Monday, August 29, 2011

delicious zucchini spaghetti

scenes from the woods, where i spent a bit of time saturday night ...

I made this tonight for two busy people (me and boyfriend) and whipped it up in less than 10 minutes. no, seriously. so of course, i had to share! i have no photo, i was too busy eating it! but trust me on this one. especially if your garden has a zucchini glut ... it's the time of year, y'all!

based on a meal i had at a raw vegan restaurant in baltimore:

shred one or two LARGE zucchini with a grater, and plop into a large bowl.

add a large amount (maybe one package) sauteed mushrooms (i did mine in veg broth with rosemary added) ... i know, not raw ....

then add a whole JAR, that's 25 oz., of spaghetti sauce ... i used one from whole foods that i love, it's the 365 brand "italian herb"

add one can of drained cannellini beans for protein and texture

add one or two huge handfuls of nutritional yeast

add a lot of dried or fresh oregano, basil, thyme

mix it all up, chill for a few hours in the fridge, and voila dinner is served cold!

next time, i'd like to try it with raw "meatballs" ... next time maybe.

tomorrow night we are hopefully doing polenta bean bake if i can figure out how to make polenta from scratch. i suspect it has something to do with cornmeal? my local food desert grocery store did not carry it, but i can't deny their wonderful selection of organic canned beans on sale, which i loaded up on. the bean bake will also feature raw monterey jack cheese produced locally. i'm in a vegetarian phase again.

also on this week's menu plan: pad thai with tofu, lentil dal with spinach on rice, and tempeh with a maple-mustard-balsamic glaze paired with corn fritters and garlicky collard greens. we'll see what actually gets done.

here is a vegan bean salad with rice (delicious with frank's red hot added!)and the roasted veg/quinoa/pesto thing we crave lately)

I also wanted to blog about Unplugged Sunday, which some of you may know Heather over at Beauty that Moves started some months ago. I've been trying to do this with my boyfriend, and we usually make a delicious home-cooked breakfast featuring the herb roasted potatoes from vegan with a vengeance. we walk our dog to the new local organic market in our neighborhood, we stop for coffee at a new coffeeshop, we go for a long drive with a picnic lunch and go hiking. however, i've found it next to impossible for adam to give up his cell phone for the entire day. he seems to NEED to have it in his pocket, he says, to check the time. but he checks the time more than i've ever seen anyone with a watch do. it's caused quite a bit of argument and stubborn childish foot stamping (um, literally) on my part. every week for three or four weeks now. i don't want it to be this way, but i've learned that i'm just going to have to enjoy unplugged sunday on my own for a while and see what he makes of it. i can't believe how much i get done, but all at a pleasurable pace. yesterday i wrote down all of it to share with you:

woke about 9 a.m. .....

walk with dog and breakfast at a neighborhood diner (mmm blueberry pancakes...the dog had a side of bacon) ... this all took about two hours

came home and did pleasure reading for two hours

spent another two hours doing laundry/dishes/tidying up the apartment/making a snack/organizing the book nook upstairs

went for an hour and a half walk with the dog in the park, and spent another half hour driving to and spending time at the local health food market to pick up a few goods

made a batch of leftover hummus and heated up leftovers for dinner (we are a huge fan of roasted local veg/red quinoa/homemade pesto these days)

took out a large batch of recycling, wrote a grocery "items needed" list, made sundried tomatoes, organized my craft/work studio, washed bras in the sink, frogged two very old failed knitting projects

did some more pleasure reading, and turned the lights off about 10:30.

what an awesome day! it's amazing how, when you take the internet and cell phone (the cell phone i barely use anyway, i'm a throwback and i often seriously consider ditching it altogether) out of the equation, time SLOWS way down and the day seems to stretch on and on. and look at all i did, pleasurably! yay, me. great way to start the week.

tonight, i think i'll start a dishcloth just to have a knitting project going until i get some yarn for my two upcoming bigger projects (knee socks for me and a winter wrap for the dog). or i'll work on the shawl i've been slowly crafting for the last few months. it has a few errors, but overall it's a beauty and i learned a few new skills doing it (ummm patience among them?? lol).

the research papers are feeling a little less scary now that i more or less have all the sources and literature i need for both ... now it's just a matter of investing the time to read and take notes on everything in advance of actual writing. i spent three hours of my day reading, one on a treadmill at the YMCA :-)

I am pleased to tell you that I think I've been losing weight, if not on the scale then the weekly measuring tape tells truth ... losing anywhere from a half inch to four inches on various body parts.

I am settling into my 15-hour/week job at the montessori school. i've been asked if i would like to do 25 hours but i'm not sure what will happen with the home business so that's all up in the air. i do love the freedom if not the scariness of not working full-time. i needed this break like i needed air. today i bought a notebook to track ALL daily expenses as so many experts tell you to do. we'll see if it saves us money. we have to save money.

a few months ago, i blogged about not being sure what direction my blog posts were going in. is it a simple life blog, a food blog, a craft blog, a daily ramblings blog? i found that i just wanted to be ME. i want my posts to resonate with what's important to me at a given time, not to be labeled as some perfect superblogger like (sorry) SouleMama ... it's an issue I'm having with "vegan" right now, too. I love to eat vegan, and I do most of the time. When I eat dairy and eggs it's infrequent and I'm very picky on the source. But I'm not sure I want to BE a VEGAN. ya know? well, any thoughts would be appreciated. we're always striving to be our very best selves, and I think it's wonderful to be inspired, but I also think it's important to just BE the things you think you want to BE, and not analyze them so much or present them as a perfect spread in a blog.

here's to a happy week, loves. i'm thrilled to say i'll be watching gillian welch live tomorrow night, in my cowboy boots!

love and light,


p.s. a word about the sundried tomatoes. sadly, i wasted six lovely local tomatoes because i had them in the oven on "warm" for 12 hours ... they really need only about 5. what i do is cut all the squishy watery middle parts out, cut the tomatoes into strips (i use the oval tomatoes, not the round ones), salt them to draw out water, then put them on a cookie sheet in the oven. when they're done, i stick them in freezer bags, plop them in the freezer and voila. oh, well. next time i hit the farmer's market i'll try again!

Monday, August 22, 2011

busy bees here in kentucky!

(pretty fountain, Brooklyn NY)

I just realized I haven't posted an entry in ... oh, almost two weeks!

oh my!

well, i've been super busy ...

getting a new part-time job at a montessori school

setting up my own home-based montessori-inspired business

painting walls in the home classroom

buying antique furniture for said classroom

making up yummy summer eats: black bean croquettes, polenta and pinto bean casserole, roasted summer veg with red quinoa and pesto sauce, and bean salad. i know beans have been quite a theme here lately. what can i say, they are cheap and easy to prepare!

i finished a knitted christmas present ... too bad you can't see it b/c the recipient reads this blog but maybe i'll post on ravelry ... will you friend me there, knitting friends? i've only just begun on there. upcoming projects include a sweater for my dog, socks and legwarmers for me, a hat for dbf, a baby sweater just for practice (since the last one i did i knit an arm backwards somehow!!), dishcloth, a shawl for my grandma, and socks or a hat for my grandpa. and sewing, my oh my i think i'll make my first project coasters. i love to make people use coasters!

somewhere in here fall research i'm doing for papers on unschooling and free play ....

it's all good. i just don't make it here too much!

hope you're all enjoying the last weeks of summer (or winter, if you're down under like Libby and Rhonda and Jenny Wren!)

love and light,


oh, pictures to come soon, soon !!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

whole wheat raisin bread (vegan)

I've been wanting to tell you all about the amazing, delicious loaf of whole wheat raisin bread I made this week. It's from 1,000 Vegan Recipes.

It makes the BEST toast when sliced with a very good bread knife, very thin. This is the day after it comes out of the oven. The night it came out of the oven we ate huge slices of it slathered with vegan butter (and mine had also honey on top!).

seriously. make this. follow the directions exactly.

anyone have tips to keep fresh bread relatively soft? i stuck mine in a cloth reusable bag ... but maybe there's a better way?

anyway, here it is (and you should get this cookbook, it's really amazing):

3 tbsp molasses
1 package or 2 1/2 teasp. active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm plain soy milk (I used cold almond milk and didn't notice a difference)
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup raisins

combine the molasses and yeast. add 1/4 cup of the milk and stir until yeast is dissolved. set aside.

in another bowl, combine wheat flour, all purpose flour, salt, cinnamon, and raisins. add the yeast mixture and the remaining 1 1/4 cups milk, stirring to form a soft dough

knead the dough for five minutes (set your oven timer), then place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat with oil. cover with a clean dish towel and let rise in a warm place for one hour till doubled in size (i put mine in a stainless steel bowl right in an oven heated to 200 degrees for a while then turned off).

test dough by poking it with your finger. it's ready if the indentation from your finger remains.

lightly oil at 9-in. loaf pan, set aside. punch dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. shape the dough into a loaf, place it in loaf pan. cover with a dish towel and let rise in warm place (yes, warm oven again) for one hour.

preheat oven to 350 deg. F ... uncover dough, bake for 45 minutes -- 25 of them uncovered, the last 20 loosely covered with foil.

remove loaf from oven and set aside to cool for five minutes (very, very hard!!), then turn out onto a wire rack and let cool for 30 min. before slicing with a good bread knife (torture!!)

enjoy!! the toast this makes next day is out of this world.

In other news, I've been offered a job as the aftercare teacher for a Montessori daycare five minutes' WALK from my house, for three hours each late afternoon. This will still allow me the space to experiment with running my own business from home. Tomorrow I also have an interview at a coffeeshop. Things are shaping up.

So is the apartment ... 99 percent of the boxes have been unpacked and most stuff has found a home. Just the painting is left, along with a few extra items of furniture we need to thrift around for!

hope your week is going well.

love and light,


Monday, August 8, 2011

I'm back!

daisies adam got me for returning home ... i gave him a 1925 mandolin restored by my friend Jake! for his birthday which is Friday.

Regular posting should resume ... well, right now!

It's good to be home. Current projects include continuing to unpack boxes and organize the apartment, figuring out work-at-home spaces with less arguments (we really just need an antique table adam can use as a desk so he doesn't take over the coziness of the living room during work hours, which i like to think of as a more sacred space), painting rooms.

I was going to make a whole wheat raisin bread from scratch today but didn't realize I was out of active dry yeast. tomorrow, then, perhaps. I did make a lovely lentil-chickpea soup last night from 1,000 vegan recipes and threw some local collard greens in on top. We also had steamed edamame.

Research paper progress = nil but soon, soon.

We got a dog...a shelter beagle. He's a sweetie. His name is Chubbs, and he's two. He loves to go for walks. Tried a version of Heather's Unplugged Sunday yesterday and it was wonderful. Time feels different. We took the dog for a two-hour neighborhood stroll, discovering to our great delight a new organic farmstand in this food desert neighborhood, and a new coffeeshop! Also an abandoned home that we pictured ourselves in. I made brunch: fried local eggs, local potatoes with onions, mushrooms and herbs, and from-scratch waffles with vermont ginger-rhubarb jam and vermont maple syrup. also, local blackberries with some soy yogurt and honey.

It was a joy to go to the farmer's market on Saturday. I'm waiting on food processor parts as they got left behind when we moved, but until then I'm going to try the blender at making pesto. My time away made me miss strawberry and blueberry season this year, so I am bound and determined not to miss out on all this lovely basil!

I have lost five pounds on my diet so far. I bought a scale to track daily progress in a food log I'm writing. Cutting the portion sizes and eating purely vegan has helped! Well, with the occasional local egg. Guess that makes me ovo-veg, strict, huh?

I am nearly done with the shawl I've been working on for a few months now. It has more than a few little mistakes but it's for me so I've worked out the kinks for the one I want to make my grandma for christmas. Pictures will be posted when I've finished.

Next week I'm babysitting full-time, and need to start putting at least a Facebook page together for the business I'm hoping to start.

Good things abound, stay tuned!

love and light,