life. now that this last puzzle piece is fitting in and there are marriage and children (i hope, i hope!) coloring the next chapters in, i believe working as a team to accomplish those beautiful goals will provide me with stronger grit to get there (while, of course, enjoying the benefits of partnership along the way: cheerier weekend breakfast feasts, happier hikes, you know....

i thank all of YOU bloggy friends for continually feeding my dreamy soul and reminding, always reminding - gently and humbly - me that i, too, can fulfill the deepest of my heart-soul's desires, and for living mindfully enough to reach the horizon of those new shores, and sail away.

that's my poetic thought for the night, anyhow. though i walk this newly-cleared path cautiously, i do so with gratefulness to the universe for the gift of opportunity, and with a mind to let go into every moment of present joy i am given along the way. it's not always going to be easy to let the little things go, but when you have a strong life partner by your side, the allowances are your open doors.

letting the fresh air, and possibility, and joy, and the deepest love i've ever felt, in.

thank you all for being here for this momentous time.

love and light,


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

design change

inspiration ...

just a bit of a spring redesign of the blog. nothing fancy. clean and airy like a farmhouse kitchen. i'd love that color in my farmhouse! white wood floors (soulemama got me started on that one).

i seem to be relatively uninspired to write these days. i'll be back with words, i promise.

guess what's popping up at school? crocus! and we planted radish seeds today. a humble beginning for gardening. for teacher, too.

here is the guy i've been furtively writing about ;-) long story, i'll tell it sometime! but ... he's really great. really. great. seriously.

i made homemade veggie burgers and fries last night. nothing to blog-photo about, but delicious! tonight was leftover homemade soup from Sundays at Moosewood (turkish spinach-lentil soup with bulgur) and leftover homemade quick herbed bread from 1,000 vegan recipes (i think). trying hard to eat at home. need to learn the art of snacks, though because going six hours between meals is not good for me!

yesterday ... i also went to the barber (you heard right) and got SIX inches trimmed off my hair. literally, a weight off! i love it. all the gals are seemin' to have short hair these days. again, i love it! now it remains to color bright red ...

like i said ... back soon with more words. forgive.