10
Nov
10

Any which way

The food network is going to kill me.

So, as some people know we moved into a larger apt. and it’s really, really nice to have more space. It’s like…wow we can have a dinner table and an actual living room. But of course more space means needing more stuff. And another thing, it’s still in the same complex which means the owners/property managers are super cheap and cut corners. We didn’t realize how ghetto they were and to be honest I think one of the reasons we are still with this property is the proximity to downtown and not really having to deal with new neighbors. But that is me bitching.

Anyway, my mention of the ghettoness is our issues with the phone lines. Out of the three phone jacks in the apt. none were working…which is an issue since we rely on the internet for major gaming and general amusement. So we called and told them to fix it…it took close to a month for them to fix it and their solution was so horrifying that it amazes me that people really this dumb…and not in ‘dumb’ sense but in the way that they just don’t care and don’t realize they could make more money off of apts. if they put a tiny bit of effort into these problems. When the guy finally came to fix the internet it took like two days in which I had to sit with him because he wanted to talk…so he asked me if I wanted kids and if I wanted to get married to my partner…totally invasive questions and so traditional…jeez I hate how people figure everyone wants these things. But I guess these questions are normal for most people so maybe I’m just weird. Then on the second day he actually connects the phone line….by running a fucking black cord one inch from the wall moldings with these huge staples and says he’s going to paint the cord…which he didn’t. So now we have this ugly ass cord around half the downstairs walls and the internet is seriously like 90s dial-up speed. Omg…Omfg….dial-up? WTF? am I seriously having to resort to DOS or something?

Ugh so this did not go down well with us. Watching movies on netflix was like watching shows on an old 40s tube tv. And don’t even ask about our gaming speed ::shivers::

So we got cable internet and t.v.

I’m totally bourgeois now but probably not as much as I think. And of course we had to get a new t.v. for the living room and got the new LED screen and a bigger size than Nathan thought we’d get but I’m Salvie…you’re not a true americanized Salvie if you don’t have your huge t.v. So now I’m watching the food network like a…well I won’t say it. I should have been a sailor based on my love for swears. And yes…the t.v. stand is super ugly but Nathan kind of likes it and for now it will do…it was here when we moved in haha.

Anyway, my whole issue is that I’m thinking so much about food now and I’ve been kind of slacking on food since I’ve been knitting and thinking up new ideas. But Thanksgiving is coming up and I’m sort of sick of the Tofurkey roasts. They are good and it’s pretty nice not to really think about cooking much besides taters and stuffing when the roast is pre-made. But this one show I was watching had a pre-cooked ham that was glazed with brown sugar and mustard (plus other goodies) in a pineapple juice bath…and then…omg…and then they pulled it out and attached pineapple slices and cherries to the ham and added more brown sugar and kept spreading on juice every twenty mins or so.

Now my mouth is watering and I’m like sooo thinking I want to do this to a seitan roast. I suppose the idea is the same in the sense of making sure the roast is well hydrated but allowing enough heat to glaze the roast. I’m going to have to experiment though because vegan meats/proteins tend to dry out/cook at around a third of the time as animal meats so I’ll really have to watch it.

I’ve really been neglecting a lot of things though in these past months like emails, blogging, cooking, and I’m sure more things. Knitting has really been taking a forefront to my life. I just finished a bonnet and I’m going to have to make more and take photos. It’s somewhat frustrating to knit because sketching out designs and then knitting them are two different things and the end product might not be what I imagined. It took me two tries to figure out my little washcloth design because the patterns weren’t to my liking or the borders were weird. And two tries doesn’t sound like a lot but when hand knitting different patterns and new ones at that makes it some what laborious and frustrating.

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In other news, we celebrated our fifth year anniversary since our commitment on Halloween. I baked a cheesecake and not to be whatever…but it was awesome!!! I probably should have baked it for ten minutes more but it was superb. I used the recipe from “The Joy of Vegan Baking” which is a really great vegan baking cookbook. I really loved that it used vegan cream cheese instead of mostly silken tofu which is kind of bland. The recipe added lemon juice and zest which really was what made the cake…it made the cake creamy and indulgent dessert while also being somewhat tart and crispy. I used a graham cracker crust which was really hard to find. If anyone is wondering…most graham crackers are made with honey which most vegans don’t consider to be…well…vegan. So I had to buy Amaranth graham crackers which were really good to eat by themselves let alone as a crust. I didn’t get fancy with the cake even though I had been wanting to make a raspberry or pomegranate syrup.

Our anniversary was nice but we’ve had some great memories over the last few months. This summer was fun since we had just moved into our apt. and so we had a few parties or pre-parties. Plus, a friend of ours got married so it was nice celebrate with them. But one of the best memories these few months was the Scissor Sisters concert in Oakland. We stayed in a pretty nice hotel that was a mile from the Fox Theater. It was so funny because we walked there but before I asked the desk manager how far it was and the directions. He thought we were crazy to walk a mile and wanted to call a cab for us but I was all, “No it’s ok, we walk all the time in Santa Cruz”…not that it makes me cool but jeez! one mile is like soo nothing. The hotel was really nice because it was on the water and had a great view. But the concert was so great…the best show I’ve ever seen and the best live singing/music I’ve experienced. It sucked because I’m so short that we had to stand on the stairs for the show because I couldn’t see over those tall people.

So that is the update…and if you ever get sad…fight fire with fire

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17
Oct
10

New Blog

Hi guys,

I haven’t posted in forever and it’s not because I have given up on this blog or forgotten to write. Simply, I’ve been really busy the last few months. We moved apt and have been slowly trying to make it look decent which is a work in progress. I’ve been knitting a lot and having to finish up all the requirements for my business while also cooking and cleaning and basically doing what needs to be done. Plus, I’ve been really into doing puzzles while watching Bones which takes away from my blogging time haha.

Anyway, I have tons of stuff to post but I won’t do it now. I just wanted to let you all know I’ll be making a new blog that is specially geared towards my company and the potential clients who don’t want to read about my personal life stuff. I’ll be sure to link the blog both on this post and on my blogroll. Hope that everyone is doing well and sorry for not updating for so long!

Update: Looks like wordpress.com won’t allow the etsy widget so I gotta build one through wordpress.org. At least that is what the etsy site is saying. I’ll try to finish it today but I haven’t had to build this kind of stuff in a long time so I’m rusty haha

 

24
Jun
10

I’m kind of busy

So I’m a nerd.

Hard core.

Seriously, two days out of my week are dedicated to raiding with my group. I lead one of the days so I’m awesome. I’ve never actually been with a group that is run by a RL (real life) girl/woman so I do feel a bit cool that I’m a girl raid leader (also RL). Raids are an online gaming thing. Most people run with guilds which are a group of people who are all together like a club. So all the ‘club’ members meet at a certain time and day to defeat bosses and monsters, etc. Of course it’s more complicated than this and way more nerdy but I love it. Originally, another guy ran the raid but random members joked that they wanted Raid Leader status and eventually I became the regular raid leader. So now I gotta know all my fights, what most classes do, and group utility. And, not to sound lame, I feel really cool doing it. I don’t know many female toons that play; let alone lead a raid and recruit people. So I feel important. Especially since I run a Pug (Pick Up Group) which isn’t a guild run, aka basically random people who band together for that specific raid. It’s harder since people don’t feel like they have to show up since there isn’t the pressure or obligation that guilds (aka clubs) have.

Anyway, tonight was horrible. They did a patch in the game and some of my regulars couldn’t come so I got screwed. Ack, so stressful leading this stuff. But I love talking to some of the people b/c they’re interesting and help me lead better and can actually talk about some interesting Real Life stuff. So nerdy but hey, I don’t try to assume that I’m cool…damn hipsters.

I love online gaming even though it can be really racist, sexist, and generally everything -ist. I’ve had to tell off people for being : racist against “Mexicans” (aka all latinos), homophobic, and generally just mean. It’s amazing that the internet can provide an area of anonymity in which people can throw out all social conduct. People will call others: fat asses, stupid/retards, gay, girls, etc. It’s horrible but sometimes….if you try hard enough…you can find decent people who are respectful even if they don’t always agree with you. So I think it’s an interesting space to explore and I’m a full blown nerd. I love cyberspace.

Anyway, my raid this week was horrible b/c I had to find a few new people b/c some couldn’t come. But one of my regulars logged in later and we got to chatting. I mentioned to him (haha all his toons are females too…another interesting aspect…many ‘girl’ characters are often played by men) a show called “The Guild” (watchtheguild.com I think) and he didn’t know it. It’s a small series that is based off of World of Warcraft and super funny….at least if you know anything about online gaming. And he laughed and told me the creators did this song called ‘Do you wanna date my Avatar”. It’s pretty awesome and so sexy. I wish I could be an Online character 😦

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In other news, I’m pretty sure we’re moving….

To an apt in the same building hehe. It’s so cool looking and has a spiral staircase. I gotta call the property manager tomorrow to ‘for sure’ stake claim on it but she pretty much told me that we could have it if we wanted. My mom gave a great point in that I’ll have way more work space for my business. Right now…I’m pretty confined to my chair and I have to lay all my patterns, books, and yarn all over my computer desk. So the space will help greatly. Plus the kitties will have so much more room to run around and not annoy me with their pleas for hugs and kisses.

Seriously, I don’t know why people think cats aren’t that affectionate. Our cats make us hold them like babies all the time, they make us snuggle with them, give them belly rubs, and give them kisses with their wet noses. I’m not making this up. They practically force it on us lol.

Anyway, the apt. looks cool and I’ll take pics if we do get it. We’re going to bribe friends with booze to help us move the heavy stuff lol. I’m really excited too because we’ll actually have room to have people spend the night. Our bird, Voxie, won’t be able to have her own room anymore but she has a huge cage. Worse case scenerio, we’ll get a Cockatiel to be her friend since they can’t mate.

If we do get the apt. we won’t be near the trashy people anymore especially since it’s an inside apt. And it’s two stories so our lame neighbors won’t complain if we play music loudly at midnight on a monday. It bothers us because we don’t have a Mon-Fri job that is 9-5.  I’m not saying those kind of jobs are bad but I think it’s lame that our neighbors (it’s the couple next door) expect us to listen to their parties on the “weekends” (aka friday-sunday) when our workdays end on Saturday. I mean…it’s a compact apt building and why should they get to play music and be loud during fri-sun when some of us don’t have the same work week? Sorry, but if they want to play music a bit loud until 1Am on a sunday then we should be able to do the same since we have a different ‘weekend’.

Bah, I’m probably just in bitch mode. I’m gunna pms soon but still…I think I have a valid point.

So ya, I can’t wait to invite my family up to our prospective apt b/c I hate that we can’t ever have people over b/c of our lame apt set up. Our bird will be mad that she doesn’t get an entire room to herself but she has a pretty big cage. The kitchen is small but I can work with that. It’s the upper floor that makes that apt. I’m so excited…I hope we get it because this post will be stupid if we don’t. 😦 anyway, gunna post this awesome song and maybe a clip of ‘the guild’. so funny.

Take care and eat yummy food

07
Jun
10

I’m sailing into the sunrise

Been buying stuff for our boat trip.

Super fun but stressful as well. Only posting a nice song since I have so much to do.

04
Jun
10

so much fun

so i gave my money info to the rep for my yarn order and was expecting my yarn to come in on Friday. They lost my info and didn’t call me til this Wednesday and called them today and had to give them my info. So gotta wait another week for my yarn…so lame and really don’t know why they set up accounts on the phone if they lose my card info and don’t call until a week later. Lame since I gotta now wait another week for my yarn…push back on my company now. ::sigh::

29
May
10

Yay for vegan shoes

Obviously, this post will have nothing important besides shoes.

Just warning people who might be expecting food or some political rants about stupid people and the government…well maybe a little now that I think about it.

So let’s see…my business is slowly but steadily pulling together. Good thing I’m not opening a store because I’d be past my opening deadline. I blame the govt. since it took 3 attempts to send me my stupid sellers permit and when they did the receptionist wrote my name wrong…Lirisa…FFS I spelled my name out for her and she had all the information in front of her on the computer screen. I was really about to go ballistic because I was scared that the permit was also going to be under my misspelled name which I’d have to send back since I don’t want the IRS showing up thinking I’m leeching off of my own Social Security.

I’ve ordered my yarn and I’m totally excited about it and apparently I’m on first name basis with the West Coast Rep. So Cindy and I are bffs and I felt really weird being all professional because I’m anything but professional. My stupid new voicemail is super professional and I feel like a sellout. And it’s pretty boring and I actually redid it a million times because I felt like I’d say things too slowly or too quickly and then I’d start giggling because who would have thought I’d go into business? Of course I added some nerdiness into the message so for all who know me you can call if you’re interested and I’ll ignore you until you leave a message just so you can hear it.

I gotta reinstall my photoshop and get my logo set up. I’ve done some sketches and pretty certain I know which one I like best. I’ve actually been getting back into drawing and been watching anime which just fuels my drawing habit. I’ve always been a doodler which Nathan always thinks is funny because his papers always look super nice and clean and my papers (from docs to receipts) are littered with cats, little anime drawings, flowers and if they survive that I usually turn them into little origami cranes. I think I’m a hand oriented person. Maybe that is why I like crafts and now pursuing a part time (maybe eventually full time) career in knitting. I’m a picky eater so I don’t think that at this point I can make my business full time since Nathan also gets off work late so we’d be eating dinner so late if I asked him to cook. He actually really helped me learn how to cook in the early stages because I was a baker more than a cook and followed recipes to a fault. The end results were always a bit bland so he helped me understand how to add spices or other things to cater to our tastes. I used to think baking as really rigid but now that I’ve read more and baked more extensively (ok my puff pastry needs more work) I’ve realized that baking is quite close to cooking. Some ingredients stay the same and when dealing with baking powder and stuff you gotta mix it rather quickly with the liquids but there is quite a bit of room to experiment. Speaking of baking…I got a bunch of cherries last week and I gotta make some cherry tarts or a pie. Mmm I love cherries.

Anyway, let’s see what else is on my mind. Our apt complex is slowly turning into white trash central. And not in a good way. Seriously…I’m so sick of these jerks yelling constantly…can’t they just pick up their stupid dog instead of yelling at it for 10min? Or how about you not yell to the neighbors who are 20ft away that you’re serving up cocktails? Jeez just walk over to them and mention that you’re having a get together and walk back. And I’m kind of getting scared for my cats because there is this one guy who every time I hear him on his cell he’s practically punching the other person on the other end. I’m scared he’ll spit on our cats or punch them. And I’m being totally serious…A common convo that I get the pleasure of hearing, “Shut the fuck up, I don’t need this shit with the cops when I’m trying to sell weed and I don’t need this shit about them watching me…” etc. Like seriously? I’ve been super happy the last year because our neighbors were nice and respectful (omg I’m going soft). But really…I don’t care if people have parties or do drugs but I don’t want to listen to all this yelling at 4pm about crap and Oh another peeve…they all park in the driveway when the rest of us have to pay for the yearly street permit. If half of us have to pay for the permit they should too because it’s not a bank breaker and it blocks our driveway when they park like jerks and we can’t get our bikes through. Nathan actually ripped his pants trying to get by the cars and he joked he should have keyed their cars. Maybe we’ll stick potatoes in their exhaust pipe. Well, now I can’t since this might be used as evidence…ah my criminal career is slowly dying.

I haven’t posted in so long that I feel like I gotta write so much. I’ve been reading the Three Musketeers and it’s so good! I’m really disappointed that the disney movie from the 90s is so not close to the book. It’s one of my favorites…god Tim Curry and Oliver Platt in one movie?!? So reading the book I was kind of blindsided on how different it is. I guess that’s what I get for being a disney loyalist. I’m kind of making this list of names for my imaginary children and now the musketeers are on that list. Athos, Aramis, and Porthos…although I can’t do Porthos since they’d nickname him Portly especially if we move to the UK. I really want Nikola after Nikola Tesla but then they’d nickname him Nick and I hate that name. Sorry for the Nicks out there 😦 I know it’s stupid but it’s something I picked up from my Carranza side…gotta pick names that have good nicknames because otherwise you’ll have kids with embarrassing nicknames. Grr, and at work Nathan often goes by as Nate and it drives me insane because I hate that version of his name. Not that I call him Nathan or Nathaniel in general since I usually give him one of hundreds pet names…I’m a sap I know.

Anyway, some subdued political stuff…People should check out Greenpeace and sign a petition to Pres. Obama to urge him to not agree to the debate of opening up commercial whale hunting. I already did and I think right now we are a bit short of fulfilling their goal. I have a strong anthropological background not because of my time at the university but because of my parents so, saying that, I understand some communities should have the right to whale if it is sustainable and historically cultural. But I think that many do it possibly because it may be the few options of employment and/or because there is so much money to be made. I personalized my message by mentioning that his daughter has been said by him that she wants to know what he is doing to save the tigers and so I think whales should also be on that list including all the living creatures on this planet from plants to the genius creating new technology. I know it’s sappy but, really, watching Star Trek a few weeks ago and watching them save the whales really reminded me of how far we’ve come and how the idea of saving one species was relatively new and yet still today people don’t seem to think about animals and plants as having a right to live. I joked that I got conned into donating 15USD a month to greenpeace but really…we spend at least 30USD on our online game so half that amount to me seems like a worthy expense. I always remember the Dodo from Alice in Wonderland and I’ve always been so annoyed that I never got the chance to see that bird because they were killed off. And I remember driving down the coast when I was younger and watching for the whale spouts and dolphins jumping in the air. I’m such a bleeding heart haha.

But anyway, I know some may not agree with the practices of Greenpeace or Peta (even I have some issues with Peta) but something like breaking the decades-long pact of not doing commercial whaling seems to me as if we’re reverting to the dark ages. We can’t rely on oil forever…maybe we could eventually make fuel off of poop and since some whales are fairly large maybe we could track whales and collect their poop? We shouldn’t cage them in though..I know it sounds stupid but isn’t that what a lot of old fertilizer was? poop and stuff? My point being…animals are constantly battling for survival and often just trying to avoid being killed through our transportation whether it be air, ground, or water. The other day when I was crossing the road to our street  I saw this ran over bird whose brain was exploded all over the road and I know it was some of its brain since it started at the head. There is no way a biker could have hit the bird so it probably was a slow bird that got run over. And the fucked up part was that I didn’t even try to pick up its body and move it somewhere…I felt like such a bitch…leaving its body because I had groceries on my bike and was scared that someone might steal my bike and food while trying to stop traffic for this dead bird.

Two other issues. The first one is short…I hope people are still reading up on the Haiti situation at least to recognize how so many countries and communities in the world need help. It’s why I don’t mind living in a studio because I remember that there are those who don’t even have the option of food everyday or health care and although I’m currently not under health care insurance I still can pay for it privately. The other issue the huge oil spill in the gulf. I really hope people realize how tragic and wasteful this entire incident has been. I’m not even sure if that oil can be collected and used but imagine how many animals are being threatened right now, the impact on the environment, and the impact on communities whom rely on the sea for their income. Plus, how much of our tax dollars are going into paying for this clean up when we could have spent the money on finding alternative energy sources. Just a thought.

I suppose I should end this post since I write so much as it is. Gunna post Nathan’s shoes and mine. Honestly…I’m really protective of cool stuff that I find so I might not share where I got my shoes because I don’t want to share how cute they are haha. I’ll try to post pics of us wearing our shoes but it might not be until the cruise in july. First up are Nathan’s shoes: loafers (which we haven’t ordered yet) and his dress shoes then mine 😀 Anyway, take care and eat yummy food.

P.S. For those who haven’t seen Paprika….going to link/post a great intro to it. This movie is in my top ten of all time for its creativity.

28
Apr
10

Apples and Peanut butter

Mmm. I ❤ Apples and Peanut butter.

Nathan thinks it’s gross so I’ve been forcing him to eat a bite whenever I eat some just to slowly break his will. I love the creamy butter with the crisp, crunch of the apple and the little peanuts that are on top. Mmm….I love texture too much.

Anyway, I just got finished reading this article about the regulation of organic foods. Check it out, short but a bit interesting. I see tons of articles on Yahoo that go on and on about which products to buy organic and which to skip and I find it really interesting how organic food is marketed. As much as I like to think I’m not a snob I probably am. I’m willing to pay pretty much any price for organic and fair trade but it’s not like I’m some millionaire either.

I suppose we have the luxury of buying high end food because of where we live and because we’re only feeding ourselves (plus our animals). But I mean, we don’t have kids which can really impact families in regards to spending which is why we should all have cats or dogs instead haha jk.

I don’t know, maybe I am a snob….I went a week without bananas because our local market was out of the fair trade brand and I had accidentally bought Dole bananas the week before. I was so freaked out when I realized my mistake because the market always has fair trade bananas and yet I still felt conflicted because either way people (workers) need jobs to survive but then I feel like if I give into that mentality then I’m being a complacent consumer who could change how products are sold, produced, etc just by my choices.

So that is my pretty much half the reason why I justify my organic/fair trade and somewhat local choices in food. But after reading the article I thought about the other reason(s) why I chose these products and it’s been really bothering me that no one points it out. I keep seeing articles that say we don’t need to buy organic potatoes or garlic or whatever it is although the lists always vary and half the time I think they’re crap.

I wonder why the organic movement doesn’t stress the importance of buying organic not only for our bodies but also for the benefit of the earth and animals. I don’t buy organic just for myself but also because I imagine all the horrible chemicals that have and still impact the world. I remember sitting in my Environmental Studies class in HS and learning about DDT and how eagles couldn’t reproduce because their egg shells were so thin that the the chicks couldn’t survive before they could hatch. And ya, this is where the whole snob thing comes in because I can sit here and say I buy all the organic stuff but that isn’t my point really. I mean we buy electronics  and who knows about some of our other items that have major impact on the world, animals, and people so that is why I try to keep in mind my own lack of concern.

I suppose what bugs me is that the organic movement seems really self absorbed in regards to humanity. We’re only concerned about organic food and pesticides because it could give us cancer but who cares about the fact that the whales are going to be extinct in the 23rd century and Capt. Kirk will have to fly around the sun to land in 1980 San Francisco… Well, actually maybe it’s not too far fetched since I think the ban on whaling is going to be disputed again in the summer which could be horrible for the whales that have been protected for decades…not that is has stopped countries from killing whales…ugh

Anyway, I suppose my question is why does the organic movement (and similar ones) focus so much on our bodies? Is it because it’s easier to scare people into caring about what is going into their bodies rather than trying to get people to care about the earth and themselves? Granted I’m not trying to say that the movement(s) are using scare tactics but I think fear does play into it when my conventional tomatoes might give me brain cancer or something. Maybe I just feel like the idea of organic/fair trade is becoming a bit shallow or not thought about. I’m sure lots of people have to pick which items they buy are organic or not because of their income and family size but I still think we should think about it in a bigger context. Like, maybe people can only afford organic apples but not potatoes but it shouldn’t just be because of what they put in their bodies because we’re putting loads of chemicals into the earth which supports us.

So that is my subdued rant. It’s a bit early for me to get too annoyed. And I hope I got my point across…I’m really horrible with that. I tend to give a lot of points but my main arguments sometimes don’t come through.

Nothing new to post really but I’m pretty excited that we got our yoga mats last week. I found this really awesome website called Gaiam months ago and found some cheap eco-friendly mats. I think ours were 20USD per mat which seems pretty reasonable. I totally want their 400USD sheets or whatever the price is because I’m a sucker and I love sheets to begin with. My favorite hobby is sleeping after all.  Anyway, so now that we got our mats we’ve been doing this Yoga/pilates workout and it’s so nice that we can stream our Netflix to the t.v.

I feel so lame but I know that we would never make it to the yoga center here in town. With Nathan’s work schedule and our tendency to work out at different times each week…I just don’t think we’d do well trying to fit in classes…so we’re doing it at home. To be honest, the first few minutes has us giggling for feeling so lame doing these yoga moves in our home but then the moves get harder and the next thing we know Yoga is kicking our asses. Seriously, the first time we did it we were recovering the entire week. I didn’t even know I had muscles in some of those places. I must say that some of the chicks following the instructor have huge guns. Omg, I don’t know what they’re doing but I’m pretty sure they could snap my neck by just flexing.

So we did yoga twice this week…it’s like a 40min video and it’s kind of nice to alternate between that and the machine. We’re so exciting.

The only other thing is that I’m getting really impatient for my seller’s permit. Gotta call them and ask what is going on. I can’t wait to buy all my yarn and I’ve been wanting to do some projects. Right now I’m taking a break from one of my prototype designs which needs some work so I’ve been working on Nathan’s socks. I was supposed to have started them 4 months ago. They’re coming a long nicely but I got almost no work done yesterday because I just discovered the show Better Off Ted. Omg so funny. And it’s weird because I thought Portia de Rossi kind of sucked in Arrested Development. I don’t know…everyone thinks I’m crazy….but I just didn’t think she pulled off that character. But in this new show I think she kills it…well the whole cast is awesome but I totally wonder why I didn’t like her in AD…maybe it was the writing or maybe I just couldn’t see her as being shallow and vain or something. Another mystery unsolved.

Glad to have wasted people’s time on my thoughts…haha. Anyway, I best be off to catch my bus. I should post soon but not sure if I will. Take care and eat yummy food.

11
Apr
10

April Showers

So I haven’t posted in quite awhile since I’ve been busy turning in forms for my ‘business’ (sounds so weird still). And busing has really disrupted my schedule It’s really quite nice not to drive but I now have to be more mindful of my time and am still figuring out when I should do certain activities in order to save time or maximize my time for knitting. My cooking has gone way down but I’m happy to say that I’m picking it up slowly but surely now that I’m starting to form some semblance of a pattern.

It’s funny because Nathan always thought my cooking was over the top and he didn’t quite get why I spent so much time in the kitchen….until I stopped cooking so much and was forcing bean and rice, sandwiches, and our pizza twice a week. He even came up with a nickname for beans and rice….Beans & Boring. So now he’s begging me to cook like I used to and I feel all smug about it. Ha!  that is why we need so much food in the fridge! it’s not useless! or the fact that we have no cabinet space because of all my ingredients and cookware! Hehe at least he admits defeat.

Anyway, I’ll probably be setting up another blog for my knitting experiences and business and it will so boring since I won’t be posting my rants since I have to be all nice for clients. Lame I know. Let’s see….what else. O.o got an iphone which is just awesome and I feel so cool. I’d take a picture of it but that seems a bit pathetic of me.

It was Nathan’s birthday yesterday so I busted out cookware and slaved over the oven…well not really only spent about 2.5hrs, maybe 3, making his food. He wanted tacos and noodles but we couldn’t possibly eat it all, or want to, so I decided on noodles. Noodles wouldn’t take so long but I have to deep fry the tofu which can take a while. I really need to re-season my wok but I’ve been lazy. Anyway, prior to making noodles I started on making a Chocolate Silken Mousse Cake from My Sweet Vegan. It sounded so awesome and looked great in the book that I thought I’d try it out.

So I had bought a 9inch springform pan, I keep wanting to call it springfoam, a small offset spatula, and a cake server thingy

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O.o looks so cool. I had another one that I was going to buy but the lady at ChefWorks totally messed it up…seriously, she works at a cooking store and she totally didn’t know how to work it but kept insisting that someone messed it up. I had been using it before and it was perfectly fine and functional and she proceeds to turn the bottom upside down and then wonders why it doesn’t fit. I felt too bad for her so I just let her assume that someone else had messed it up even though it had been working before she touched it. Oh well, I made sure to not let her get a hold of my new pan haha.

The thing I love about this cake is that there is no actual cooking involved. I’ve never had a mousse before so I’m not sure if those are baked. I’ll have to look it up after this post. So the recipe called for extra firm silken tofu but I didn’t want to use the vacuum packed tofu since it sort of creeps me out. I do use it in my pumpkin pie but since this cake wasn’t going to be baked I wasn’t sure if it would taste differently. So I went with the water packed tofu and I think I should have set it on some paper towels to get rid of more of the water. I just simply squeezed it before tossing it into the food processor.

For people working with blended tofu I would totally recommend using a blender. I actually use a blender for my pumpkin pie but I thought that since I was adding so much tofu it would blend really quickly. Ugh I never learn since I ended up having to sit there for 5 minutes making sure the tofu was completely smooth. Maybe my food processor is a bit big which makes it harder for all the chunks to smooth out but I find that generally blenders work faster for this sort of thing. Anyway, it was my first time using light corn syrup which used about 1/4cup for the crust and 1 Tbs for the filling. I picked up a bottle of it at Safeway and it was the 33% reduced calories which is nice since I didn’t particularly want to use it in the first place. The crust used Almond Meal which was a first for me also and gave a really interesting texture to the cake. I think it worked really well and I love texture in food. It’s probably one of the best things about eating. I love this vegan ice cream company that makes some really great ice creams like mocha almond fudge and a peanut butter one…mm texture.

Anyway, So I whipped everything up, melted the chocolate, and then added it to the tofu mixture. Poured it into the cake pan and smoothed it over with the spatula. Set it to chill for 3 hours.

Crappy pics I know but the metal is pretty reflective and I didn’t bother turning off the flash. The cake wasn’t easy to smooth out but I figured since I was topping it off with shaved chocolate it wouldn’t matter too much. After I put the cake in the fridge I started on making chocolate leaves. I melted some more chocolate, about 2-3 oz, and let it cool a bit. I tried using my pastry brush but the silicon ‘hairs’ were too big and really didn’t work. So I used the offset spatula again with much better results. Maybe I’m weird but making chocolate leaves really isn’t as easy as it seems. I think they turned out rather cool looking but not nearly as perfect as Martha Stewart’s version. Le sigh.

I really should have taken pictures of the leaves on the pink spoon since those ones looked much better. Anyway, after coating them with chocolate I set them in the freezer for 20min since I sort of forgot about them. Stewart recommends using kitchen tweezers to separate them but really…who has kitchen tweezers? Since the chocolate melts rather quickly if you’re touching the leaves I used a fork to guide the chocolate away from the actual mint leaves. Stuck them on a plate and put them in the fridge until dessert time. Now, before I post the pics of the end results I must warn others who try this recipe that the cake is really thick and it was not easy to lift from the rest of the cake. This is why I’m wondering if I should have tried to get rid of more of the water in the tofu prior to blending but oh well. Personally, it was really really yummy but it didn’t firm up as much as I had hoped and looked to me a bit like pudding with a crust. Still excellent and I can’t wait to eat some more tonight. I shaved some chocolate from a chocolate bar (had rice milk instead of cow milk), arranged the mint and chocolate leaves and added some raspberries. I must say that the berries really added a new dimension to the cake. We like chocolate but this chocolate heavy cake really was balanced by the raspberries that cut the sweetness and added a sweet but tart finish. Mmm. I want some more cake now just thinking about it. That’s the only down side of making cakes and pies….we often can’t finish them off before they spoil but at least Nathan got a nice dessert. Anyway, I’ll post the pic now. 😛

I like the second pic better but I thought I’d post both either way. See what I mean about it looking a bit like pudding with a crust? Still totally yummy. I’m kind of bummed that his presents didn’t come on time but they should show up on Monday. We celebrate birthday week really so it’s all okay.

Let’s see, getting some corn in at the markets which is nice as well as some green beans. I’m thinking of busting out the BBQ this weekend….well our weekends aren’t the same as most people’s. Anyway, I’m really craving some seitan kabobs with a side of baked green beans and corn. mmm so tasty.

Well, I’ll post more soon, take care and eat yummy food.

16
Feb
10

i had a dream i was eating chicken

Omg, so mad….just got an email from the vegan shoe company telling me Nathan’s shoes won’t becoming in b/c they ‘just’ found out that the company doesn’t make them in that size anymore…

Seriously, 7months later and they figure this out? Now I gotta go shopping for shoes again. Sometimes I hate being vegan haha.

15
Feb
10

Sabre or Sabré?

So, I know I tend to go off in posts because I’m kind of passionate about issues I feel strongly about.

God, sometimes I feel like I should check myself but then I remember one of my professors. She told us that we should be more angry…in a way I think she was telling us not to be complacent and just take it. I can’t remember what country she was from but I know she was from S.America and she would tell us how when her people were upset they’d burn buses and trashcans out of anger…I’m not saying we should be destroying property but I do believe in what she meant…that we should be angry and that there is nothing wrong with being angry in regards to injustices, hypocrisy, exploitation, etc.

Anyway, I have so much to write about but I won’t do it all in this post. I’ll mainly focus on more positive things. One of my new resolutions for the new year is to minimize my carbon/global footprint which means not driving. I haven’t driven for over a month…although I do admit I drove on Saturday for about a 1 mile round trip but I think that is pretty good in my opinion. I’ve been taking the bus, riding my bike, and walking everywhere. According to Google maps (omg I can’t believe I used that website but it was linked to our local metro bus website) I don’t really save much on gas since our car is really gas efficient. But then I got to thinking….there were at least 10 people on the bus at the time which means 10 less cars on the road that decreases the amount of idle gas that is being spent during stop lights/signs….or just fuel inefficiency. So even if my car is good at saving gas there are lots of cars that aren’t…and still…10 less cars mean less traffic and less pollution. It’s sort of a pain to look up the times but the rewards are walking more (more exercise) and saving the world.

Although I really hate our local pedestrians…seriously, if there is a lot of traffic and lots of pedestrians I tend to let cars go by and then walk with the cars that are parallel to me to make it easier for drivers. But so many people just walk when they could wait a few seconds and don’t care about traffic. On top of that they walk so damn slow. I tend to power walk because I like to get places fast…which is why I carry handkerchiefs b/c I’m always sweaty. But anyway, I always walk quickly across crosswalks because I don’t think I’m above others and should demand that drivers wait for me to walk my slow ass across the street. But so many people walk so slow and talk like the world revolves around them. Seriously, I was mentally telling the bus driver to run them over.

Oh and that is another thing. I like swears. I know it’s not refined or lady-like but I love swears. Sure, in polite society I don’t swear but I think these words have a place in our society. Even if I made up a new one word it would eventually become ‘bad’. Like….douche….it used to only refer to feminine products but now has a new meaning…just like stupid,idiot, retard, moron…etc but they can have different contexts too. When I think of ‘stupid humans’ I’m thinking about people who are smart but don’t give a damn about the world…they don’t see beyond what is in their direct vision…they don’t consider the poor and suffering…but in most contexts it means someone of ‘limited’ intelligence…which is really questionable b/c what does intelligence really mean? Someone can be a harvard graduate and fuck over thousands of people through chemical exposure through their company and they’re seen as god-like. And yes…I didn’t capitalize harvard b/c they can all screw themselves and their elitist educational system.

Anyway, positive…positive. working on my business but it’s a slow process since I’ve been doing so much busing/walking/domestic stuff and home improvements. Seriously, I asked the guy at the hardware store how to remove the glued-on handle and track of my drawer and he tole me the best way was to use a razor to cut the glue, then sand the glue off and then properly install the hardware…fun..I’ve begun doing it but cutting through glue that is super old is not easy. I think those home improvement shows should hire me b/c I know so much at this point haha. But yes, still organizing my business and I’m excited.

Let’s see..we finally got our curtains and put them up. I actually used the drill! I wanted Nathan to use it but then I thought, “I should do it because I’m just as capable”. But, well I loaded the bit correctly but I hit a hard part and thought it was a pipe so I asked Nathan to finish it. He told me I did a good job but that I had hit a stud and not a pipe so I could have finished it myself if I hadn’t been so nervous. Well, I didn’t finish putting up the curtain rods but at least I know now what I did wrong…he pointed out the indications of pipes vs. wood but I still did it…sort of!

I painted the kitchen awhile ago and it is so awesome. Before we got the curtains our neighbors (how snoopy) all told us how the color looked great. I like to think of it as Mexican/S.Western/Salvadoran. I really like yellow 😀 Also, I’ll be posting my grandma making her awesome sweet potatoes and my crappy tofu frittata. I used silken tofu and followed the recipe but I think firm tofu would have been better.

Almost forgot, I made Pollo Asado with fake chicken strips which turned out ok but not as great as my Seitan Asado tacos…Also used my Mr. Bento for Nathan. Tortilla soup, Spanish rice, Beans, and condiments. Mr. Bento kept the food really warm and Nathan had a great lunch 🙂

Omg, I almost forgot the point of this post….Sabre vs. Sabré? So the second most recent episode of The Office had to do with the new company Sabre taking over. And the employees thought the company was pronounced Sabré. In reality, the company was called Saber…or Sabre by english terms. It was funny because I thought of it in the spanish sense and Nathan thought of it in the english sense. But we both didn’t mention it until a day later. I was joking to Nathan how stupid it was that the company was named Sabre when it should have been said as Sabré. He looked at me like I was an alien…Sabré? No it’s Sabre ( like Saber) and I said…’no it’s Sabré!!’ We were both laughing at the episode for totally different reasons. I interpreted it in the spanish sense and he understood it in the english sense. So we’re still arguing over which version is right…sabre or sabré.

I’ve stated before that I have issues with words for this reason. I don’t really know the rules to words…sometimes words seem more spanish to me so I pronounce them that way…other times I pronounce them in the english way. I still argue that Sabre shouldn’t be pronounced as ‘saber’ but Nathan disagrees haha. But the point is that cultures are integrating into our normative,white society so even t.v. programs discuss these issues. It’s amazing and great…at least IMO…(IMO=in my opinion)

Lastly, I’ll post pics of my grandma making her sweet potatoes, my grandpa playing his Wii, my vegan pie, and my awesome kitchen.

Love this song.

This song reminds me of MJ. We should all remember him.

13
Feb
10

We are the world, but the world is not them

I really hate celebrities. Fuck them. they have so much money and give ::oh:a:million:: oh so much. But it isn’t that much in comparison to what they have. I’ve seen so much in my life and that isn’t even enough. Nathan has seen things I haven’t seen. I’ve seen the dead, the poor, the hungry, the infected….more than that…I hate that Haiti is some shallow icon of goodness in regards to our money.  I wish…sometimes I wish…that I could forget the things I’ve seen. But I can’t. Fuck the new ‘We are the World’ b/c it’s meaningless. They all sing and cry and it’s still black and white. Still woman and man. No diversity. Where are the latinos, asians, native americans, the eastern europeans,  the people who are unspoken for? What about the animals and plants? What about all those people we don’t think of but are slaves to our consumption? What about M.J?

Sometimes I get tired…tired of fighting. We need to remember that people are suffering beyond natural disasters. Sweatshops, human trafficking, plain ignorance…etc We need to remember everyone. Not just one sad event…people die for no reason…drugs, earthquakes, floods, political reasons…etc. those people shouldn’t be forgotten.

I remember when I tried to raise money for hurricane mitch in H.S. I got at most 40US. No one cared. I wanted people to care b/c my family was hurting….and here we are…donating money to Haiti and two weeks later it’s barely a blip on our radar. The new ‘We are the World’ is so lame. All these people are doing it and yet most of these people don’t give money in general. Brangelina adopt a bunch of 3Wld children and donate but they don’t really help in comparison to their monetary gains.

What would Jesus do?

I’m not super religious. but I try to live by moral codes. I haven’t driven a car in over a month…I’ve been taking the bus or biking…I don’t want to justify myself. But why don’t people care? Why don’t people give a shit? I hate crying. but I do it so much b/c I don’t understand why people don’t care. Sometimes, I hate caring so much…I wish I could be a bad person so I wouldn’t feel anything. but I can’t…

I feel so much. So does Nathan. We are the world…but is the world us?  I don’t know anymore. All I know is that we want everyone to be in a safe place. but that won’t happen anytime soon.

Sometimes…it feels like my heart is bleeding…that is why I don’t like to talk to people.  I just don’t know what to do.

P.S. We are the world original link got taken down so I’m posting a new one. enjoy.

29
Dec
09

I lived in an Orange

Back home in the SC

The drive from the OC was actually pretty fast until we hit rain at gilroy all the way to santa cruz. It was really nostalgic driving The 5 since I drove it quite often for weekend visits to L.A. I’ve become so spoiled though living in santa cruz because I couldn’t stand the smog…eww! hopefully in the future we’ll have cleaner cities because they are so great in so many ways. And I’m stating right now that I’m going to bitch about southern california but I’m also going to bitch about santa cruz so hopefully it will even out. Really, going to Orange County is like taking a trip to another world…I’m so not used to people not being nice not only to me but also workers. Nathan and I were commenting on how it’s really easy to tell how people are treated in their work environments based on a little conversation. I don’t know, maybe because of our background and ethics we really go out of our way to be nice to workers and it’s really infuriating when people treat workers as drones or as if they don’t exist. Like they’re little more than vending machines or part of a register. But despite some things that I dislike (which really can be found anywhere in the world) I loved seeing so many Latinos, Asians, well…people of color!

Omg, I remember when I first moved to Santa Cruz and I felt deprived of diversity. Seriously, I’d go to San Francisco just to quench my need for color. SC does have diversity but not in the same way and sheer volume and being that I grew up around so much diversity it’s hard to adjust even after all these years. Oh well, that is life I suppose.

Xmas was nice although I got sick and am still getting over it. I’m over the congestion for the most part and now just have a cough which should clear up within a week….stupid lingering cough. It’s always that phlegm that just hangs out. Anyway, I’m sure no one wants to read about my phlegm 😀 So, let’s see….I got lots of awesome gifts which I’ll being putting to good use. The only thing I hate about this time of year is that it reminds me to make a new list for the year of things we need to buy (or simply want) and that gets me into a bit of a consumption craze. But we really need these things (well I’m sure Buddha wouldn’t agree) and I’m excited about buying things. I finally found curtains that I liked that are sort of eco…I’ve resigned myself to white curtains currently because it seems easier but I found some that are decently priced and are cotton and have a liner which helps with the heat and cold so it’s supposed to reduce energy costs which is important to me. Also, I’m thinking about buying Eco Balls which would pretty much eliminate our need for laundry detergent and I’m going to buy a clothes line so I can start skipping the dryers.

I guess one of my goals for this year is to become even more sustainable, eco-friendly, mindful, and self-sufficient. Once we buy a bike trailer I’ll be able to do pretty much everything on my bike which is nice since our laundry mat is less than a mile away. Nathan teases me though about how I’ll look like some of the homeless/nomad people in santa cruz with my trailer but we both know how much cheaper and environmentally friendly it will be. To be honest, I want to hand wash our clothing but I just don’t think it’s feasible at this point in time. It just is too time consuming right now and I really need to focus on my knitting and potential cookbook. It’s kind of crazy that for a couple grand we can essentially replace our need for our car, but I doubt we’ll be riding our bikes to the mall….although we should really take the bus…ack so much pressure but we’ll get there eventually. One small step at a time.

Anyway, I think I accomplished a lot this year and some were on my goals from the New Year. I’m happy that I lost weight, but I still need to work on that…haha so that goal is still on my list. Let’s see. Most of the other goals were home improvements and cleaning which we did for the most part. I’m disappointed that we didn’t read as much as I had hoped but hopefully we’ll get more done this year.

Once I finish painting the kitchen I’ll refocus on my knitting…it’s so nice to have a bit of a break. I’ll order more yarn and start organizing my company on paper. Still a bit unsure about the name and I’m going to start off simple and small but I really want to get it going. I also need to work on organizing my cookbook but I really don’t expect that to be finished this year since I don’t know much about publishing and I need to gather all my current recipes and work on new ones.

Lots of goals but this year has been so positive that I feel really confident that this next year will be the same.

This is most likely be my last post for the year so I send all my love to the readers, my family, and the world and hope that everyone finds the happiness that we all deserve.

19
Dec
09

iBarf (or The Jackalope)

iBarf.

The new mac program.

I swear that our cats barf too much. I think they have worms actually so I have to go to the vet soon and get them some meds. Seriously, I was taking out the trash and recycling today and didn’t even notice that my jeans had barf on them…thank god I noticed before I started knitting because I really would hate to tell my family members ‘ya it had barf on it but I cleaned it’ . Anyway, working on my Xmas gifts and got more yarn in the mail. I feel really bad because I’ve pretty much neglected my home duties: cooking, complete cleaning, etc. I’m really just doing the basic domestic requirements because I’m trying to get everything done.

( I wrote part of this blog right after Thanksgiving but never published it so some of it may seem out of date but I thought I ought to post my writing anyway) In other news, Thanksgiving was fun. I made my Pecan Pie Tart which was tasty but not pretty at all. Most recipes call for eggs and corn syrup but I didn’t want to use corn syrup but asked anyway at my market…they didn’t have it. So I looked up a substitute and the joyofbaking.com said that 1 cup of sugar could be used instead. Well, I suppose that is true for certain recipes but not for this pie since the sugar crystallized and looked awful. Super tasty but not a beautiful pie. For the egg I used a 1/4 cup of silken tofu and for baked goods like pies and cakes it really helps to use a blender and mix all the wet ingredients together. I first blended the tofu but it was still chunky…then I added the rest of the liquids and it took on a velvety texture that was perfect for the pie.

For the actual meal, we bought the Tofurky Feast which consisted of a roast, gravy, potato dumplings, and a ‘jerky wishbone’. Threw out the wishbone, thawed the roast and gravy and started up the mash potatoes. Baked the roast with onions, potatoes, and carrots and fried up the dumplings in my new cast iron skillet. Nathan made his super awesome taters and cut the roast…I feel bad because I made him cut the roast ‘turkey’ style in the sense that he didn’t just slice it…well the package did say that it tasted better cut poultry style because of the cut, flavors, and stuffing. Honestly, the dumplings were alright for the first few bites but then we totally didn’t like them. I did like the gravy as did Nathan and we actually used most of it. Little left overs and a great ‘Thanksgiving’ themed dinner.

Mmm…tasty roast and pie/tart. It looks so small but it was so sweet I couldn’t eat more than a tiny slice.

In other food news…lots of mandarins right now that look so exquisite that it is almost hard to eat them. Also, made my first tortillas on my new skillet. So proud and great to eat. Last pic is RE sleeping on my knitting bag…it looks so uncomfortable.

Well, I’m updating this un-published post and I have so much to write but I won’t bother going into as much detail as I’d like. I’m mainly concerned with writing about the Jackalope or Lepus-temperamentalus. I just read some article on yahoo about jackalopes and I find it so awesome and interesting. I grew up with a lot of Southwestern influences and I remember my great-grandfather talking to me about them and I remember having postcards of them and at one point I think I had a ‘jackalope foot’ which in retrospect I can’t even bring myself to dislike despite my veganism. I don’t know how it came up in conversation months ago, but Nathan also knew of the Jackalope and we talked about them for awhile. Eventually, on World of Warcraft, we decided to make our own guild (a group of players that are essentially like a team…think of them like sports teams or people who share similar interests) and I thought up bunnies….well…bunnies didn’t seem masculine for some people to be happy with so I thought up the Jackalope…how awesome would that name be? So we mulled it over and brainstormed names and finally came up with ‘Return of the Jackalope’…a tribute to both the historical Jackalope and Star Wars.

I really love the Jackalope and apparently they do exist in some fashion but not necessarily in the same way as I think of them. The article on yahoo makes Jackalopes seem real because of a virus but I think it sort of demeans them. I feel like it’s saying, ‘Santa is real” when it’s more legendary and sentimental than a fact. For me, Jackalopes exist because I can’t imagine a world without them and maybe they aren’t seen because we don’t want to see them. It’s like scientists ‘discovering’ life in the world when those pieces of life have already existed long before ‘humans’ discovered them. Like atoms, or different ‘races’, or ‘prehistoric’ life that still live in this age…so many things are around us that we just don’t perceive. I don’t think I’m being stupid, naive, or imaginative when I say that I believe in Jackalopes. I don’t think we can disprove that they exist and even if people link it to a virus…well…how many interesting appearances occur through mutation? Should we say that blue eyes, black eyes, left-handedness, red hair,etc are only a genetic mutation or a result of a recessive gene being pronounced? Why can’t we accept beauty and uniqueness for what it is instead of constantly having to dissect its origin?

And that is another thing, I’m tired of my vets claiming that my girls aren’t sisters when they look alike and we were told they were sisters when we adopted them. I don’t really think the vet has the right to tell me that my girls aren’t related by blood because they don’t think they look alike when I know that cats and dogs have different looking offspring all the time. Even if they are not blood related I don’t see why the vet always has to point it out because to me they are my girls who hog the bed, make me hold them when they feel needy, and make me play  ‘soccer ball and mouse-y time’ with them. I don’t know…sometimes I do feel like my pets are my children and I don’t really think its about anthropomorphizing them. If I think about it….we assume intelligence on human babies and stupid humans so why can’t my kitties be my little girls. I don’t bottle feed them or dress them up but I do think they have feelings and think about things…like when they pull down my sweatshirt next to the heater to make a warm bed…well I think that is pretty smart. It comes down to two things…why are we so in touch with our biological children in terms of their needs when I also know the emotions of my cats which are considered ‘animals’ and why do humans consider themselves above other animals when we are in fact…animals.

I hope someday that there will be movies, plays, productions, and literature about how the world revolved around humans like the sun….like kings were thought of…I’m not saying that all animals are as ‘smart’ as we are but in some ways they are…we’re destroying the earth while little asian carps are being put on trial and executed in the great lakes because some shitty farmers couldn’t keep them in their pens and so we’re resorting to poisoning the water for animals we introduced. I think sometimes…we have too little faith in our own species in terms of what we can do…we could do a lot of good…but sometimes I think we have too little faith in what exists…Like the Jackalope.

16
Nov
09

eternal wish: to stop all suffering

So our cats have fleas

I had to give them their flea medication which I hate doing and rarely do because I know it’s a pesticide and really harmful especially since a vet assistant told me it’s used once a month because “it can make them crazy”. So really, I avoid it but seeing RE’s burgered buns I had to do something. Should have looked up PETA first. I’m not going to rant today about animal cruelty, gunna save that for another day, but I wanted to link this website that looks pretty promising…

It’s backed by PETA and I couldn’t find much info on the company besides other websites offering their products but it’s funny because I read one of their ingredients…garlic.

I was telling Nathan the other day how it’s weird that we don’t have flea bites since they sleep with us….it got me thinking…I know that garlic is like this super food/herb because it practically fixes everything and I think I’m wrong but I’m going to throw it out there but I think I read an article on how people with certain aspects in their blood fend off mosquitoes better. I really don’t want to say that garlic was involved but I remember thinking that maybe it had also to do with garlic since I know it repels vampires and people. I usually double, or triple, the amount of garlic in the food I make so it makes sense that we don’t get bitten as much as our cats. But I’ve been wondering about the garlic aspect for awhile and then this company actually talked about how garlic is really helpful.

I’m not going to write about veganism right now even though I want to…I’m so angry and upset that I tend to not read these things because it’s horrifying. But people use these kinds of tactics all the time and sometimes it’s not as productive as it should be or is degrading to the memory of these people/animals but I still think it’s good to know what is happening. Anyway, I hope people with pets will look more into things because it seems that people only really care about injustices that concern humans or the environment…we’ve been leaving out non-humans for so long and it’s disappointing.

Rosie’s Remedies

I’ll try to put this site on my ‘links’ too.

15
Nov
09

the reason why i don’t need human babies

10
Nov
09

Live long and prosper

Finished my first sock!

I’m so proud. Not as difficult as I had thought and really satisfying. I’ve ordered more yarn for my other sock pattern which should arrive friday AND my yarn from august is coming in on thursday! I doubt I’ll focus on the bigger project soon but I’m glad that I am actually getting the yarn. No news on Nathan’s Vegan shoes though 😦

Anyway, I started the second sock and have yet to weave in the ends of my first sock. I kind of don’t like that I didn’t use a kitchener stitch for the toe but oh well. It’s a bit looser than I would like in the ankle area but oh well…at least the new sock book I have has taught me how to adjust size a bit more so I’ll have to keep that book as a reference in the future.

Picture 428Picture 429Picture 431

I really hate weaving in the ends of items. Just so annoying to do after having spent time knitting the item and then having to do extra work. But I’ll save that task till the next sock.

In other news, I have made my vegan goat cheese but haven’t gotten around to making my tarts but I hope to post those soon.

My mother told me of this new show called ‘V’ which is a remake of the older series back before I was born…I think. For my mother, the reference to Firefly goes further because the leader of the Visitors is actually the high-class escort/prostitute/cultural equal which we thought was so awesome. I hate shows like these because of the scary music and I had to make Nathan hold my hand and I muffled my mouth with my hair because I was afraid I’d scream if it turned out scary. I’m a total sucker for scary music.

Which made me question why we don’t have more happy alien shows/movies…I could only think of ALF and 3rd Rock from the Sun. Personally, I don’t like scary movies or scary/drama movies/shows because I’m a huge wiener. Seriously, Nathan can turn around and say ‘boo’ (which he has) and I’ll scream. I’m just emotional and I’m not saying that because I have two XX that I must be emotional…I’m sure if I had a X and a Y I’d still be a weenie…I’d like to blame my parents for not toughening me up but maybe it just has to do with my personality. I actually sort of screamed at the laundry mat last week because the manager talked to me while I was turned and didn’t see him. I think he felt really bad about it but I reassured him that I’m just that lame.

Maybe it has to do with my Disney upbringing. I would get scared on the Snow White ride…still kind of dread it. I don’t know…I’m just one of those people who likes everything to be rainbows and happy carebear stars. Not saying I don’t like gritty films or dramas, but scary stuff just doesn’t make sense….I’m such a weenie.

Currently reading Mansfield Park and Closing the Food Gap, but I tend to read fiction faster than non-fiction…I think I like the imagery and imagining what it would be like to live in those times. It makes me think about the social/cultural roles of the sexes and how much money plays into the lives of us all. But it also makes me think about how the more influential people are historically the more corrupt, sad, and wrong many of these people were. It almost seems that being poor (or not wealthy) is a way to a more peaceful life in terms of being manipulated and corrupted. But I suppose the trade-off is being more exposed to hunger, poverty, disease, being put on the front of war time hostilities, and so on. I think I like Jane Austen because she wrote so much about marriage, social mobility (or the lack/downfall of mobility), and moral/individual education of women that it makes me ponder why our society works the way it does in present day. Especially since she nor her sister never married and I really can’t wait to visit England since I think the British Museum (if i remember correctly) has the only painting of her and her sister. Of course, my personal history has no/little links to European society but as a post-colonial/oppressed/erased legacy I find her works really interesting.

Anyway, I won’t get into some random post about this since I feel like I’m talking out of my ass half the time. But I like to think that this blog is a space for me to think out my thoughts even if I question what I wrote the next day.

I’ll end this post now. Take care and Eat good food.

P.S.

My mother recently brought up how Gwen Stefani is totally into colonial exoticism which (not to brag 😛 hehe) I’ve noticed for some time. I remember the first CD that I actually bought (with a gift card but I picked it all the same) was a No Doubt CD. I can remember the place and time and thinking how great the band seemed on the radio and I used my card to buy it. But after so many years of watching her it’s both sad and fun because I must admit that I do like some of her songs…but this one I really hate because it just seems so exploitative but I’m sure some of her other ones are deeply offensive as well to certain people. I hate posting it since it seems like I’m promoting her while criticizing her but oh well.

I don’t want to go off but notice the Mexican foil candy, the Virgin de Guadalupe shirt torn in half to reveal her bikini top/breasts, her hair which is kind of latina, the nail salon scene, the fact that her Japanese girls are acting black/latina, the Pinatas, the Frida hair style, the entire outfit, god damn it’s so maddening. It goes beyond playing some part in a music video…at least to me…it seems wrong but whatever…just wanted to post it for reference.

07
Nov
09

Creamy

Time for some reflection.

It’s been a little over a year since I began this blog and a little longer since I began my journey into ‘domestic’ skills. I was looking back at my old posts and was seriously shocked at how bad some of my food was…not saying it’s super awesome now but I think I’ve come a long way. And sometimes I look at all the things I’m doing and I feel very much like a “Jack of all trades but master of none” because I love to explore but sometimes I don’t have the time, skill, or patience to hone some of these skills. I’d really like to make more pastries but we honestly don’t eat many sweets so we end up tossing a lot of it away. I’ve been trying to make smaller batches to prevent this but even still it’s likely that we won’t eat all of the pie, pastries, cupcakes, etc that I make. Maybe once I start making my mini tarts I’ll be able to make smaller batches.

But another problem that I run into is the vegan aspect. I’ve read so many random ways to sub for eggs or other agents but it’s really hit and miss depending on the item I make. I haven’t really found concrete sources that really help with subbing. Applesauce is good for more condensed items that don’t spread, flax is good for earthy foods, bananas can be hit or miss because sometimes it overpowers other flavors, the list goes on. I made some Persimmon cookies and I didn’t have any flax meal on hand because I keep forgetting to buy it. Didn’t have any bananas, applesauce was out of the question because of the spreading issue….so it left me with a few options…use cornstarch, a weird baking powder/oil mix that I use occasionally or leave out the egg altogether. But eggs are so great for baking that I really didn’t know what would happen if I left the egg out and I couldn’t find good vegan recipes so I used a Tb. of cornstarch…maybe 2…can’t remember. I also cut the recipe in half which meant only using one Persimmon for the pulp but I doubled it since it seemed a bit too dry (probably the lack of wetness since I used the cornstarch instead of a wet ingredient) and the other Persimmon was almost going bad so I figured it would just make it more Persimmony. I found the recipe on either recipezaar or allrecipes…but changed it to include more pulp and vanilla extract. I’ve never baked these before but they were really soft when they came out and I was worried that they’d be gummy and lacking consistency but they firmed up once I let them cool. Personally, I couldn’t taste the Persimmon but maybe it’s just subtle but Nathan said he could taste it. It seemed like a sweet Oatmeal cookie to me.

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The batter was really orange but they came out more brown which was kind of disappointing. They’re super yummy and Nathan even stole one after they came out of the oven which seems promising since he never usually likes to eat sweets. Did I mention in my last post that I made some roasted pumpkin seeds. Mmmm…I remember making these as a kid with ‘Cajun’ spice but simply used olive oil, coarse sea salt, and some cayenne pepper. Omg, so good. I had so many I was super regular all week lol. I was planning on making potato-leek soup with my goat-cheese/tomato tarts tonight but I didn’t want to chance that it would suck so I’m going to wait a until sunday to make it. I did make my vegan cheese which I’ll have to post later. The recipe is on Veg. Times website and it’s ‘Pepper-Crusted Cashew Goat Cheese’…I ended up baking it for about 50 min instead of 35 since I forgot to turn it since I was knitting. It looks promising but I haven’t tried it yet to know if it’s good or not.

Anyway, this post is all over the place tonight. So many thoughts going through my mind. I bought some more dahlias and Nathan seemed to like the ones that looked black…not sure if they’re actually black dahlias but they look awesome.

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Crappy pic I wanted to post them since I’m not sure if there will be more of them next week. Thinking about the kitchen…I feel really awesome because I replaced most of the cabinet door handles all by myself and it wasn’t easy. I don’t know who installed half the shit in this complex before we moved in but it was done so horribly I seriously think they did shit work and kept the rest of the money. One of the handles I have to replace wasn’t even screwed in…it was glued on. And one of our drawers has a cheap plastic runner so the wheel is now square…I want to replace it but they glued the runner instead of screwing it into the wood…so now I have to figure out how to get the glue off and then buy a new runner and install it…ya I’m so hardcore…no wonder my nails are always splitting with all the housework I do. 😦 I wish I lived in the 1950s and just cleaned and baked…haha But back to the cabinets…they look better than the cheap ass plastic handles that were so worn and falling apart but I really need to paint the wood since they used crap paint…they couldn’t even be bothered to take off the hinges before painting the wood…they seriously just painted over them…but I should quit complaining because we live a lot better than many people in the world so bitching about cabinets is sort of mundane.

I’m still knitting my sock which seems so slow but with all the cleaning, home improvements, and cooking I haven’t had much time this week. I decided to watch movies today instead of the radio which didn’t help me speed up my knitting but it was nice to take a break from listening to the radio. Watched ‘How to marry a millionaire’ and ‘The big sleep’. I really love Humphrey Bogart now and I just think our society is becoming so square in certain ways. I know that women have better opportunities now, in general and not taking into account race and socioeconomic status and all the other factors, so I know it’s not like many women/men in these movies are a good portrayal of how they lived. But The Big Sleep was so great and it makes me wonder why we’re pushing so hard to make 1st Wld. citizens live to be over a hundred. Sure, I’m a huge advocate of living healthy and ethically but I also don’t understand why certain activities are condemned for medical reasons. It’s like our society is mandating a ‘healthy religion’. Doing drugs, drinking, swearing, or not having a certain type of lifestyle is accused as being excessive, life-threatening, or wrong…and I’m not saying that people should do these things just for the hell of it but I think back to my history in Protestant Orange County and wonder why so many of my peers were so against exploring. I seriously am confused when Nathan tells me how he knew so many white Catholics (and Catholics in general) in St. Louis because I never knew any in Orange…only latino/as were Catholic. But anyway, I’m not advocating that we do a bunch of socially wrong activities but I think we need to loosen up a bit. Like the smoking ban in Santa Cruz….I personally hated when people smoked in diners or in airplanes but I don’t think we should police these things in such a way…both legally or culturally.

Why is it that we’re so focused on abortions, drug/alcohol consumption, and our work status when people are committing mass murder by exposing people to horrible working conditions that affect entire communities? Sweatshops exploit people, create worse shanty towns/environmental conditions, are usually abusive in regards to women, and create little or no job security for the workers. We have people like Bernie Madoff who fucks over people for money, other CEOs who can’t be bothered to take a coach class airplane seat instead of private planes, our government which has historically abused people, created coups, enacted embargoes for lame political reasons, and generally dicked over a lot of citizens by sending them off to wars that shouldn’t have been started and has taken away food support instead of trying to get communities out of poverty. And we, as a collective society, are concerned about if someone wants to smoke weed or a cigarette?

I mean, honestly, where are our priorities? It feels like we’re tying to make everyone live a long time so that we get max production out of people to feed taxes while keeping us ignorant to bigger issues. We don’t even have full health care which is just criminal…sometimes I feel like I’m becoming a Libertarian which I hope doesn’t happen haha. But honestly, I feel like the 1st Wld. needs a wake up…we should be more concerned about where our electronic parts are coming from in terms of raw materials than if someone wants a random smoke. We should be more concerned about the working conditions of outsourced industries that affect millions of people rather than if one woman decides she doesn’t want to carry a fetus for her own reasons.

And that is another thing, I got crap sex ed. To be honest, I’m grateful that I had friends in high school that talked about sex even if they weren’t practicing themselves…and I had a great Environmental Studies teacher who talked to me and my class partner about contraception when we asked her what our text book meant when they listed all sorts of contraception because we had no clue what anything other than a condom was. I read recently that abortions are on the decline in countries that have a wide variety of birth control which seems to me as a good sign…why does the U.S. feel that the best form of protection is not having sex. It’s unrealistic…I mean some venereal diseases have been around for centuries…sex is what makes life possible and genetics make things possible or impossible. We pump women full of hormones for their eggs or surrogacy and let couples pay thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars to create children but if a woman doesn’t want to have a child then they might as well have sold their souls to the goddamn devil.  Seriously, people all over the world are living in horrible conditions, get no help with substantial political stability from their former colonial powers, are subjugated to slavery/trade/migration because the 1st Wld. is so xenophobic and apathetic.

This post is so all over the place, but I just don’t understand why the U.S. pushes certain agendas. Well, I suppose our society pushes them to make us forget about bigger issues…at least that is how it seems to me. And I write this because I feel if I type about it then maybe others might think more on these issues. It comes down to what does it mean to be political. I’ve done more marching and protesting than most people in my lifetime because of my parents. Just because I’m not ‘actively’ protesting doesn’t mean I’m not doing anything. We live in a very consumer driven society and I am always thinking about what I consume…mainly food because I do believe that ‘we are what we eat’. I’m blessed that I can eat so well. I might not be a professor or employed by an activist organization but that doesn’t mean I’m not doing my part. I think one of our biggest obligations as a world citizen is to read and think critically and then to talk or write about it. Also, not everyone can a ‘full-time’ activist because we need people to work in certain occupations to make our society function…we can’t all be full time activists because we need people to sell, market, clean, etc. It’s just a reality. But at the same time I think we ought to strive to encourage more people to think globally. Everything we do effects the world, especially in regards to 1st. Wld. citizens.

Anyway, the last thing I’ll bitch about, I think people with peanut allergies should all die…ok ok I don’t mean that. But I’m so tired of trying to find peanuts at my local markets because people have peanut allergies. First they take away my airplane peanuts and give me some horrid pretzels. Then they slowly take away peanuts from everywhere…and I mean everywhere! I finally got some peanuts at Wholefoods but then they took most of the varieties away and now there is the lone vacuum-packed bag that sits in a corner away from all the real nuts. 😦 Personally, I don’t understand why they didn’t just offer two types of snacks on airplanes and really…is it the peanut’s fault that people are allergic to it? I say no, leave the peanut alone…it’s a mofo’ing legume!

Vive le legume!

04
Nov
09

I ain’t ‘fraid of no ghost

I can’t believe it’s Nov. already.

Where does time go? It seems like yesterday that I was in HS waiting to turn 18, then 21….and it felt so slow. Now I feel like the years go by so quickly but maybe I’m just getting nostalgic in my old age. Halloween was pretty uneventful which is a good thing since there are usually a handful of deaths each year. Celebrated our 4th anniversary since our commitment which was nice…I like to look up the wedding gifts for fun especially since the modern ones are so unromantic. This year was Appliances for the modern day. Appliances? ok sure, I actually did ask Nathan to get me the Le Creuset Skillet and we’re going to get him this awesome bag specially made for him so we weren’t planning on romantic…and ya so my gift would kind of be an appliance but really? Who thought up appliances as a wedding anniversary gift?

“Here you go honey, a new food processor to make me food!” or….wait…what kinds of manly appliances do guys use? Irons? Haha I usually iron….oh wait I got one…”Oh Nathan, here’s a Fry Daddy so you can make your deep-fried tofu”

I think the traditional one for this year was linen which is so much more abstract and imaginative than…appliances. Bah, stupid modern crap….I think they should come up with a post-modern list that would include: kindle, iphones, ipods, basically anything mac related, and something labeled as ‘green’ even if we don’t know for sure if it is actually sustainable, eco-friendly, or/and fair trade.

So we didn’t do much but we had a lot of fun thinking up a design for our pumpkin and doing our costumes. I’m proud that Nathan carved the pumpkin so well since I suck at it. He’s randomly more logical than me in certain areas and apparently pumpkin carving is one of them. We brainstormed what our pumpkin would look like and drew out some ideas. He set to work while I made the pizza since I wasn’t going to mess with our year long tradition of Pizza Saturdays. I seriously think the only time we’ve missed out on Pizza Saturdays is when on vacation which is pretty awesome if you ask me….which you didn’t.

We totally got compliments on our pumpkin but it sucks that our candles kept running out. Then I started freaking out because the candles we had were super old so I have no clue if they’re vegan since I’ve had them since before I became one. Now, of course, I’m looking into making vegan candles since it seems easy and relatively cheap and good for emergencies…especially since we have quite a few power outages up here. Anyway, I’ll post our pumpkin.

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Can anyone guess who it’s modeled after? Or is it whom? I really need to look that up but I think ‘whom’ sounds really lame. Anyway, for those who didn’t guess it’s supposed to be Paul Stanley. So awesome…really the mouth totally makes it. It’s super tiny just like his mouth in most pictures. Nathan was really upset because we didn’t have all the fancy tools to make really crazy designs especially since he thought it was totally cheating. He kept bitching that it’s not fair to use all these random tools to get some great looking pumpkin and then also using patterns because it makes our pumpkin look not so creative but I reassured him that ours was way more original so screw the pumpkin tools. I think the compliments helped with his mood since our neighbors seemed to get the reference.

So since we usually love Halloween but don’t usually plan we felt pretty good with our face make-up. We didn’t actually dress up but just did KISS faces. I was Peter Criss and Nathan was Paul Stanley. We’re on a KISS theme this year…and I mean the entire year we’ve been loving them. I was kind of annoyed since the Cat Man had way more make up then the stupid Star Child. Took me twice as long. We had lots of fun listening to KISS and random bands while getting ready. Really, I think it’s one of the best Halloween ideas that I’ve/we’ve thought up.

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We used pink ‘drum sticks’ for a lot of our pics which was really fun. Re was the drum for Nathan’s picture haha. Also, I wore my red boots which look way cooler than the picture I posted. Nathan calls them ‘Fuck me’ boots which I thought was too funny. I just thought they looked like quirky red boots.

I know that my make-up wasn’t totally original since I wanted to make it a bit more fem. since I looked really weird with the black make-up going to my forehead so I washed it off and just made them reach to my eyebrows. I also didn’t have any green eyeshadow so I used blue instead. And I have a ton of red-eye fotos of myself which is so irritating. I guess it has to do with certain pigments and random biological crap that I’m not going to write about since it’s easy to just Yahoo it…that’s right…not Google….Yahoo! I hate stupid google…::grumbles::

Unfortunately, I’ve pretty much decided to remove my lip ring since it’s so hard to find the right size and gauge. I’m really sad about it…but even when I found the right ring I ended up eating the balls so quickly that it was stupid and then it’s kind of hard kissing sometimes because it moves around or if the ball is missing it pokes me or Nathan. Maybe that is too much info, but I’m really sad about it. I need to find another place to pierce now…especially since I got that piercing as a bet against Nathan. It has so many great memories.

Have I mentioned I started composting? I’m so proud of that and it’s really fun to dump my food clippings but someone hid the shovel this week so no one has been able to turn over the compost lately. I also am waiting for our Sigg water bottles which should help cut down our plastic water bottle consumption. Um…let’s see what else…oh! I bought some small tart pans with removable bottoms so I can’t wait to make some vegan goat cheese-tomato tarts and maybe some vegan dessert tarts! so exciting….and I should be making some Persimmon  cookies this week.

The only thing left really is knitting now. Not to spoil Christmas but I’ve pretty much given up on making big items for my family this year for Christmas since I still am waiting on my big order of yarn. So, everyone who is family…I think I’m going to make socks since they are so awesome. I really hate Christmas since 1. Nathan and I are only children and really hate opening presents in front of people because it feels so weird and 2. I never know what to get people even if it’s Nathan and 3. it makes everyone go into ‘shopping spree’ mode. Even Nathan…omg I’m still mad at him for buying me this huge computer screen since we originally agreed to only spend a certain amount on each other. He justified it by saying that I never get anything since I hate spending money on myself so he wanted me to have something really nice…haha so post-modern…instead of jewels he buys me a huge computer screen. We’re so weird. But anyway, Christmas is so hectic but I hope my knit gifts will be nice and awesome because the designs that I have are so beautiful.

My sock is coming a long nicely and almost done. I finished the decreases for the gusset and am working on the foot but I haven’t worked on it this weekend since it was our anniversary so I’m a bit behind. I can’t wait to finish these socks and try the patterns out of my new book. To be honest, I made a swatch (to check the gauge of the yarn/needles) and it was actually smaller than the pattern stated and it’s still a bit larger than my foot. It’s not super loose but I really like my socks to be tight fitting. One of the reasons why I like this new sock book is that she gives tips on how to make a sock fit better for each pattern and gives the standard size for the pattern which is nice since I generally have smaller feet than these patterns and Nathan has bigger feet than these patterns. Anyway, here is my progress.

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So technically, my swatch was smaller than the pattern and yet the sock is still a bit bigger than I had expected. It might have to do with the yarn since I’m not using the silk/alt fiber that the author recommended but I can’t believe it’s as loose as it is. But I think most patterns are for ‘average’ sizes which probably means it’s meant for a size Woman 8 and I’m a 7 so that might make a difference. Damn, that picture makes my foot and calf look fat…Anyway, I ought to log since this post is so random. Take care and eat healthy food!

And if you don’t blast this clip and watch it…well…something is wrong with you 😛

29
Oct
09

tallahassee

I love Woody Harrelson.

He’s super sexy and really into talking about smoking weed which is kind of awesome. That and we just saw Zombieland and he was super fun in that and apparently he’s a vegan and does a lot of activism. Brangelina was so 2005….plus I totally have never liked A.Jolie. Ok, in Lara Croft she was kind of awesome at the time but we watched the movies a few months ago and god was it awful. Anyway, back to Woody…he’s just really unique in that he can do and wear stuff in movies and pull it off.

The movie was pretty good except it was pretty scary for me. I actually screamed which was totally embarrassing but I don’t think it was too loud but still…humiliating. I don’t know why I’m so afraid of movies since I know logically there weren’t velociraptor in my Grandparent’s house, or that creepy Japanese horror undead weren’t in the bathroom as I took a shower, and logically I should have known that there wasn’t an axe-murder in the bathroom or zombies. But it didn’t stop me from practically running out of the movie bathroom since right before I walked in there was this scary poster for The Fourth Kind or whatever. The bathroom was totally deserted and I kept thinking ‘what if someone is in the stall next to me and I’m going to die while peeing?’…Pee Faster! Pee Faster! was my mantra and then I kept turning around while washing my hands because I didn’t trust the mirrors with my reaction time…but I still took the time to open the door with a paper towel since I didn’t want germs.

Then I had to go and watch Zombieland and well…no spoilers…but I was scared the rest of the night. Good movie though. Just wish I wasn’t so afraid of scary movies.

We also went to the bookstore and picked up some things and I got a new knitting book that looks really awesome and helps with sock/knitting design. I’m excited. Anyway, my sock is coming together nicely…I’ve turned the heel and really pretty close to being done…hopefully.

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Looks more like a sock now I suppose.

Went to the Farmer’s Market and it definitely had a different feel from the earlier months since the wind has been picking up lately and the tourism has really died out. I feel kind of bad because I didn’t pick up any squash because I really didn’t want to walk half a mile with a bunch of heavy squash. I already get sore feet and achy shoulders from carrying it all back to the laundry mat that I figured I’d just buy some at the grocery. I did see some lovely squash flowers and picked up more of my Dahlia’s.

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I don’t think we’re going to eat the Spaghetti squash but instead might do some carving since I only bought one big pumpkin since they weigh a ton. I’m planning on roasting the Acorn Squash and then filling it with a wild rice pilaf which I’m excited about since I have some chestnuts that I’m going to throw in. I also got a sweet pumpkin for my pie that I make. Still gotta try and find some evaporated soy milk online but I keep forgetting.

Anyway, I didn’t want the flowers to go bad so I thought I’d make Butternut Squash ravioli with a Sage-Butter sauce with a side of Bean Stuffed Squash flowers. Many of the stuffed squash flower recipes were either with cheese or some weird vegan nut cheese recipe that I just didn’t have the energy to make. Instead, I pureed a can of Great Northern beans with some garlic, thyme, and some sea salt. Removed the stems and the stamen since I read that most flowers are the males since they let the females develop and whatnot. I did find a little caterpillar nestled in one of the flowers so I helped him outside into the green grass. Washed and shook dry and made a slice on one side of the flower for easier stuffing action. I must say, I’m proud of my little bean dip and I really want to make some more for dipping veggies and bread in. I made about 20 stuffed flowers and ended up using all of the bean spread (with a little bit for me to eat off the spatula). I pan fried them although I think a lot of people deep fry them. Set them on a paper toweled plate in the oven at 250 to keep warm while I finished off the pasta and sauce.

I really need to remember to buy a pasta roller/machine thing because making pasta dough is easy but I never can roll it out as nicely as I want to since it dries out, won’t roll, and generally is a bitch. I managed to make 9 raviolis and they were pretty dough heavy but I did stuff them to the brim. I got the recipe off the food network…basically roast the squash and get a cup of insides and puree it…slice up some shallots, cook in some oil, add puree and let cool. Then stuff. For the sauce…just melted butter with some sage that I left cook while the pasta was boiling. Topped it off with some minced flat-leaf parsley. I think it’s an Emeril recipe and I just omitted the dairy for those who want to look it up.

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These blossoms really reminded me of tamales since the bean puree was thick and the petals wrapped nicely around the filling. I must say these were delicious and I still have more that only need to be fried up so it will be a good snack. I really was motivated to make the filling with beans since I wanted to get a fair amount of complete protein even though I know that some vegans don’t think it’s necessary for each meal but we really hadn’t gotten much protein today. Unfortunately, Nathan was totally weirded out by them. Well, partially my fault since I told him about the caterpillar I found in one of the flowers so he was freaked out that there were bugs in them. And he knows, logically, that we eat bugs all the time and that a little bug here and there isn’t a big deal…but he can’t get around that phobia which is ok. Plus, I kind of have to force him to eat flowers in salads since for some reason it freaks him out. Oh well, I loved them and it just means more for me!

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Those little flowers barely had any room on that plate! Well, I have to admit it wasn’t my favorite dish and I probably won’t try it again. I think I may just not have a tolerance for Butternut Squash right now…it was just a bit too overwhelming. I only ate 3 of my 4 and it was hard because it was just too much squash. Even if I made them smaller I would have to make another dish to fill me up which just seems insane since I spent about 3 hours making dinner (including roasting time so it wasn’t always active time). I was surprised that I ate the sage since I’ve always hated the smell because it’s always so pungent that it gives me a headache. But it was mellow in this dish and I did like that. Overall, a very beautiful dish but I think next time I’ll stick to my tofu ricotta ravioli. And not tell Nathan about the one bug I found in the flowers haha.

Some of my flowers were burgered so I had to cut off the stems but I filled a small bowl with water and placed it in the bathroom for a bit of a Central American representation in two rooms.

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I love these flowers..have I mentioned that yet? They’re like my fall Daffodil…so bright and lovely and I just want to lay in a field of them…but who knows…I think they grow like bushes but still….maybe a field with tall grasses and Dahlia bushes. I remember my childhood when I see these flowers. In Santa Barbara I explored so much; the lagoons with their succulent plants that always seemed to be in bloom, the tall grasses of my elementary school where a bunch of kids would tunnel through the grasses like rodents making our paths, and the Family Student Housing gardens that always had fields of poppies that I used to lie down in while watching the sun set. I love playing online games and I really hate having to defend them from those who think that players give up on life and only enter the ‘world’ through a certain virtual reality. But I think that so much of our memories and realities are self-conditioned and our society shapes our realities much more which can be devastating for some. Dealing with racism, physical hardships, socioeconomic gaps, the list goes on…but all those realities can be hard to deal with and I’m not saying that we should advocate for complete escapism or lack of activism but sometimes certain activities can be freeing. I have a lot of good memories from online games but I realize that I can’t always use it as an extension of my reality because Santa Cruz (and the world) has so much beauty in both traditional senses and non-traditional senses. And with my last post, I think of how these games can actually create communities and to a certain extent friendships as well…there is so much developing in virtual worlds that it still hasn’t set up as many boundaries even after a decade or more of their existence. I suppose that we question virtual realities so much that it irritates me since no one ever really questioned television for so long even though I think it can be really unhealthy and promote a certain level of complacency towards knowledge and news. I’m not as well learned as I should be and I really have to search for a lot of cross references half the time because I hate feeling ignorant. I think part of that is having such an academically geared family that I feel like I need to know so much and I don’t let myself off the hook for much. That and the fact that Trivial Pursuit always makes me feel dumb since we always play the older version so of course I don’t know half the things that my elders do. Plus, I’m really not competitive, although I am with Nathan maybe because I feel like we’re on a similar playing ground so I don’t feel so dumb.

I’ve been really into thinking about different learning processes lately because I feel like part of the reason why I can’t understand or learn certain things has to do with the way I learn. I was always really good at learning music….I taught myself at least 4 different instruments and I’ve always been really visual. Like I was telling my mom the other day…I didn’t roll my eyes as much as she thought but I actually try to visualize things when people talk to me so I roll my eyes up to imagine. It wasn’t until Nathan asked me why I was rolling my eyes at him years ago that I realized that it was off putting. What? Rolling my eyes? Well I did roll my eyes a lot and when my mom would get mad I would roll my eyes because I was thinking ‘here she goes again’ but for the most part I was just thinking. Even when I write I stare at the wall a lot forming my ideas and figuring out what I want to write…it’s annoying. Nathan has learned to adapt to this though but he still randomly asks ‘ what are you staring at?’ to which I have to explain that I’m trying to imagine the scenario in which he’s talking about. Like with knitting….well part of the reason why it was hard to learn was because a lot of it was the English way which I think is knitting with the right hand…but also because they would write out how to do things and I couldn’t picture it. I really have to look up videos or pictures of how to do certain stitches, methods, etc to learn knitting. Same with sewing…my mom taught me during Thanksgiving years ago and I picked it up rather quickly because it was hands-on and I could visualize what I needed to do.

Or another thing…when people tell me their phone numbers or how to spell something I need them to go really slow…like one letter…pause…another letter…pause…I had to ask Nathan some number the other day and he had to start over 2 times because it was too fast for me…because I try to imagine the numbers first before typing them…but when someone spews off a bunch of numbers or letters I just can’t grasp it….

Who knows…maybe I’m just dumb. haha. But I wonder why I picked up on music so quickly…It’s weird because Nathan (I refer to him too much) can memorize lyrics so easily but I never remember lyrics to the point that I continue to sing wrong ones even though I know the correct ones. But we were talking about it and I think part of the reason is because I listen more to the music rather than the lyrics, the lyrics are an afterthought. I’m working on that but maybe my years in band and being around music makes me prone to picking up the little details of the music. I really should look up studies on the left-handed brain or on other learning issues because I feel like people learn in so many different ways. It’s amazing…not only the brain but also our bodies in relation to our organs…our culture…our society…or global community. Nuts. And I don’t feel particularly artistic…never have…even when I excelling at music at so much. It just flowed…

It’s been hard learning to knit though especially now that I’m reading up on the math and dimensions of design…it’s new so I hope that my current confusion will dissipate with more reading and studying. I really am kind of excited about calling myself an ‘artist’ once I get more experienced. And I can’t wait until people ask me ‘what I do’…because I’ll say…’well, my first job is taking care of my home with my partner and making good food and living as eco/ethically as we can and my second job is being an artist’. How cool is that? Working two things that I love…well mostly love…gotta hate the cleaning and the knitting mistakes. Anyway, take care all and eat yummy food.

 

 

25
Oct
09

I need a rain dance pls.

Why won’t it rain more?

I’m sick of it being gloomy and rainy and then sunny and way too warm for 4 days straight. Bah, I want my rain. But I can’t do much about it except wait for evening when the fog usually rolls in and it’s beautiful.

I’ve been doing a lot of knitting on my corn socks. Yes, corn yarn. It feels super soft although I’ve been warned never to iron them unless I went a hot, sticky, sugary mess….but I rarely iron my clothing unless it’s something that really gets wrinkly. I’m not sure if this book sort of sucks in terms of the editor or publisher because I know that one pattern has some serious issues and I even emailed the publishing house for the correct pattern and they totally copped out and sent me a link to a site that was basically a woman’s blog and she happened to notice some of the errors and made a corrected chart. Unfortunately, I didn’t want the chart since I had already been to that site but I wanted to check and see if there were more corrections. Bah, anyway, I’m not going to even bother with that pattern.

I’m really wondering if knitters have to play with patterns a lot or if this book just didn’t get as much attention to detail as it should have because this sock pattern is a wee bit off. And I’m totally following directions and rereading them, looking up the types of stitches to double check that I did learn the correct way to do it…and still it’s a bit off. It’s really the heel, the rib pattern wasn’t layering quite right so I adjusted it but the rib moved over a few stitches. I haven’t had difficulty with other patterns from online, magazine, or other book sources before so I’m really wondering if these designers had other people make them to make sure the patterns worked. Who knows but I really don’t want to give up on this book because it has some really interesting patterns and deals with a lot of interesting yarns instead of the regular animal fibers.

So, back to my point, my socks are coming out nicely and except for a minor flaw they look pretty good. I still have about 5 more rounds to do before I turn the heel and I’m pretty excited to be making socks for the first time. It sounds boring but if I want to start doing designs and such I need hands-on experience and besides…I love socks. I’m using Crystal Palace Yarns “Maizy” which has 18% elastic nylon which should be good for stretching and shaping….and I got it in Stormy Purple.

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Small pic, and hard to see, but the cuff has 5 cables which was rather annoying and I’m glad to be done with them. I don’t mind cables but the yarn is quite fine and doing  about 12 of them in a row gets annoying. I’m not usually a fan of multi-colored yarn but I think for some projects it really makes them more interesting. I’ll try to keep updating my progress and hopefully I won’t do something wrong and have to unravel…

In between my knitting I have made some new food although the salad was pretty basic but oh so yummy. I’ve been really scared of trying heirloom tomatoes because they look like aliens and I’m still overcoming my fear of tomatoes. Sure I eat them all the time but certain things just scare me for some reason…fried green tomatoes? I feel like there are worms in there but I’m not sure if that was from the book that I read when I was younger or if I just made it up in my head…or sun dried tomatoes…my mom used to try and force me to eat them and I would literally gag…it was like my throat would close up and I was getting sucked down a tube and my life was fading from me and then…I would spit it onto the plate rather than sacrifice my life for a stupid, nasty tomato. So I have issues…but I told myself that I need to woman up and buy them before I regretted it. So here they are…my lovely tomatoes from the farmer’s market.

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I really loved the peach looking tomato and it was rather sweet in comparison to the green one which was definitely tart and less juicy. The red one tasted a bit like a regular tomato but perhaps I haven’t developed my heirloom tomato palate. Peachy, since I didn’t look at their official names, had a beautiful marbled interior that was amazing to look at and I kept the slices large so that we could enjoy the colors as well and experience different tastes and sizes as they filled our mouth. I know, that sounds a bit pervy but I stick to my claim that most food is super sexy and we might as well enjoy it. Tried out a pretty basic recipe from one of my cook books but I only had sourdough in the fridge which made it look a bit less impressive than italian country bread that I think the recipe recommended. Basically toasted the bread in the oven and spooned the nut,garlic, olive oil mix onto it and let it toast for an extra minute. I probably didn’t need to let it toast more since the recipe used cheese which would have melted it but oh well. Totally great side dish to our dinner and I kept eating the left overs out of the bowl the rest of the night.

I’ve been really into hand mixing lately which I know is good for the food since we can better gauge, season, and handle the dish and plus it does give an organic feeling to cooking. I still use spoons to mix up the liquids initially since I don’t want my hand covered in dough but I really do love feeling doughs and foods in my hands. So, I hand mixed the seasonings and liquids of this salad especially since I didn’t want to break any of my Maters. It’s kind of silly how basic this recipe is and Nathan thought it tasted a lot like Bruschetta which it did after he said it. So basically I made a larger version of it and I can’t believe I fell for that cook’s recipe! He should have named it ‘Fancy Bruschetta’ but I’m not really all that mad but it does feel weird when we think certain foods are new and exciting and then we realize that we’ve had similar dishes before and it’s not as exotic as it initially seemed.  But maybe that’s the anthropology background I grew up around…always exotizing cultures and people…but now I’ve shifted it over to food. Omg, I’m a horrible person…

So let’s shift gears because I don’t want to dwell on my new discovery. I made some more turnovers which came out better than the originals but I still have a bit of a hard time getting them to seal. I let it defrost in the fridge for about 4 hours and made the filling…peeled two ripe pears, mixed in some cornstarch, turbinado sugar, cinnamon, and a dash of nutmeg. Hand mixed again since the pears were really ripe and I thought that a spoon would break them apart.

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I actually remembered to sugar the tops before I baked them! I’m proud of myself for that since they came out a bit salty since the vegan butter I have access to has salt mixed in so I can’t control that aspect of the dough. I did omit the salt that was in the recipe but it still was a bit salty since I had forgotten to add sugar to the tops and it really did offset the salt. I’m thinking of buying another measuring tape since I use this one for baking all the time. I’m really bad with measurements…I always think an inch is way smaller which is why I keep my soft measuring tape near me when I knit because I have no concept of length. I’m still having trouble with the seal and I used rice milk which didn’t seem all that great. I usually use flax seed but I ran out and I keep forgetting to buy more so I’ll have to try that next time. Another issue which I’m sure is probably partially my fault are the layers…the foto isn’t as great but when they came out of the oven I could really see the layers but I still feel like I could have gotten more puffiness and flakiness. I may not be an official pastry student but I’ve read a lot of different sources, looked at tutorials, and watched a lot of videos on how to prepare the dough all the way to baking it…so I feel like I have a rather good grasp as to handling the dough and I chilled it a lot between the steps because it was getting a bit warm that day. Anyway, my point is that I wonder if animal fats/veggie shortening work differently than vegan butter in the mechanics of dough. Maybe I’m just expecting a ton of puffiness from my first puff pastry dough and that probably isn’t realistic. They tasted great and I would say that about half of them sealed up and the over half burst open the second I put them on the baking stone…but it was really amazing to see them puff up rather quickly. I could have over filled them too since I’m fairly new to pastries but over all it was really satisfying

To sum up the last two paragraphs…Lots of work, I’m a noob so the pastries probably didn’t come out as well but I decided to blame everything else since theoretically I knew what I was doing. Haha, now I need to make more to prove that I can make fantastic looking pastries.

Let’s see, I wonder if I have any new rants to go on about. Well, Santa Cruz has officially banned smoking downtown, west cliff, and by our area which really makes my blood boil. We’re seriously going to fine people who smoke to generate income for the county which is the 4th most expensive place to live in the U.S. When we went to Monterey I noticed they had ashtrays attached to the trash cans which was really great because people don’t have to litter. But Santa Cruz has the brilliant idea of not putting many recycling bins downtown and no ashtrays and then they decide to bitch about cleaning up. When we went up to Natural bridges the roads were all being repaved but they weren’t even horrible to begin with but lower downtown, beach hill, beach flats, and numerous other parts of SC are in major need of repair but they decide to repave the roads where there are million dollar houses. And it’s conflicting to me because I rant and rave about this but I don’t feel like I have much of a right to say anything because I don’t consider myself a local and I don’t intend on living in this city for the rest of my life. I suppose I feel like it’s appropriation if I start looking for ways to improve the city since it’s not my city.

SC has major housing, homeless, and general city issues but they never focus on these problems but instead decide to pull stupid bans that only serve to bring in money. Everyone likes to think of SC as so liberal and it is in some ways…culturally I suppose, but I feel like our civil liberties are being violated when things like this happen. They argue that it’s better for children…well I think walking by a person smoking for 30 sec is going to do a lot less damage than the fact that we’ve taken P.E. out of many schools, many children (and adults) are eating hormone-pumped, genetically modified, trans-fat, etc food, are inhaling exhaust/smog and I could probably think of a million more things.

Really, drinking coffee is probably worse than that…and to be honest I don’t think smoking downtown is that big of a problem…maybe one person for every two blocks? And seriously, how many drug deals go on that aren’t dealt with and I think that is more dangerous than this new ban.

I really hate what the U.S. is becoming…or is. And I know, before anyone posts, that we’ve been eating genetically modified foods for a long time…like corn…but that also took a lot longer and the way First world countries have forced the world to obliterate so many strains of food is horrible and dangerous when a new pest or disease worms it way into our perfect, bland food.

I really want to move away from this country but it’s going to take a lot of work and even then I know it’s not a solution and I remember criticizing my peers for wanting to do the same thing. But in a way I think I justify my desire because both Nathan and I come from families of immigrants and in a lot of ways we had very migratory lives. When people ask where I’m from I honestly don’t know what to say…I usually say ‘down south’ since it’s somewhat true but what is my hometown? I don’t know…is it where I was born but didn’t live? or The place I was at longest…well technically I suppose SC is the longest but I divide my time here by my mental well being…the first few years were really hard and I didn’t venture out or even really realize my surroundings.

And if I move I know there is that criticism of wanting to move to a European country…as if I’m falling into that colonial state of mind in that I want to become like them and be the white colonial power. But I think it’s wrong to think in that old frame of mind because we’re neglecting to see the millions of post-colonial subjects that live in the EU and who have voices and communities and are very much trying to claim their right to be there. And to be honest, certain countries seem easier to move to…like not learning another language is a plus but this is still a dream of mine that I’m attempting to research so as to make it a reality. But it’s problematic because I know there are conflicts wherever I go but perhaps I want to choose which fights I can join instead of feeling tired of having to justify why I don’t want a huge house or why want to part of the traditional working sector.

I think I realize as I grow older how hard it is for people who have moved a lot to claim an identity. If I move to another country I’ll finally have a more solid identity…as a foreigner…an ex-pat, and American. And I’m not saying I want to become some huge nationalist to a new country and go on about how much better it is than the U.S. (although I think most countries have many and different aspects that are better) or that the U.S. is a horrible place but instead I just would like to live somewhere else. If someone moves cities it’s not a big political deal but saying I don’t want to live in the country has so many ramifications on both the nationalist and post-colonial sides. I’m screwed either way. I also don’t want to erase my history or identity but sometimes I feel like I can’t relate to most people because I’ve had such a mixed history. I had to learn how people acted in different parts of the state and then in C.A. and to adjust to that and then to figure out my own cultural identity which is at times insane. I’m not latina enough and I’m not white enough which is fine but I don’t want to justify myself by knowing big fancy spanish words.

I remember when I was at a conference in Honduras and it was discussion on Women’s rights and many of the ‘liberal/intellectual’ women were using very academic language that I couldn’t understand but of course I knew my spanish wasn’t as great as a native speaker. And yet at one point some women interrupted and they said they couldn’t understand and basically accusing them of patronizing them (or perhaps matronizing?) with these huge terms because they were indigenous and relatively poor in comparison yet they still wanted to organize. I felt really good after that because I may not have great skills but it’s very much apart of me and even though I do want to learn more I still know more than most people think. I have dreams in spanish and I think about my experiences all the time and that won’t ever change. But at the same time I have to recognize that I can’t really share the same experiences with other Salvadorans/Latino(a)s/Indigenous people because many of them have a collective memory or experience. Many lived in poor areas, or at least in the same community where they faced racisim together or perhaps had to leave their home country because of war but I feel like there is always something that binds them even if they still have their individual differences. And I know collective organizations/communities are problematic because one way or another select ideas/agendas/experiences get promoted over others so I know just because someone grew up in South Central L.A. doesn’t mean they feel connected to their community for that sole geographic/cultural reason but I think most times it does.

So where does that leave people like me or that minority of minorities that doesn’t feel connected? I don’t think it’s wrong to want to live a life that a person chooses, especially if we keep thinking about why we make those sorts of choices. I like to believe that I think more about what I do and don’t do than many of the world’s citizens but again…I’m privileged enough to get to questions and make choices and for that I’m grateful but it doesn’t mean that I owe this country my loyalty when it’s oppressed, murdered, enslaved, and generally stomped on my ancestors and others without a second thought. Where was the reflection and questioning of our governments? It still continues with us blindly agreeing that going to Iraq was important because somehow the attacks of 9/11 were directly linked to Iraq…

It’s really hard writing and hoping that people can read through my sarcasm, my exaggerations, my moods, and my political bull. Half the time I write without realizing that people will indeed read this but I try to be careful not to turn this into some sort of diary. I’ve never been very good at diaries actually so maybe this blog is really lame and meaningless. But I suppose in the grand scheme of things our lives are pretty mundane when we think of the plants and stars and the evolution of life…I think I’m becoming too self-reflective. I think being a libra amplifies this tendency because I try to be fair even though I’m far from it.

Anyway, I’ll sign off before I start questioning why I’m not going to continue to write. I’m posting this show that is super funny that I found on netflix and I can’t wait for the 4th season. The IT Crowd…just a clip but super funny. Just for context…Jen gets a bit of an ego after getting ’employee of the month’ and she doesn’t really know anything about computers…

Update: Embedding disabled but hopefully those who want to view it can still be viewed by clicking through to Youtube. Sorry ’bout that >.<

06
Oct
09

I’d like to be…under the sea

Fall is finally settling in.

Ah, how I love fall/autumn. Everything always feels so crisp and I love the cool wind on my face as I bundle up. I’m so excited because it always seems so quiet during Fall and maybe pensive as well.

I’m getting anxious about my knitting projects since I still haven’t received my yarn and Nathan probably won’t get his vegan shoes until Nov. >.< Sometimes it is rather annoying to be vegan….He ordered his shoes in august and since the shoes come from the UK it will take longer and my yarn is from Canada so I’m sure it’s moving slowly. I’m seriously considering ordering more yarn in hopes that I might get it by the time I finish the project that I have yet to start. In the meantime I’m knitting a kittie bed and maybe will do some dishtowels out of boredom until my yarn arrives.

In other news, I have some pics of my beautiful Dahlias…well not mine but in my home. One of them was actually two toned: part solid color and part mixed. Totally bizarre when I first saw it but kind of neat.

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We went to Natural Bridges this week which is about a mile from where we live. We hadn’t been for years so I figured we ought to head up especially since I hadn’t seen the tide pools. We first headed to the Falafel House and picked up…Falafel and then sat at the picnic tables over at Natural Bridges. We had a friend who was probably more interested in our food than us but he was really cute.

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Posting some pics nothing too interesting or in need of explanation.

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Well maybe a little. First one is pretty awesome to be near because all these pelicans, seagulls, and other birds hang out on top. This is the only reason that I can guess why it’s called Natural Bridges but I should look it up. Second one is where the tide pools are at and I love that time of day when the ocean looks part silver. The fourth one is a sea anemone or at least it looked like one. Actually it looks like a monster to me.

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We had lots of fun walking around and relaxing. The climb back up the hill was our second workout for the day since it was pretty steep and sandy…my poor buns! Zomg, I’m super excited because we got our Stepper on Friday and put it together on Sunday. I swear, every time we buy something there is always something missing or wrong. Like our Stepper, we were getting ready to put the screen on and connect the wires when we realized that the ground wires didn’t have the male piece. We looked everywhere to see if maybe it was in a small bag but nothing. So I figured I’d go get the stupid piece of metal and get showered but then Nathan figured out we could just use foil as a substitute. Because I’m awesome, we had electrical tape handy to make sure the wires didn’t disconnect. Oh, and I’m also super awesome because I bought a wrench a few months back and we actually needed one. I think all those times at Costco with my dad is slowly becoming beneficial…He and my great grandfather both loved tools so maybe that’s why every time I’m at the hardware store I have to pick up something that I don’t immediately need. Ah, I love going. I’m hoping to sand down our windows and repaint them and also get new handles on the cabinets since ours are crap. Our complex could actually be pretty decent if they spent more than the bare minimum on repairs and paint. I mean really, isn’t that why all those home decorating shows are so popular? It seriously doesn’t take much effort or money to make places look better. Anyway, I’ll focus…

So yes, we got our stepper in our tiny apt. but it’s super awesome. Unfortunately we didn’t have curtains in the kitchen since our pets like to look out the windows and it’s nice to let the light in. But now I so don’t want our neighbors to randomly see my sweaty tomato face as they walk by since that would be awkward. So for now we’re really ghetto and are using a sheet until I can find some curtains that we like. Which is actually kind of hard…I’ve been looking online for awhile and most don’t really suit our tastes or aren’t cotton/hemp/plant based. The ones that are plant based are always white or brown or some other color that I really don’t want on our walls. Anyway, I present, our sort of crappy window curtain.

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Not that we can really sit on our sofa anymore unless we shove it over but oh well. We don’t really sit on it much anyway. It mainly is our grocery bag holder and cat bed.

I got Nathan to put up our cross yesterday, it still needs a candle but at least it’s up. Also my sun mirror for my mom since I’m not sure she’s seen it.

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Sort of a boring blog but I wanted the familia to see my awesome new wall hanging. Anyway, take care and eat lots of yummy food 😀

25
Sep
09

1 tamale, 2 tamale, 3 tamale, floor

Happy Birthday to me!

I am resigned to aging gracefully and admitting that I am no longer anywhere near my teenage years. Didn’t do anything eventful except decorate cupcakes and make pizza and hang out with Nathan. I’m going to keep this post relatively brief since I’m in the middle of cleaning but my floors are still wet so I have a bit of time.

First, cupcake pics. Ripped off the decorating from the Vegan cupcake book so it’s not remotely original.

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Super cute though. And super sweet. If I remade these I wouldn’t have put the fruit spread on b/c it was a bit overwhelming. Good thing we only ate one a piece. I assume the spread was to anchor the berries down but I’m sure the icing would have done the job by itself. Will have to try again when I eat the rest of the batch haha.

Next up, Tamales! Finally got around to making them a few weeks ago and it was super crazy. I had Nathan help me with the assembly and our tamales came out good but some didn’t have enough masa to hold them together. I was trying to go off the recipe and it seems that they skimped on the masa but we learned and most of them came out nicely. They’re pretty small and remind me of little poops. Gross, I know, but it was super funny at the time and they were super duper tasty.

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Apparently there are many ways to make tamales and I guess using corn husks is the Mexican version. I didn’t even know that Salvies use Banana leaves but it makes sense. Not only can you use different wraps but even how they are tied/wrapped/rolled/etc varies. In retrospect I should have youtubed how to make them so that A. I would have made them bigger and B. seen the different ways to steam them. We tied the ends which makes them look cute and then steamed them for about 40min. I used my veggie steamer which didn’t hold all of the tamales and the ones on top seemed to be a bit less firm than the bottom ones. Next time I’ll cut the recipe in half and maybe make them bigger. Overall, I suppose they could have been steamed longer but they were great. The masa was delicious and the filling was really spicy since I used almost an entire can of chipotles. Omg, these look so good I might make them again tonight.

There are some new items on my cooking list that I want to make: Nectarine-blueberry turnovers, vegan puff pastry (I know it’s going to be a nightmare), fritters, still need to make my vegan cheese, and some pies. I don’t really want to make puff pastry since it gets so warm in our kitchen but I can’t find any at our local grocers and I’m not sure if regular brands at Safeway contain non-hydrogenated veggie butter. Since I have access to non-hydrogenated vegan butter I probably will have to make it myself. I’m kind of in love with nectarines right now and watermelon….so many melons at the Farmer’s Market it’s funny to see all the heirloom melons that I didn’t even know about. Makes sense but I feel like I learn something every time I go. Lots of Dahlias are still around so I’ve been picking them up. Apparently they grow in Central America so I think it’s kind of fun to keep that in mind. Another thing I really need to keep in mind is to stop burning myself on the oven. I think I’m up to my 3rd burn and it’s always when taking the pizza stone out. I think it’s because I don’t always pull the rack out far enough and since I’m always trying to do it sort of fast because I’m paranoid our cats will want to run into the oven.

Anyway, Nathan’s mom came to visit last week which was nice since we hadn’t seen her in over a year. We went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium which we’ve hadn’t been to in awhile. It didn’t seem much different except for the new Seahorse area which was amazing. I don’t think people are capable of hating these little guys because they’re just so magical. I was most fascinated with the Leafy Sea Dragon. Leafy Sea Dragon hope that works.

I was really annoyed because I don’t think my battery charger was plugged in because my camera died after two pics and I had left it in the charger for at least 8hours. I don’t think the Wests like pictures anyway but I made them take one haha. They weren’t expecting the flash but it’s cute anyway.

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Well, I’ll post more soon but I’m not really that exciting. It’s been a busy few weeks and hopefully I won’t be posting anymore butt rock music but it’s so tempting! I swear we’re way too silly because we love playing some of those songs all the time. I’m not sure which is worse though butt rock or our pop fascination. I am getting us back into listening to EBM in between because I think we might overdose on our hair bands. haha. Well, anyway, back to cleaning for me. Yay.

12
Sep
09

Nice songs

26
Aug
09

Here’s looking to you kid

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How anyone got through the mid-20th century is beyond me.

So, I’ve been knitting up a storm trying to get my act together in hopes of making more stuff. Unfortunately, my cooking might take a bit of a back burner but I’ll try to keep it up. Really, I’m trying to consolidate most of my ‘outside’ time into one day so that I have at least 30hours a week while Nathan is working to work on my knitting. I just can’t seem to focus on my knitting when I have other things to do since I tend to make mistakes or not make much progress when I’m only sitting down for 20min and then having to cook, clean, or run errands.

Anyway, I did pretty well this week and I tend to listen to the radio while I knit since I don’t have to watch anything. Unfortunately, our local radio website went down for a good few hours so I decided I’d watch movies instead. I eventually picked Casablanca since I’ve never seen it. Wow, that movie was fun. I don’t know if it’s considered a great movie in terms of the story but it’s pretty iconic and a lot of older movies can be crap just like modern movies are mostly crap. So it was really fun to watch and I was so impressed by their outfits and their drinks….and H.Bogart was totally sexy. Jeez, I wish he was right here so he could tell me, “Here’s looking to you kid” wow!! it’s not just the phrase but the voice…::swoons::

But I was totally fascinated with their white tuxedos and their Champagne Martini’s. It was like a light bulb went off in my head…Champagne? in a martini? Hmmm…..so I mentioned it to Nathan and we agreed it had to be the classiest thing we’ve ever heard. Just like investing, we’ve been trying to diversify our palate. We’ve been trying out wines which has been so fun and flavorful, we’ve been actually tasting different beers for a year which can be exciting…but we don’t really try mixed drinks because we generally know that certain things don’t sit well with us. Anyway, we looked up a recipe for this martini and most were Vodka, Champagne, and some sort of fruit liqueur. Headed to one of our local markets and picked up some sparkling wine since we didn’t feel like throwing down 40US on champagne and picked up some of Cointreau.

Mixed it up and boy did we feel classy. Too bad we don’t have any martini glasses.

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I read on one website that these drinks were ‘lethal’ and I just sort of laughed thinking maybe they were weenies. But I can now say from experience that these things will land with an unexpected punch and an amazing headache the next day. How in the world people in the 40s and 50s drank so much is beyond me. Seriously, three martini lunches just seems scary. Anyway, being that it was the weekend it wasn’t horrible that we got a bit too drunk without meaning to. It tasted nice and it did feel super neat to act like we were in casablanca but next time I really gotta count these things.

Champagne Martini:1 Us:0 Totally Brutal.

Anyway, I finally got around to making some Vegan Enchiladas. I actually busted out my shredder attachment which I haven’t ever used because…well I never shred things. I shredded up a zucchini and about a pound of seitan….give or take. The seitan came out really fine and soft which was to be expected considering it’s not as dense as chicken. And I must say my seitan is softer than the store variety. I dumped the seitan in a bowl with a can (15oz) of black beans, strained. I sauteed half a large onion, garlic, 4 chipotle chilies, and zucchini. Plus a bit of spice. I’ve never tried cooking with chipotle peppers since I didn’t think they were all that special but I bought a 4oz can of them a while back on a whim. Damn were those things hot. And we like our food spicy. I only added 4 but I might up it to 6 next time since the veggies, seitan, and beans diluted the heat a bit. Mixed it all together and prepped the tortillas and pan with sauce. It’s a sign that I’m trying to cut down on my cooking time since I actually bought pre-made enchilada sauce but oh well. I poured about a fourth of it into the pan and laid the torillas in the sauce while I spooned the mix onto the tortillas. This allows tortillas to coat a bit more evenly. I also picked up a bag of shredded Rice cheese that was flavored as mozzarella since I’m trying to find a good cheese substitute since we still eat cheese on our pizza. It actually tasted really good which made me so happy that I just wanted to eat the whole bag. The texture was a bit stiff but once my saliva started breaking it down a bit it had a better texture. Nathan was a bit skeptical since he’s always had bad experiences with fake cheeses and I’ve tried it once before with horrible gagging as a result. It claimed ‘gourmet’ melting but we made half cheese enchiladas and half non-cheese just in case.

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Baked them at 350 for about 15min. In my experience, a lot of vegan proteins never turn out well if cooked at the same length as meat since it dries out too quickly. We even got these Lemon-herb kabobs at the market last week and they said to grill them for 15 min but I knew they were going to dry out (which the did) and we really ought to have grilled them at the same time with the veggies since they cook up in under 10.

Anyway, the enchiladas came out really great despite the lack of spiciness. The cheese melted decently and it was so great tasting until…..

I found out they’re not vegan. Omg….I wanted to strangle the company. I was so excited that it was a great product I looked up their website and was looking at the other cheeses they offer. I randomly decided to look at the ingredients because some vegan products have the most random things in them. Turns out that it has casien listed and I was shocked and disappointed that this great rice cheese was in fact non-vegan. ::Sigh:: I suppose I really ought to either A. research some vegan cheeses and see if they’re carried locally and B. get around to making my vegan cheese which I attempted once but I wrapped it up too much so it didn’t firm up as much as it should have.

I actually need to check my other cheeses now that I think about it since I picked up a bleu cheese and feta cheese that was in the vegan area of…Wholefoods. I can’t believe we’re shopping there now. They recently opened up two stores in the santa cruz area and I’ve been pretty adamant about not shopping their since I like to support more local stores and the farmer’s market. We have so many organic, fair trade, and local options that I felt like the Wholefoods would just take away from our stores. But I gave in because Nathan wanted to see it and to be honest I was a bit curious. But it’s easier to blame Nathan for my horrible treason.

I’m not sure how other Wholefoods markets are but I felt like they were really pushing for a local feel because there were signs hanging from the ceiling that had pictures of local farmers stating where they came from and basically persuading us that they did indeed buy locally. Hmm…although I’m not too sure about how true it is and what proportion of their stuff is local and really…we live in Central California. We have oodles of food in this state that it’s not much of a stretch to say they’re buying locally. But they did have some great produce that I can’t find anywhere else….Mushrooms galore (our local farmer’s market only sells Shiitake and Oyster) they even had Chanterelle mushrooms at 30US per pound. God, this is why I don’t take Nathan shopping usually because he totally is willing to buy so much food and I spend a lot of money on food when I’m alone. Imagine with him….’go ahead and get some mushrooms who cares about price….let’s get some fancy champagne vinegar for our salads..’ seriously I think he’s more of a food freak than I am sometimes.

But they have a good variety of chile peppers which Santa Cruz seems to lack and they have fresh loaves and a really great vegan section. They had Vegan Gyros! I’ve been thinking about inventing my own recipe for awhile and it turns out someone has made them already which could be nice if they don’t taste horribly. Anyway, I can’t really justify spending money there but I do it anyway…guilty pleasure…and they seem to kiss our asses since I think they’re trying to win over customers. Anyway, I’m sure this hasn’t been all that exciting for people since I’m sure they have Wholefoods near them and I’m just weird about my food. Oh well.

Let’s see….I made Thai Fried Rice the other day which turned out yummy but not as fried as I had hoped. I’ve never made a fried rice dish even though I love them and Veg. Times had a big bowl of it on it’s cover that I decided it was time to buckle down and try it. I actually refrigerated the rice for a few days which was annoying since it was a bit clumpy when I dumped it into the wok. I just used a fork to mash it down and separate it…for those wondering if they have problems. I actually pretty much used my Sesame stir-fry recipe but substituted rice for noodles. I fried up 7.5oz of tofu, then stir-fried the onion, garlic, serrano, 1/2 bell pepper, and broccoli and added some sauce. Added the rice and let it fry up but I think the sauce didn’t allow for as much frying as I had intended. I really should have cooked it longer and added more oil if I wanted a crisper finish but I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out in general so I fried it up until I couldn’t see much oil in the wok. Added the snap peas towards the end and then the tofu. Yummy but not as hot as I’d like it to be. I really need to make it again since it’s just so tasty for lunch.

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I need to work on my photography but really, when I’m super hungry I barely even remember to take pictures.

Next up….I know…everyone is probably hoping I’ll just end this stupid post…

Anyway, I made lavender seitan chops which I’ve been dying to make forever. Apparently, the lavender season is pretty short up here and is actually around during June mostly. Somehow I missed it during the early months but I was lucky to stumble upon it at the Felton Farmer’s Market a couple of weeks ago. I saw this recipe about a year ago and I thought it sounded so lovely. I usually just make rosemary chops which are tasty but lavender just seemed so unusual. The pictures are kind of crappy and I didn’t add as much lavender as I should have because I wasn’t sure we’d even like it. It’s too bad that I missed the season since it was a great lunch dish. For those who would like to know…I take about 1/4-1/3 cup of all-purpose flour, about 1tsp. of course sea salt, and chop up as much rosemary or lavender as I like and then dredge the seitan. I tend to use a good deal of olive oil in hopes of giving it a better texture.

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>.< I really should have added more lavender but oh well. A nice light lunch with steamed broccoli. It seems my cast iron pan is always making a cameo since I have to move it around a lot since our stove is a bit small.

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I bought a Jicama ages ago and never used it for some reason. I think most of us do that right? Buy food that we like and then let it rot? I am trying to lessen my waste but sometimes it can’t be helped. Anyway, it began sprouting a while back and now has at least 2ft. worth of stem which Re is blocking but you can see a bit. Nathan wants to plant it since it seems like a waste to throw away but I need to check how big the plants get first.

Well, that’s all I have to write although I’m going to post some random pictures from New Mexico and around the house.

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Taken in Santa Fe, it was a huge Mexican Restaurant that I wasn’t too thrilled about going to since I was on a romantic kick. Well, I did have to sleep with paper in my hair as curlers and have men staring down the front of my dress all day so I wasn’t too pleased but after a Vodka Daiquiri everything was fine. I’m not a snob since I’ve roughed it in Central America and the U.S. but we were on vacation and I just wanted a more romantic day while in Santa Fe. I totally recommend the Georgia O’Keeffe museum cafe because it was super cute and had a great lunch date feel. We had a hard time in New Mexico in terms of food because not that many places had many Vegan/Vegetarian options and sometimes I feel like a broken record but just because I can eat beans and rice for a long time doesn’t mean I want to while on vacation and wanting to have one nice dinner with my guy. The Persian place we went to was really great but most of the food was really geared for appetizers, but again, I’m not so much complaining as explaining how hard it can be to find places to eat while being on vacation as a vegan. My mom did find a really great Asian place which blew my mind but I still wished there had been more Vegan friendly places that served New Mexican food.

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I curse my round face. So not fair. It’s hard to tell since these pictures are small but all three have me with devil eyes. I’ve had this problem since I was a kid and even though most cameras (including mine) have the anti-red eye flash I still manage it anyway, I think it’s because my eyes are a bit of a lighter brown…not hazel but a reddish medium brown that might reflect strangely. I don’t know, I’ve never looked into it but I’ve had devil eyes for as long as I can remember. These were taken at the Asian restaurant and the name is kind of unoriginal (Asian Noodle Bar I think) but it was kind of hipster and really good food. My drum instructor used to tell me that I looked so much like my grandma and I can see it now that I’m older. Broader/round faces and I think our faces when we smile are similar but I’m such a mix of my dad and mom it’s weird. Nathan’s the same way…we’re mutts.

My cousins from my Tia Marielos look like miniatures of her and her ex-husband that it’s scary. But as I’ve grown older I can tell that a lot of people look more like one parent than the other. But Nathan and I are super cool and take a lot of random features/genes from all over our family. I have a really bad farmer’s tan too now that I look at these pictures…thankfully I’ve been smart enough to roll my sleeves up when we go on our exercise to even it out since it’s really really embarrassing.::Sigh:: I wish I were darker like my dad since I think it’s so beautiful to have darker skin.

Random cat pictures. Fe loved the box that my grandparents sent the chile in and she just looks so cute. Re tried to one up her later by hanging out in our paper recycling bag and it’s really annoying that she keeps doing it because she kicks out all the paper eventually and I have to clean it up every time.

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Well, I suppose that is it for this super long blog. Hope it wasn’t too boring. I’m going to finish this off with a great song and I couldn’t find an actual video for it and the live ones weren’t as good.

Eat good food and be the strutter.

10
Aug
09

Chile Top Forest

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I was stemming the peppers to put them in the freezer and all I could think of was how great these tops look. Too bad I’m not into claymation because I thought these tops looked so magical. Ah, how I wish I could explore this forest as a miniature.

And I should probably mention that this is gunna be image heavy since I had so much fun and haven’t updated as much as I’ve needed to.

I’m not sure if I’m going to fit everything I want into this post since I’m hoping to grill up some tacos soon and I’m getting hungry. We finally bought a grill, well I actually got it and lugged the thing to the car since Nathan was working. Just a little Weber one since we don’t do much grilling but now that we have one I keep thinking up so many dinners. I was really motivated to get one now since I got my box of New Mexican Chile (Thanks to the grandparents!) and I felt like they needed a real smokey flavor which I didn’t think my oven would give them. Lame excuse but I also figured it would be nice to sit outside with Nathan and just relax with the grill.

Washed them up and Nathan set up the grill…I’ve never grilled anything and Nathan hadn’t done it in years so we were having fun adding lighter fluid.

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We also grilled up some corn and we made Kabobs with my marinaded Seitan Asado recipe, onions, peppers, and tomatoes. The coals died down a bit and we really ought to have put more in since it took a bit longer to cook but it turned out super yummy…

I let the peppers steam for a couple hours in a pot and then plunked down in front of my computer and watched netflix shows to pass the time.

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Yup, still got our handy little plastic chair. He’s super useful now that we have the grill too b/c we can alternate grilling and sitting between the two of us. Oh and my infamous purple running shorts also make a cameo. I’m sure Nathan is also excited that his running outfit is on display….

Anyway, more pictures of peppers

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I didn’t really know what to do with the chiles in terms of freezing so I used my typical wonton way in which I laid out sheets of foil and froze them individually for about an hour before taking them out and wrapping and folding them up. Then I wrapped a bunch of plastic wrap just in case since I didn’t want my precious peppers getting freezerburn. I ended up having about 6oz. of pepper juice which I saved and I’m thinking of putting it into a salsa or maybe using it for a marinade. I only wish I had more peppers since I’m afraid I’ll eat them all up in a week…Oh, and I read that most people seed their peppers but I left them in. I doubt I’ll ever seed them since I personally like as much spicyness but I wonder if there is a notable difference. Well, we’ll see.

I have some more food stuff to write about I suppose. First off, I’m super excited about making tempeh tuna salad. Omg! sounds soo good. Ever since I made those spicy tempeh rolls I’ve been amazed at the texture of mashed tempeh. Plus, I’ve been using some seaweeds in cooking and it really brings out a seafoody taste and smell which works well for substituting and mimicking fish…It’s strange though since I’ve always hated tuna salad but tempeh tuna salad? totally different story. I also really need to try out some enchilada and tamale recipes but they seem so time consuming but I really need to work on some yummy vegan versions.

Anyway, ever since I got back from New Mexico I’ve been recreating this Chinese dish that I had which was basically a stir-fry but with a sesame oil base. My mother asked my we only eat pasta once a week and I had to think about it…well it turns out I think it’s because I suck at making pastas/noodles. Not that they turn out horribly…in fact I think my pesto pasta is uber…but I’ve never really explored pasta since I’m kind of on this whole complete protein kick…eating a veggie pasta just doesn’t seem good enough since I wonder if I should have added beans or tofu….But I’m trying and I have to say this dish is super.

Personally, I like using udon noodles because a lot of the noodles at our market have egg in them and I love that they carry round udon. I cook the noodles and then rinse them in cold water to stop the cooking process. I cut the tofu up and coat them with cornstarch and then fry them up…kind of deep fried but not overly so. Set them on a platter with paper towels to soak up the excess oil. Then I stir-fry some garlic, sliced onion, broccoli, mushrooms, and carrot. The Julienne tool my mom gave me totally works and is really nice for stir-fries and salads…oh how I love these weird cooking tools. Anyway, I soften up the veggies and then add the noodles and sauce.

Oh the sauce is about .25cup soy sauce (I use the reduced sodium tamari), about 1-2 Tbs. toasted sesame oil, and a crap load of chili oil….mix and taste to your liking…then I add about 1-2 tsp. of cornstarch to thicken the sauce and then add it into the stir-fry with the noodles. I add the tofu at the end but it seems to get a bit mushy since it absorbs some of the sauce so ideally I’d like to lightly reheat it again in a separate pan before spooning out the dish. Anyway, it comes out so nicely and I’ve made this a few times since I got back. Gotta love stir-fry.

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Mmmm…

The only other thing I’m going to post are my crappy danishes. I used to love my Martha baking book but the more I research the more I feel like her recipes don’t follow through. I’ve used her danish dough recipe twice and I’ve had to use a egg replacer (flaxseed and water) and the dough never comes out nicely and is really hard to work with. After reading other recipes and watching a Julia Child PBS show from years ago featuring a French pastry chef, I now feel like I need to try other dough recipes. The show I saw didn’t use egg at all in the recipe and actually used pastry flour which might help with the overall feel of the dough. Anyway, the ones I made were ‘apricot bowties’ and the show I watched also used apricots but they were basically termed as egg like pastries because when cooked, the apricots look like sunny side-up eggs. I thought I was the only one who thought this until I saw J.Child’s show and now I want to make them again because it’s so funny how eggy they look. Of course mine look like mini burritos whereas hers were more like a platter with eggs on top but the imagery is still the same.

So it took me a few days to make the dough because I didn’t start it early and it needs a bit of resting time. I looked up a vegan pastry cream recipe which I hope to modify since it seemed a bit more like a glaze than a cream. Cut out my dough and wrapped everything up and sprinkled some sugar on top. The end results were not nearly as beautiful as I had hoped but they tasted great which is kind of the most important thing to consider when I make a new dish. Lots of photos….

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Not my best in terms of cooking or photography but I think the ‘bowties’ give some indication of how the fruits could be confused with eggs. Also, my crappy pinwheel….but after seeing that PBS show I really want to try pastries again since I really ought to learn how to make them better. At least I now know that I like apricots but I still don’t like apricot marmalade.

Oh I suppose I should post my spicy tempeh rolls that I remade with regular rice and made them with the nori on the outside. Personally, I think if I make them inside-out again the white rice will totally hold together better than the green rice I used before but I thought I ought to take pictures for those who want to see what it might look like.

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I actually didn’t make as much rice as I should have and the ends of the rolls were a bit swishy because of the lack of rice. Well, at least folks now have an idea of how the rolls look with each style.

Well, I ought to sign off now…I’ve already eaten my tasty tacos and now I’m super tired. I’ll try to post the rest of my photos and experiences later this week. Until then, eat good food and be happy 🙂

05
Aug
09

I think I just wasted 2.5 hours of my life

I’m so depressed I don’t know what to do.

::Cry:: I just got back from the new Harry Potter film and I am now in the wallowing stage of my emotional roller coaster. Started up irritated, then mad, then exasperated, and now just down right in the blues. Of course I tried looking up reviews to fuel my anger again but all these critics are saying the film is great. Nathan pointed out they’re film critics rather than fans of the books but I snarled that it didn’t matter.

I suppose I should acknowledge the fact that I’m kind of a Harry Potter fan; I’ve read the books a million times, forced Nathan to watch the 5th movie at least 6 times while in the theatre, and maybe read stupid fan fiction….a lot. Ok so I’m a nerd and not even in the cool Hipster sense in which everyone thinks playing the original nintendo or being good at electronics is cool. I’m the kind of nerd that plays online games and gobbles up every crappy fantasy/sci-fi movie simply because they are so few and far between. Plus I grew up with Disney which puts my tolerance for lame movies pretty high. Seriously, we watched the previews and I was super excited that the Frog Prince and Princess movie is being made and I got totally freaked out by that Apocalyptic John Cusack movie and was telling Nathan how I didn’t understand how that is considered entertainment.

I don’t know, I’ve always been a softie and really imaginative. Instead of counting sheep as a kid I would imagine I was this elf from one of my super awesome comics and I had the posters on my wall. I’m just a fantasy freak although I’ve never dressed up to a release. But that also has to do with the fact that I don’t like going to opening nights because I hate hearing everone’s annoying laughs and comments through the movie which is why I didn’t go to see this Potter movie until 3 weeks after the release because I love a nice quiet theatre.

Anyway, I’ve waited almost a year since they pushed back the original release date and really expected it to be better since they wanted more time to work on the stupid film. Seriously, I hate filler chapters in books and I seriously don’t want a filler movie for 2.5 hours. It’s hard to figure out if Nathan would have been lost in the movie since I’ve talked so much about the stupid books that he knows most of the plots through me. But either way he still had questions and thought certain points were totally unresolved. Omg, and the stupid love interests just seemed all wrong. Ginny just acts like a ho since it’s never clear if she broke up with Dean before moving onto Harry.

Bah, it just upsets me that A. the series has never kept a director on for more than one movie (except for Yates who did 6th and will finish off the series) but somehow they all seemed somewhat consistent with the books and engaging, B. the dialogue sucked balls in this one, C. if they’re going to axe like 60% of the damn book at least make the plots they do include explanatory and somewhat linear with the books. Nathan has more faith than me and keeps telling me that they’ll include all the crap they excluded in the 6th movie into the last two movies but I really don’t get how they’re going to pull it out of their asses. Maybe they’ll turn out alright.

I have to admit some parts were good…the flashbacks of Riddle’s life were creepy…I love Maggie Smith, the entire Weasley cast (especially: Rupert Grint, Julie Walters, and Mark Williams), gotta love Robbie Coltrane, and even Michael Gambon. And gosh I just fall to pieces when I see my Ricky on screen, Alan Rickman, he’s just so dreamy. Thankfully he’s a bit too old for me otherwise Nathan might be a bit worried. But even seeing a lot of the charcters on screen didn’t help since much of their dialogue was cut from the book or just added as some random scene.

Anyway, I’ll stop babbling about how lame this movie was and I’ll have to mull over it. Maybe I’ll go see it again from a less critical perspective but I doubt it. I just have been so excited to have a series that is under the fantasy genre without it totally sucking. It’s probably why I used to watch so much anime before Santa Cruz stopped carrying it so much and we don’t go to San Jose much anymore to buy it. Seriously, rent Dungeons and Dragons and you’ll totally see how much fantasy sucks but after awhile it doesn’t seem so bad.

Willow? Classic. Old Star Wars? Epic but only without the extra scenes. I still curse the day I believed Nathan when he said the verison we picked out didn’t have the added scense. Bah stupid CGI in pre-CGI movies that used model spaceships that looked way better than the CGI in the newer movies.

Well, I’ll probably post more later this week since I have oodles of things to write about and pictures but I think I’m going to reread the 6th Potter book to make up for such a crap movie.

16
Jul
09

German Butterballs

Eco and body friendly deodorants only half way work.

Anyone notice that? So we were using Arm&Hammer Aluminum and paraben free deodorant (not that we know or bother to look up what paraben is) but it worked pretty well and it had this great lemony smell. Then Longs became CVS and they stopped carrying it so I started buying new deodorants from the health food store. Well, I first bought one from Alba since I like some of their products but seriously….I think I ended up smelling worse…and boy can I get stinky. So Nathan couldn’t handle it and asked me to buy Tom’s Natural deodorant since he works with people and doesn’t want people wondering why he might be a wee bit stinky. But I feel too bad to throw out the old one so I keep using the crappy one until it’s used up. I just really wonder why healthy, eco-bio friendly items sometimes suck. I did try the Tom’s brand the other day and it seemed to work for at least half a day and there are all these weird deodorants that range from sprays to armpit creams. I suppose I’ve just been taking for granted all the stuff they put in anti-perspirants and deodorants for most of my life. I didn’t even think that anti-perspirants really made me not sweat…I just thought it was some marketing angle to make consumers think we’re fighting against sweating…Yes, I’m trying harder now as an adult to question things because I’m really gullible and naive.

Anyway, I know some people don’t get that stinky but most people also don’t bikes everyday or do labor intensive work…well I’m sure lots do in terms of work but I’m really thinking about middle-class or indoor jobs. It sucks trying to find lots of good products that are good for my body while also making me look/smell good. I don’t mind being a bit stinky since I argue that my pheromones will mingle with my sweat and cause desirous effects from my partner…haha hope that isn’t weird but it’s kind of my way to put a positive spin on body odor. Other than that I have to say I’m being very Euro…but then I wonder if other areas are odor friendly so maybe we should be hypothetically saying we’re ‘SE Asian’ or ‘Latin American’ in our ways. I wonder if anyone has actually made a study about body odor in various parts of the world.

So yes, I hope healthy/eco-friendly products become bigger and stronger b/c I don’t think the U.S. is going to be changing its mind about fragrances and body odor soon.

And I’ve been thinking about this sweaty issue for awhile and then I bought some cute vegan sandals which totally reminded me of another weird cultural fantasy that females are brought up to think about. Toes. Ok, so I’m not positive that other females were warped like me but I remember reading and hearing lame stories in magazines, shows…maybe even real life about how some guy that they totally like showed how much he cared by stating that, “You have cute toes”. Honestly? Who came up with this delusion because I certainly never had a guy tell me he thought my toes were cute. I don’t think my toes are cute so I always was hoping that some guy wouldn’t look at them or not care. Personally, I think toes look like worms stuck onto my lump of a foot….And then I suffer from messed up pinky toes. I used to think it’s because maybe I had bad shoes as a kid but I think I was just in denial that my pinky toes were naturally kind of funky. The nails aren’t like the rest of them and they’re so stubby. I guess I just find it strange looking back and wondering why it seemed so unique and an obvious indicator of true love if a guy told a girl she had cute toes. I think I’d rather have had them compliment my face or something if they weren’t going to compliment my brain….but I’m not saying that our brains are the only factor in attraction since I do think some physical aspects are taken into consideration. But now I feel really anti-progressive since I’m sure some could/would argue that our bodies don’t have to represent what we love but I’m too invested in my body because it’s apart of me since I don’t like to think our brains are overriding our bodies. I never read Descartes but I really ought to since one of my professors basically told us that our general interpretation of the body/mind isn’t really what he was talking about but I’m kind of talking out of my element. I suppose, in my long winded way of saying things, is that I never wanted some guy to love some random aspect of my body that doesn’t seem important to me as a sign of his unique understanding and love of me. But then I know I’m being hypocritical because I know I take pride in certain parts of my body and even if we look at mainstream media women are often prized for their top and bottom mounds, their legs, their lips, sexy eyes, perfect noses, and even hair.

I suppose we (in the U.S. or mainly mainstream U.S.) created fetishes of certain body parts and so growing up and reading about ‘cute toes’ just seemed out of my grasp of understanding. It’s like belly buttons..personally I think they’re kind of weird…knots that collect lint and are kind of determined by how a doctor ties them up and how our bodies heal. Or makeup…there are lots of guys/girls who don’t like women to wear much makeup while others really like it. Gosh, now my whole point of ‘cute toes’ rant seems wrong. Hmmm…maybe my problem is with the fact that I feel like women might have created this fantasy of ‘cute toes’. I never remember reading some women’s magazine in which a male writer talked about cute toes…it always seemed to be coming from a female perspective. And these sorts of fantasies seem to encourage young women to buy into them when the fantasies might not have much of basis. I’m not saying that toes can’t be sexy or cute but I don’t think in the U.S. mainstream media that it’s a big deal. Yet these fetishes create some fantasy that a man/partner can sum up their encompassing love by stating some random fact. I don’t think would have ever told Nathan he had cute toes while we were dating because I was concerned about understanding him and his larger features like face and height because those were the parts of him that were new and different. Sure, now I like to rub his ears b/c they’re soft and cute but as a dating compliment…I think he would have thought I was nutters.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about that for awhile and wanted to write about it. In the end…I suppose we’re all conditioned somewhat by society but it’s still weird thinking back on my youth and remembering why certain things were so confusing…Stupid toes.

~~~~~~~~

In other news, I took the kitties for their annual visit to the vet which is just always a nightmare. I’m going to feel guilty for weeks now. I swear our cat carriers are industrial strength because it took so long for me to snap the clasps on and the vet. assistant was helping me dismantle one of them because Re wouldn’t come out and she was struggling to undo the clasps. At least it’s better than our old ones that had crappy screws that would fall out. Anyway, I always feel bad taking them because they end up hating me for a few days because they think I want them to be scared and sick from all their shots. I think I owe Fe like 10 belly rubs now because she kept running away from me once I got home and she hid under the dresser for hours.

I totally love the female Vet. because she’s so nice and calm with the cats and to be honest the male Vet. is kind of patronizing towards them…I know, weird? He always talks to the cats like they’re dolls that are doing something bad and it really freaks me out. But the female Vet. is super nice and tries to pet the cats and get them to be a bit comfortable and is always talkative to me. Plus she didn’t give me shit since Re is a bit overweight. I weighed her two weeks ago and she was 12lbs. but it seems like she gained a pound and we really work hard to keep her weight down. At least the vet was understanding since we have two cats which might have to do with her overeating if Re is eating out of both bowls when Fe isn’t hungry. Surprisingly, Fe weighed 9lbs. but I think that is because she had worms which meant she had to undergo more trauma during the visit.

It’s always weird too since their names in the Vet. computer are Sage and Licorice since we got them from the Petsmart Adoption center and they use our local VCA for their vaccines. We never bothered to change the names because no one can ever remember Re and Fe. We usually just tell people….the grey one….the black one. I always have to remember to call the girls by their fake names when I pick up food or for their checkups because I know the entire world is incapable of remembering their names…oh my poor kitties… >.<

The only other thing I have to post is….Food! yay more food. If anyone wants to make this entire dish read the whole thing first since it’s kind of out of order in terms of timing.

So I’ve been meaning to make mini pot pies for the last few days but we kind of got hooked on this burger place over in Seabright which is super good…it’s like In-n-out but more local…I even like the pickles…Mmm veggie burgers with nice buns and pickles…Anyway, so I finally got around to making them today and they came out really great. It’s kind of annoying though that I made the dough during the summer since it’s hard to roll out the buttery dough without it getting too…buttery again. The dough ended up making only 5 mini pot pies which is kind of annoying since I wanted to make a bunch to freeze.

I’ll post the recipe since I kind of made it myself (except for the dough which I got off of the OG Moosewood Cookbook).

1 med onion, chopped                   1 carrot, diced                2 garlic cloves minced                  1/3 cup corn                  1/3 cup peas                    1.5 cup mushrooms, sliced                    1 cup seitan, finely chopped

1 cup No-Chicken broth/or Veggie broth +2 Tbs. soy sauce             3Tbs. Flour/or Cornstarch                      1tps. dried basil           1tsp. dried thyme         Salt, pepper,whatever spices you want to taste

Pie crustx2 or more…

My pie crust was for top and bottom but it only made 5 cupcake sized pies since I was scared that the bottoms would get soggy and it’s summer so the buttery dough had to be rolled quickly in my warm kitchen. I’m sure veteran pie makers or just better cooks in general could make the most out of two pie crusts but I couldn’t 😛

Sauteed the carrots, onion, and garlic in some peanut oil for a few minutes then added the mushrooms, seitan, broth, flour and spices and cooked it up for a few minutes. I didn’t cook it for more than 10minutes since it was going to be baked and the carrots would soften up in the oven anyway. I added the peas and corn right before I filled the shells since I don’t like mushy peas and I wanted the corn to be a bit more firm.

For the shells: First I brushed the pan with some vegetable shortening and then I rolled out the dough and cut the dough into fifths. The shortening seemed to help with popping the pies out of the pan which is the only reason why I used it. I trimmed the dough around the edges and pricked the bottoms. I didn’t use pie weights because I forgot but I would recommend doing so since my shells seemed to have lifted off the pan a bit and therefore didn’t allow for as much filling on some of the pies. I did a blind bake at 375F for about 10min.

I filled the pies with the filling and then rolled out top pie crust and used a 2inch wide cup to cut out the tops. Placed them on top of the shells and molded them as best I could and then cut 4 slits on the top on each pie to allow the steam to escape. I baked them for about 25 minutes or until a bit brown on the top. I noticed that some of the pies over juiced a bit and so I had to use a knife to angle the pies from their mold and then simply lifted them onto the plate. Even though they seemed a bit juicy I think I should have added more filling since they seemed a bit crust heavy…but it’s summer and I’m crappy at pie doughs so it might have been my personal mistake…

I also decided to roast some taters which I actually began about 50min before the pies. I recently picked up some German Butterball Potatoes which are really cute and small and are supposed to be super yummy even without butter…hence the name…butterball. I diced up about 4 of them and placed them in a small baking dish with about 2Tbs. olive oil with ground pepper and coarse sea salt. Remember to coat and toss. I initially placed them into a cool oven at about 425F with some aluminum foil and baked them for 20min. Then I took off the foil and cooked them again for 15min. I then went to turn them over but they seemed stuck to the glass and I really had to dig and scrape the bottoms to get them to turn over. This is the first time I’ve ever roasted potatoes and I looked it up later and some people said to use parchment paper to prevent the taters from sticking but I also wonder if I a. should have moved them after I took the foil off or b. placed them in a preheated oven. I try not to preheat my oven unless it’s baked goods or my pizza stone since I try to conserve energy but maybe the taters need a preheated oven. Or maybe I should have moved them after the foil came off. I’ll have to try again.

Anyway, after the first 15min, I then turned the taters over and cooked them for another 15min. I just sat the dish on top of the oven with the foil loosely covering the dish to keep it warm. Also, I let the mini pot pies cool for about 10minutes before I served them and so I placed the taters back in the cooling oven to keep them even more warm. Next, I chopped up some broccoli and used my mini microwave steamer and steamed them for about a minute. Served it all up for a great fall/winter dinner during the summer!

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Hmm…did I mention these crazy German Butterball taters are really yellow on the inside? they look like pure butter…omg I’m hungry.

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As everyone can see…I suck at making pie dough…and our pizza cutter sucks now so I had to use a knife to try and cut and shape the shells…omg don’t judge me >.> Actually, I think the shells were blind baked at this point which would explain why they look even more crappy.

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Well, I’m super proud at how these came out….look at the shiny taters with the hint of green steamed broccoli and the cute little pies.

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Shiny taters…super big pictures! Mmmm I’m hungry

14
Jul
09

Chickpea cutlets and Crappy Sushi

Well we’re at the mid-way point of the year. Yay!

It seems so crazy how the days, months, years go by. Personally, I think it feels crazy since I’m not in a school mind frame anymore. I’ve spent most of my life thinking I have to get up early for school and then study and now….wow I get to be creative and do what I want! Ok so I still have to make yummy food for the week and everyday…and yes I need to clean and knit…but the order is totally up to me. That is what is so great…Laundry and food buying are the only activities that have to be kept at a regular date since I go to the Farmer’s Market and the laundry mat is busy on the weekends. But yes…can’t believe it’s July already…I’m so much closer to being 24 and it’s scary.

Anyway, I’ve made a few new food items that aren’t at all interesting but I’m going to write about the experiences in case others wonder about these recipes. Summer corn has been coming in lately and I’ve been so happy to grill them up. The only problem is that I want to grill other things or bake protein items but Nathan has been a bit anti-tempeh so I haven’t made my hot-sauce tempeh dish for some time. Well, I did grill some corn and I decided to try out the Chickpea Cutlets recipe from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra (and terry…can’t remember her last name…terry hope romero I think). Anyway, I had some pre-cooked chickpeas so I whipped up the recipe and even shaped the cutlets into faux lamb chops. I also used the BBQ sauce recipe to spread over the cutlets prior to baking.

Honestly, I read so many good reviews on the BBQ but I didn’t think it tasted at all like a good BBQ sauce. Maybe it’s because I left out the liquid smoke but I still think that the sauce should have tasted more BBQy despite the smoke. Maybe not. oh well. It ended up being like a spicy pasta sauce but I still used it. The cutlets came together nicely and I tried to make them shaped like real chops since it’s kind of funny.

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Baked them up and grilled up the corn…

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The corn was uber but the cutlets weren’t all that yummy. Personally, I thought the cutlets tasted like meatloaf but the exterior was nice and spicy. I’ve always hated meatloaf…just the name..meatloaf…ground meat that is made into a loaf that has crappy onions and spices…it just goes beyond what meat should be like…a meat loaf? gross. And then the usual ketchup on the meatloaf just pushed me over the edge. Ugh…sorry for all those meatloaf lovers…I just never liked it and then when these cutlets came out a bit meatloafy…well it just was a bit disappointing. Nathan thought it was just bland even though I put BBQ sauce on it but I understand what he means…It was spicy on initial chewing but then turns into a meatloaf kind of flavor and goes blah…

The other new item I’ve made is Spicy Tempeh Sushi rolls from Veganomicon…hope I spelled that right…Nathan thinks he hates tempeh but I know he just hates certain types of tempeh dishes. I bought some Lotus Jade Pearl rice which is infused with bamboo extract and is supposed to be good for making sushi. So I cooked the rice and steamed the tempeh. The tempeh is basically mashed with some vegan mayo and some chili-sesame oil to make tuna-like filling. I made inside-out rolls and filled the middle with the tempeh filling, avocado, and scallions. Personally, I think the Jade Pearl rice wasn’t that great because the rice didn’t stick to the nori like it should have. I’ve made plenty of rolls before with regular rice and never had a problem with the rice falling off so I think it must have been the type of rice. I used enough rice wine vinegar and sugar to coat the rice so I just don’t understand why the rice wasn’t sticking since I’ve done it plenty of times with white sushi rice. Despite the rice issue…it was super yummy…

Nathan asked me what was in the rolls and I said,

“It’s a surprise…just eat it”

…”Does that mean it’s Tempeh?”

….”No…Just eat it!”

And he did….and he totally loved it. I asked multiple times if he liked the rolls and he said he loved it even though he thought it might suck since he ‘thinks’ he hates tempeh. Yay…now I’ve found one more recipe for lunch that we both like…We need to send in our knife since it’s rather dull at this point which didn’t help with cutting the rolls….rice falling off and smushed rolls. It tasted way better than the pic.Oh and the rice is supposed to be green but I think the pic washed out the color.

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03
Jul
09

Stinky Cats

Happy Soon to be Fourth of July….well for those who celebrate it at any rate.

I don’t think we’ll be doing anything interesting but maybe we’ll go see the fireworks down by the beach. Sometimes it’s pretty nice to live so closely to the beach since we don’t have to worry about parking. Of course now I really want an outdoor grill just for the holiday but I’ll have to make do with my indoor one. Hmm…maybe I’ll make my Seitan Asado tacos or Hot sauce Tempeh with corn…we’ll see.

Anyway, it’s been really nice here in SC in terms of weather and traffic. I think part of it has to do with the increased parking this year so the tourists aren’t taking our residential parking as much. Nathan tells me that our neighborhood meter lady blasts Metallica on her rounds but I have yet to see her. I think that would pump me up into giving people tickets and not caring if they’re mad.

The weather is doing wonders for my plants and I need to buy more pots. The basil is really springing up quickly and my pepper plants are shooting up nicely. I was worried about one of the pepper plants because snails had eaten some of the leaves and at one point he didn’t have any leaves at all. But now it’s doing great and I’ll have to take more current pictures. I initially planted Genovese basil since I make pesto once a week, but we picked up two Thai basil plants at the Farmer’s market this week since I’ve never had it and Nathan loves it. I kind of wanted a purple basil plant but there is only so much basil we can consume I suppose. Anyway, I totally over planed the basil and now there is a ton growing in one pot. I think I’m going to try to separate some of them and give them to neighbors/friends and also maybe repot some of it.

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I really should update more. They’re much bigger now, especially the basil. I really want to get these pots from Terracylce.net since I read in Veg. Times that they are making pots from old computers and fax machines and then they get local artists to paint them. They’re pretty cheap too but I think they’re only selling those kinds through stores so I’ll have to check that out eventually but I’ll probably end up going to our local Hardware store for the pots.

No new food items since I’ve been trying to focus on my knitting. I am getting increasingly bored though and the most exciting dish has been salads so far. I’m pretty excited though be we found some vegan ranch and cesar dressing this week that I can’t wait to try out. Mmmm…although Nathan is convinced that the cesar is going to suck but I have hope.Anyway, I suppose this is all I’m going to post since my brain doesn’t really function before noon as it is. I’ll try to post so more plant pics soon.

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11
Jun
09

Pie? Mmmmm

Yay for summer time.

Lots of things have been happening in the world that have been really horrible, tragic, and concerning. But I try to remember that there is lots of suffering going on even when it’s not headlines. I’ve been really bothered by so many stories of wrongful or misunderstood imprisonments and I hope that by thinking of them that their stories and lives will be remembered and fought for even though they remain in horrible, unjust conditions. I heard recently of a blogger who might have taken his life after spending some time in prison and another from Yemen who did the same. It worries me that Americans often don’t question our own government in the treatment of prisoners, both foreign and domestic, since we often fall prey to patriotic propaganda and the likes. The notion that the government is infallible and always has our best interest at heart seems a bit naive on our part. I think I’m pretty cynical but I also hope that through my critical eye that we question everything around us for the sake of compassion and understanding of those who become muted and/or erased by our government. But it’s not just the U.S., I should admit that much, but many other countries, political groups, gangs, etc that forget their humanity in the struggle for power and dominance.

It’s also so weird that I’ve been thinking about this and yet I have a bit more respect for our local police that helped us out yesterday. We’ve been taking our walks for a few weeks now since we got our cool little nikes that don’t cripple our feet like our old ones did. Yesterday was a bit of a random day since I had some things to do so we didn’t start our walk until 7pm which is rather late for us but it’s been so light and warm out we still were able to exercise. We reached the top of the hill and were getting ready to cross the street when we noticed a man attempting to break into Nathan’s car. >.<  I was about to flip out at the guy but we calmly walked over and then of course Nathan laid into the guy….He had managed to pop out part of the back window and was trying to get it to go down when we found him but thankfully we got the window back in easily.

This guy starts giving us some bullshit about how it’s his friend’s car and how he lives at No.4 and he knows our manager Carlos….We totally laughed in hindsight….why would you break into a friend’s car in the first place? The guy who lives at No.4 is not named Steve….and our Manager isn’t named Carlos. The sad part is that he could have found out the manager’s name if he looked at the ‘For Rent sign…call J-‘. I just couldn’t believe the nerve of this guy especially since the only thing of value in Nathan’s car is an empty soda can. But this has actually happened numerous times…he’s actually gotten his license plates stolen and we got tickets because the DMV wasn’t open on the weekend when it happened. I had to buy a new drill kit because they stole his out of his trunk because he didn’t think anyone would break into his car….the list goes on. Granted he’s getting rid of his car because of major electrical problems but it’s still the principle.

And I’m totally for being a Narc being that we have to deal with this kind of stuff all the time. We even saw a couple walk by the guy and they didn’t even say anything…personally I would have called the cops if I witnessed a break in even if it turned out to be the owner who locked in his keys I still would want to make sure it wasn’t a break in. Especially in our neighborhood. It’s not even a bad neighborhood but we get so many transients and people who are just ‘scumbags’ to quote my neighbor. Seriously, we have an elderly home on our street and a lot of nice people but Santa Cruz just attracts a lot of people in our area…haha but I suppose it makes life a bit interesting as opposed to living on the Westside where everyone is loaded and kind of assholes to regular folks. Anyway, so we called the cops and tried to tail the guy but he turned into one of the apt. complexes near us and we’re pretty sure he just jumped a bunch of fences since the two streets that he would have taken are really long so it’s great visibility. The cops showed up really quickly and to be honest the female cop was kind of a bitch and looked at me funny…maybe my purple running shorts were seen as a fashion crime in her eyes. But the male officer was really nice and was joking around with us and every understanding. We got to watch him dust for fingerprints and I even helped out since his roll of tape was hard to peel and since I have long fingernails I can now say I partook in civic duty. I doubt they’ll catch the guy but if the fingerprints come up and he tries it again maybe it will help their case. It’s really odd because a lot of the cops can be jerks around here but I’ve also seen and heard from friends about really nice ones so I guess it’s like any profession…although I do think certain counties have a higher proportion of jerky cops but maybe I’m just biased. We actually had a friend who got fined for spitting which I thought was really over the top because I’ve grown up knowing, hearing, and seeing guys spit because they feel the need (even though personally I think it’s all in their heads because I’ve known way too many guys who don’t spit regularly). But he actually won his case but that is just a random story that I thought I should write….

Anyway, that was exciting….

In other news, Nathan finally hooked up my new monitor (from christmas) and installed his wireless mouse (also from christmas)…we’re not usually that lame about things but I knew Nathan would feel sad about not having a big screen even though he’s using my old screen which was bigger than his old one. Little puppy dog eyes totally get to me so I’m sure we’ll be getting him one also since we’re totally spoiled only-children. But I think we’re a bit unique because we’re not the kind of spoiled kids that want a bunch of stuff and need a bunch of attention but we definitely get jealous if one of us gets a shiny new toy. I’m still jealous of his iphone even though I like my little phone and I can’t ever work his touchscreen anyway…but now that they lowered the prices on them we might both get upgrades since he thinks his ‘old’ phone is too slow since it’s one of the OG iphones (original gangster). But the point is that we’re shiny addicts…we love new shiny boxes, shiny new books, dvds, it’s just so magical because it’s like christmas for us every time we buy something.

So I’ll have to take a picture of my new monitor but I’ve been kind of pathetic with taking pictures lately….too much work, I think. But I have taken some which I’ll present now…woohoo

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My awesome blueberry pie! Well, it tasted great and looked pretty good from the top but the recipe told me to make a mound in the center but I think I made it a bit big by the looks of the photo but it was my first one. I’ve waited an entire year for fresh summery blueberriers and $20US later I was stocked up with them and making my pie. Blueberries aren’t the cheapest berries for a pie but it was super good and they’re full of great things like anti-oxidants. Mmmm. Personally, I was thinking about going with the ‘joy of baking’ recipe but Martha is pretty consistent so I tried hers out. I think there wasn’t enough of something because the berries didn’t meld as much as I thought they would  and I’m think I should have mashed more of the berries than the recipe called for. Still yummy and maybe in a week or so I’ll make it again.

The only other picture is my celtic cable scarf which was taken two weeks ago ( I think) and it’s longer now but still going slowly since it’s hard to find time between the cooking and cleaning and the bike riding.

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The flash kind of washed out the cables since the shadows show the depth and interweaving more but every time I tried it with no flash it was blurry. It must have been me or something because I’ve taken the flash off before and it was fine. Anyway, it’s more a magenta then a pepto pink…not sure if it looks girly but I like bright colors. It was kind of nice because I went to the bookstore and picked up a knitting magazine and the checkout woman was asking me what I was working on and talking to me about knitting. Sometimes I feel like I’m projecting some 1950s image but when I meet people who like similar things or understand my work it’s both relieving and wonderful to connect with someone.

I didn’t start this scarf as a celtic cable scarf since a. I thought it might be a little euro-centric of me and b. everyone loves those cables. But after a few failed attempts at the triple twist cable I figured I ought to switch for my sanity. To be honest, I’ve been a bit conflicted about my cooking and knitting b/c I spend so much time cooking that I don’t get as much knitting in as I’d like. I’ve been thinking of toning down my cooking menus but I feel bored if I eat a meal twice in one week, excluding salads. I think I’m still in awe of vegan cooking and discovering all I can do. I’ve always loved working with my hands and touching things so cooking is so fascinating and there is so much to learn from vegan cooking in terms of binding agents, leavening agents, and substituting the right thing in regard to flavor. So maybe I’ll eventually get into more of a cooking pattern so I can delve into knitting more. I have so much to learn and since it’s all self taught I have many disasters and frustrations but so much more enjoyment. Plus I think it’s a bit easier to sell knit items than cooking stuff unless I make a cookbook. At this point I’m trying to focus on gaining more skill, making some presents, and hopefully being able to turn out some easy, warm, and functional items for the winter for the charity organizations. I actually saw last week that an immigrant workers union is looking for warm clothing, blankets, and food items for their clients (not sure if that is the correct term) so I’m really hoping to make some items for them as well. Plus the vet we go to is always asking for blankets for their animals since they are in partnership with some adoption agencies so I think about doing something for them too.

I guess I just want to help others while at the same time I want to earn money off of my future talent. I’m still learning so much though that I can’t really expect to make patterns and items until I invest more time and money into knitting but I still think about these things. I remember one time in one of my anthro classes that this one student was complaining that these elderly women were knitting items for the organization she worked for that helped women and children in africa that were suffering from issues such as disease, aids/hiv, lack of food, etc. And she was saying that instead of knitting these blankets that they should have been donating money because their items were impractical. Even though I hadn’t picked up knitting at that point, I was still upset because people still need those sorts of items and if the issue was that the yarn was too heavy for the climate then why didn’t they approach the knitters about making more light weight items…or making knit diapers (which I’ve seen some really crazy, time consuming ones) or even knit mosquito nets? I suppose I was upset by the ungrateful attitude of the student who obviously didn’t know how much time goes into those items and they obviously picked that organization to help. They could have sent those items to E. Europe, or Asia, or the colder regions of the Americas. I guess it upset me that she was looking a gift horse in the mouth….I think that is the phrase…if not I’ll come back and correct it. haha.

In light of all that has been happening in California, I think they should nominate me as the new Miss California because I do want world peace and I want to help out even though I don’t make six figures and I don’t think money is always the answer. How many times have governments and corrupt groups taken aid and money and never helped those who were starving and dying? We donate to our local radio station a few times a year, give tips,  and try to lessen our impact on the world and yet so many others only care about if they have the newest Tiffany’s bracelet or fancy new car. None of which are bad (although I would still argue about blind consumerism) but I think we need to pull together as a people, nation, and world and help each other out. I think most religions would agree. And I’m not even trying to be a saint because I love bottled water, I love my new nikes, I love being wealthy enough to buy organic and fair trade, and I love being a first world citizen…I even ::gasp:: consume dairy once a week which goes against our veganism. I suppose I’m just sick of people saying they’re too strapped to give back or are too busy….what about volunteering? or what about not maxing out their credit because our society practically forces us to consume excessively. Ugh…I’ll stop this rant. I think Disney corrupted me with ‘It’s a Small World’ ride. Even though we don’t go to church and we’re not really religious I think we’re good followers of Jeezy Creezy. Every time I wear my Nino de Atocha or St. Francis de Assisi necklace I go into the world thinking about those groups that they help. Maybe it’s silly and superstitious but deep down I pray that they will help the prisoners, travelers, or lost animals and guide them to a path that leads to their safety…haha maybe I am a bit more of a Catholic than I think I am.

Anyway, I need to post more because I tend not to rant as much but I’m pretty sure only my family reads this ::waves:: I think I’m safe.

I’m going to end with a great video link of a World of Warcraft movie that players love and many people make great movies but this group is one of my favorites.Until next time….eat good food and be happy.

19
May
09

Goodbye to my wisdom….teeth

Well I am finally back to my less stressful life.

I’ve been freaking out for a week about ‘going under’ while getting my teeth extracted. It just scared me to think about being totally unaware of what was happening to my body and then there was that whole Seinfield episode where he thinks his dentist is kind of pervy and may have violated him while under nitrous…I think I worry too much.

So yes, I’ve been really nervous but they gave me some meds before the appt. to probably calm down people like me. I felt like I was getting some plastic surgery though. Was all covered up, they placed a bandage over my hairline to keep from getting in the way, I was plugged into a heart monitor (EKG I think), had some nerdy glasses put on, and had my blood pressure taken so often. I wonder if the blood pressure machine helped speed up the drugs since they gave it to me through and I.V. Oh, and they stuck tubes in my nose for oxygen which was probably a bit of a relaxer too. But I must be a totally nut because all this stuff made me so nervous and listening to my heart beat made it worse.

But I sort of drifted off but was still awake which was nice. I could actually feel them take out the teeth…a bit unpleasent but I’m glad I was somewhat awake for that. I can’t believe how quickly it was done and I can feel that they are gone. I feel kind of bad…maybe I should have asked them for my teeth because I didn’t even have a goodbye talk with them. 😦

Well, I was super drugged and I felt really funny…I had this silly notion that I would come back, rest a bit, and then go for our walk. Of course I conked out for hours only to wake up and load up on more drugs and antibiotics. But Nathan was great and made me a whole pot of soup while I was asleep and it made me feel so good. 

Weirdly enough I’m not in any pain so far today although eating banana bread with walnuts wasn’t as wise a choice on my part. Hopefully I won’t have to take any more of the vicodin since it sort of makes me funny and clouds my head. I probably wouldn’t mind being a bit funny but I hate feeling like I lack my normal amount of clarity (which isn’t much to begin with). So hopefully it will just be my antibiotics and some advil for the next few days.

11
May
09

the wonderful life of sea lions

New post at last.

So many things to write about but I’m not sure where to begin. Serves me right for not posting as often as I should. Well, I suppose I could start with knitting. I’ve actually finished Nathan’s gloves and they came out nicely. I’ll have to post pictures another day since I need to weave in the ends still. I’ve been trying to work on my cable knitting but it seems some of the more complicated patterns are annoying because of the yarn I’m using. I’ve read that cotton yarn can be hard to work with sometimes because it’s not as flexible as some animal yarns. I tried a few times to make a certain pattern but the yarn was really stiff and wasn’t coming out remotely uniform so I gave up with that yarn. Now I’m trying another yarn which I think may be a cotton/acrylic blend which makes it a bit more managable but it still seems a bit complicated. I’m trying to decide if I should give up on the project and maybe buy some other plant yarns to work on lace shawls, hats, etc that I want to try for potential gifts in the future.

In terms of food, nothing new really. Although we did have a very mediocre Japanese style dinner last week. We really wanted ramen so I looked up a recipe and decided we’d make Shoyu ramen soup which is basically a soy sauce based soup. The broth started off nicely: leeks, shoyu, no-chicken broth, and a few other things. It kind of went down hill when we added the noodles, mushrooms, and seitan. I wanted a bit of substance so I added carrots and dried shittake mushrooms to the soup but the mushrooms ended up changing the broth completely and making it way too….mushroomy. I actually made some mushroom broth the other day to freeze and it tastes great but the 4 shittakes in the 3 cup ramen broth just overpowered the other ingredients and was just too strong for our liking. Then the noodles…well we got these fresh noodles from the market that were actually made from tofu and they tasted alright but it just didn’t have that good ramen taste which I think had to do with noodles being made from tofu.  But the noodles weren’t all that bad in comparison to the mushrooms and setain. We picked up pre-flavored chicken seitan since we’d never tried it and because we thought it would taste better in the soup. Ugh, I don’t know how Nathan managed to eat 2 pieces of it because it was so disgusting I almost spit it out onto my plate but thought it might not be all that appealing for Nathan to look at while we ate. We ended up just spooning it out because it was so nasty. Who knew seitan could taste so horribly.

The other part of the meal was kind of cool. I made teriyaki setain which was about 1/4 cup of soy sauce with a 1/3 cup mirin for about 8oz (I doubled it because I made enough to feed a small country…and we ate it all…not sure what that says about us….but the soup did suck so….). I heated up a pan with a high heat oil and dusted the seitan with salt, pepper, and then flour. Started to fry them up and then….then came the flambe! Omg, I am so awesome! So I had my sake all ready and I was nervous as hell and Nathan was standing by to make sure I didn’t burn off my hands. We also had some matches on hand in case it didn’t flame up.

So I tossed in the sake and nothing happened. ::Sigh:: I think I was so freaked out about it that I didn’t let the pan get hot enough but we ended up lighting a match and using tongs to light the sake. Took a couple of tries until we realized the first burst was about as fancy as it was going to get. It did look pretty cool thoug the flames coming up and dancing around the seitan but I wish it had lasted longer. Oh well. Came out really yummy but next time I think I’ll add some spices and garlic. At least the teriyaki came out nicely and the photos did too.

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The onion picture is only up because I thought they were so funny with their little shoots.

Hmmm…let’s see. Took a nice stroll down to the wharf last week which was nice and it’s so pathetic that we haven’t been there for at least 2 yrs. and we live a block away. We can literally see the wharf and ocean from the driveway but I suppose we never go because there isn’t much to do and we can’t really eat at the restaurants since it’s mainly seafood. Still, I hope we go a bit more often because it’s really fun to see the sealions and all the birds. We even saw a guy standing on a makeshift raft paddling towards the beach. Hopefully he made it alright.

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Ah, what beautiful and interesting local animals. It seems all but one is native to the region but I can’t be for certain.

18
Apr
09

Dough Girl

So I’m really full from eating so I doubt I’ll make this post long.

Food just addles my brain too much. Been a quiet week here and we didn’t do anything for Easter. I feel sort of conflicted about the whole egg thing b/c a. I obviously wouldn’t want to use eggs, b. it seems like a waste of food, and c. are plastic eggs recyclable or even worth the effort? Maybe we ought to make Jezey-Crezey scavenger hunts so that kids are more connected and plus it might be kind of funny to think up items. Or maybe I’m just a party pooper and shouldn’t worry about all the real and fake eggs.

So yes, hmm. I’ve decided I need to make more Italian, Indian, and Eastern European food since I’m rather bad at it. Not so much in the sense that the food is bad but I am less familiar with it so it’s hard to improvise. Although when it comes to E.European food I am totally learning since I’ve never really had it before.

I set out yesterday to make some Samosas since Nathan really loves taters and they seem like a nice food item to freeze like wontons. I got a recipe online and the recipe for the most part was pretty solid.

I have to admit though that the dough wasn’t as firm as it should have been. I’m not sure if it had to do with the size of the semolina flour that I used or what because I rolled the the dough out into 6in. diameter shapes (notice shapes…at this time I suck at making nice little circles) and it seemed a bit thin. The video said to form the halves into cones and hold it as an ice cream cone but the dough kept collapsing on itself. So I simply ended up plopping the mixture on the dough and then folding the corners and top over.

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So I ended up saving them for today and defrosted them and made the salad. Mmm salad…I like to put flaxseed meal on the salads for more nutrients and I can’t even taste it so I would really recommend trying it…get your Omegas. Anyway, I was considering baking them since it’s healthier but we mainly get our fats from oils and nuts now a days and fried food is just so great. They turned out really tasty but next time I think I need to boil the taters a bit longer. They just seemed a bit uneven in certain parts but not totally hard by any means. Also I think I’ll try another dough recipe since it seemed a bit thin and I did find one with chickpea flour that sounded tasty. I paired up the Samosas with a Mango Chutney since I had some on hand but I’m not sure what is considered traditional. Overall I thought it was totally yummy.

For dinner I decided to make home made ravioli. It took about 2 hours from start to finish which isn’t bad since it was a new recipe and I hadn’t made pasta at home. Mixed the flours and water and apparently semolina dough is kind of hard to work with and I’m not sure if it’s hard with eggs or not but I would say that it was a bit tough to get it to the elasticity that I wanted. Bascially just flour, semolina, olive oil, and water…knead for ten min. and then wrap in a towel.

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So for all those who may be inspired to make some home-made pasta I warn you to make the well of the flour much bigger than my little one. I poured in the water and it started overflowing and needless to say I ended up with a very messy shirt by the time it was over. The dough isn’t as yellow as I had thought it would be but that is most likely because of the lack of eggs but it was still a very nice dough.

I divided the dough into quarters and rolled two pieces out at a time keeping one under a moist towel. By the end my arms and shoulders were a bit achy and I seemed to have learned a good thickness for the dough. Now all I have to learn is to make sheets or circles when I roll the dough 😦

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The filling was spinach and Tofu ricotta. The spinach I simply let sweat a bit in the pan and then chopped it up. The Tofu ricotta is pretty simple, just crumble firm tofu and add basil, nut. yeast, salt, minced garlic, lemon juice (I didn’t have any so I added a bit of vinegar), and salt to taste. Then I just mixed it up and spooned it out.

Dinner came out really yummy but I totally messed up while boiling the ravioli. I was heating up the sauce (out of the jar…not making homemade sauce too!) with a wooden spoon so I thought I’d just push down the raviolis with the end of spoon for even cooking. I didn’t notice until a few dunks that the spoon end was puncturing some of the raviolis! Omg how annoying. Thankfully most of them were intact but Nathan still ate some of the left over filling.

The only thing is that I’m kind of bummed that there are no left overs since it took so long to make. Maybe I’ll search out one of those hand cranking pasta machines to make the dough come out faster. Oh well but it was pretty fun and way tasty.

Now I just have to look up a good Pierogi recipe since Nathan totally loves them and I’ve never tried them.

05
Apr
09

It’s a hard knock life

Well I’ve had a bad cooking week.

I try to be open minded and adventurous with recipes but this week has been a let down. To be fair I don’t usually try too many new recipes a week since it’s quite frustrating to waste a bunch of time and money making crappy food and then having to be hungry which results in eating out. I hate eating out now since most of the food is so greasy or just bland.

I ❤ spicy food!

So this past weekend I was hungry but I was saving the rest of the seitan I had for green chili stew and I wasn’t up to making a tofu dish for lunch. Plus I didn’t have any canned beans or cooked beans which was horrible and I didn’t want to eat fake meat. Anyway, I flipped through my cookbooks and finally found a cajun tempeh recipe that sounded good. Basically I simmered the tempeh to hydrate it a bit and then made a spice mix…paprika, brown sugar, salt, thyme, cayenne, and some other spices. Basically a spice rub.

So I rubbed the tempeh in the rub and fried it up in some olive oil. I also had some red chard on hand since I have been trying to mix up my dark, leafy greens. So I cut it up and minced some garlic and sauteed it all and I included the thick stems since they were just too beautiful to leave out.

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The stems really remind me of rhubarb. I was really surprised about the chard…the leafy part tasted like I thought…kind of hard to screw up sauteed greens but the stems were amazing because they had a very distinct sweetness to them. However, Nathan didn’t like it at all although he did put up a good front since I get really crabby when recipes don’t turn out well or if he just doesn’t like something. Well, at least now I know not to buy so much chard since I’m the only one who likes it. I think it’s the only green he doesn’t like but now I have like 1.5lb of it that I’ll have eat myself haha.

The tempeh turned out horrible because it came out so bland. I was really surprised that there was no flavor so it wasn’t disgusting but just lacking in any flavor. Ugh so lame.

Then I tried out this recipe I’ve been itching to make but our local market doesn’t carry horseradish root. The recipe is Horseradish and Coriander Crusted Tofu from V. with a Vengeance which has a lot of great recipes. Anyway, I marinaded the tofu overnight and prepared the baking dish and all the other ingredients. Apparently horseradish gets bitter if you don’t use it right away so I made sure to grate it last. Basically the crust mix was lemon zest, crushed coriander, horseradish, olive oil and some other rather neutral tasting items. Personally, the directions made it sound like the mix would stick to the tofu easily but I really had to pat it in with my hands and the sides were rather bare. Baked it and broiled it and I didn’t even bother making it a whole meal since I had a feeling it wouldn’t come out the way I thought.

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Turned out totally bland or rather…it tasted like tofu. It wasn’t spicy which was surprising since I was crying while grating the horseradish. I think Nathan liked it more since he can eat tofu plain without being grossed out. I’ll admit that the cookbook recommended making a vegan tarter sauce to dip the tofu in but I still felt like I would be gaining flavor from the dip rather than the tofu dish. At least it took less time to make than the cajun dish but it still ended up with us getting Tofu Burgers from the market.

So yes, now I have practically a whole horseradish root and a bunch of coriander seeds that I’ll have to deal with. And I already have prepared horseradish and ground coriander. But I suppose not all dishes can come out perfectly but it still sucks to waste the time and money searching for the ingredients and then making it only to throw it out. Although I’m really excited about making some vegan cheese since the new Vegetarian Times gave a few recipes. Vegan cheese is kind of hit and miss since it tries too hard to be like a deli cheese but the recipes in the magazine are similar to feta and goat cheese. Although I think feta is from goats but the consistency is different between the two.

In other news, the Farmer’s market is super awesome since new food is coming in. But better than the food are the flowers! I’ve been buying tulips these last couple of weeks but I’ve switched to other flowers this week but I have no clue what they are called. I actually do look at the labels and try to remember but since I keep a mental list of everything I need to buy but I just end up forgetting the names of flowers that I’ve never heard before.  So I’m posting them because they are so pretty and lively.

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Ah, let’s see…we finally got our bed frame delivered. We are now officially less ghetto now since before we had our box spring on the floor with our mattress on top. We did have a bed frame but that frame was too small for our queen and we wanted a metal bed frame that fit our style. So we finally found a company that had our style of our furniture and finally a year later we bought it. I felt kind of cool about it since the company makes the furniture in the U.S. but then my mom told me they probably use C.A. labor which is probably somewhat true. But regardless, the frame is cool and it was pretty easy to assemble only took about 20 min. to put together excluding the time to take the parts out and having to sweep the floors free of dust and kitty kibble.  I only took one crappy pic since the cats were on the bed and I didn’t want to engage in a kitty royale battle just to make the blanket look nice for a second for a pic.

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Now that I’m looking at the photo I noticed how dark the bed frame looks  but it’s actually a silver color and the finish is a brushed steel look. That’s what I love about the frame is that it’s full steel so it’s not flimsy at all. And yes I know the fitted sheet isn’t fully covering the mattress but the stupid set shrank and it’s so hard to make it fully fit…I think it has to do with the fact that we have a pillowtop mattress but oh well.

That’s about all the news here and I really need to write more about class, race, and other important things that I have no qualifications in but I still like to write about it. I’ll try to update more but I’ve been busy knitting and trying new recipes. So…until next time…eat good food, be happy, and listen to good music and radio 😀

30
Mar
09

Stuffed

I don’t really feel like blogging but I suppose I ought to.

One of our birds died this past week and it was really horrible being that I had to watch him die but we found him a nice little place where poppies grow and the grass grows long. Kind of stumped about what to do with our other bird since she’s bound to get lonely and although I cook a lot I’m not sure if it’s enough attention for her. We’ll see…

I haven’t really made that much new food although I did make a fettuccine alfredo type dish which had mixed results. It wasn’t really close to an alfredo sauce although I’ve never had the non-vegan version in real life as it is. But this recipe used onions, nut. yeast, and pine nuts as the main base with all the other ingredients pureed. Simply sauteed some broccoli and mushrooms and then added everything to the pasta. I wouldn’t say the sauce was bad but it wasn’t like a cream and didn’t taste anything like I had thought it would. I can’t explain the taste because it was so weird and new. Although it was an interesting sauce I don’t think I’ll be using that recipe again. It was just so different that I can’t seem to grasp what I like or dislike about it…hmm…strange sauce…

I attempted to make my own stuffed roma tomatoes since I saw this program over the winter holidays that featured some cheese filled tomatoes. Instead of cheese I used a Tofu Ricotta recipe which is essentially crumbled tofu with basil and a few other ingredients. I really should have saved the tomato juice and insides for something but I didn’t have a container and I wasn’t sure how long it would last. Anyway, I stuffed the tomatoes and baked them for about 20 min. In truth, I based the baking time on an online recipe but I think their oven temp. must be different than mine because the tomatoes lost quite a bit of their shape and I forgot to take into account that tofu dries out whereas cheese just gets melty. So I really should have only baked them for 10min at most since I like the tofu ricotta to be nice and moist and I seriously had to stop myself from eating the tofu before I even stuffed the tomatoes because it is so damn tasty.

Overall, an interesting meal that need some major changes but I suppose I can’t always get it right the first time.

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I forgot to add that I did sprinkle the tops with bread crumbs which I’m not sure if I’ll do again. Seemed a bit pointless but some people really love bread crumbs.

It’s a bit strange to feel the seasons change especially since everyone claims that California doesn’t have seasons. But now that I’ve been shopping at the farmer’s market for almost a year I now realize how lucky we are to have these items available throughout the year in regular markets. The changes in seasons can be a bit disruptive because I want to continue eating certain types of food even though they aren’t really in season now that it’s becoming spring. I think it’s part of the reason why I feel like I have no new food time make even though I know there is so much I could think up. But I am excited that the strawberries are coming into season since I’m a Berry Fanatic and I picked up some blackberry jam this week for our breakfast rolls.

I suppose that is all I will write today.

20
Mar
09

All-American BBQ

Are you drinking vegan beer?

Yes, beer is one of many food/drink items that seems to be vegan or vegetarian but some are not. I’m still trying to figure out if Modelo is or not but I do know that heineken is vegan. Yay for beer but hopefully Modelo is vegan because I’ll be uber sad if it’s not.

Anyway, this week has been pretty springy in that the weather is nice but randomly chilly. Left overs of winter I suppose. The more we march towards Spring the more excited I get about new food items at the Farmers’ Market. I already picked up a rosemary plant and two weeks ago I picked up an Italian parsley plant. It seems like the plant stands are around during the spring and early summer since I don’t remember seeing them during fall or winter. But I’m excited to start growing some of my own herbs but I do need to find some organic fertilizer so I can repot them.

Strawberries are starting to show up and so are Asparagus. Besides those two items it’s been rather slow for me in terms of produce. Been picking up the usual onions, garlic, dark leafy greens, fresh pasta, bread, and flowers. Oh how I need to post pics of my beautiful flowers. I indulge in 20US a week in flowers but they are sustainably grown and organic so I don’t feel so bad about it. This week I got more tulips in the red, yellow, and White-Red variety. I love that they are so tall and really give the kitchen more height.

As I mentioned in an earlier post I’ve been rather stumped on new dishes but I’m slowly rethinking and imagining new food combinations. Of course some dishes come from cookbooks but I do depend on my own stomach to come up with combinations and such.

The most exciting thing this week has been Tempeh. I hadn’t tried  it and Nathan has had it on veggie burgers at our local deli but they had the ‘bacon’ kind which he said sucked. So naturally he denounced the protein product because his prior experiences were so terrible but I wanted to try it since I think my cooking skills are rather sharp now that I’ve been cooking so much over the past year or so. Plus he was totally wrong about Nut. Yeast so I had to try it.

The tempeh offered at our markets come in ‘veggie’, ‘soy’, ‘flax’, and ‘bacon’…although I discovered at the other market that they have a 3-grain one. So I went with the flax version since flax is super good for the body (mind included) since the veggie one sounded too healthy. I used a recipe from ‘Vegan with a Vengence’ which called for a hot sauce marinade. I used a pretty spicy hot sauce that uses habanero peppers…I’ll have to remember the product name in case anyone asks. The marinade actually reminded me of my Seitan Asado marinade but more simplistic which would seem easier and just as flavorful for people who don’t have a lot of time to cook. Anyway, tempeh is like a super protein and I think it originates in Indonesia which is just so cool in the sense of thinking where all of our food items come from. Especially since I love to proclaim that all the good food items come from the New World : D

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About half that block is a single serving and in some aspects it is much better than tofu…40% protein for half of that block! So I cut the tempeh in half and then in triangles resulting in 4 pieces. Oh and tempeh is fermented soybeans by the way in case people are wondering although the process is more complex then I just made it out to be. I doubt I’ll be making my own tempeh any time soon.

So I left the tempeh to absorb the sauce and started working on the veggies/grains aspect. We just got some corn in at our local market and I had to pick it up. Mmmm!!! corn! How I love thee! I also had some green beans which I had to use up because I didn’t want them to rot. So I removed the silk from the corn and let them sit in water for about 30 mins or so…apparently soaking them results in a faster cooking time and nicer kernel texture. I wasn’t too excited about the green beans because I’ve always hated them. They always looked so sickly green and limp. Not tasty at all…but since I had bought them I had to use them so I simply tossed them in olive oil, salt, and a pinch of chili pepper and put them into bake for about 15min at 425F.

Once the corn was done soaking I just grilled them on my cast iron pan for about 20min turning them every couple of minutes and then grilled the tempeh for about 4 min on each side. Placed everything on the table and wow was it a great indoor BBQ style dinner. The greens turned out so great I couldn’t believe it. I thought they’d be sort of bland but they were almost sweet and really absorbed the oil nicely. The corn was great and the tempeh tasted almost like a thick rice pattie. It’s the only way for me to describe it…it was sort of nutty (maybe due to the flax), very meaty, and over all a nice part of dinner.

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15
Mar
09

You’re only a rebel from the waist downwards

I hate wisdom teeth.

So one of my wisdom teeth has been coming in and it stopped for awhile so I didn’t make an appointment because I thought it just might go away. Now it’s pushing through again so I’m probably going to have Nathan make me an appointment since I’m too scared to even think about it. Ugh…never had braces or teeth pulled (well by other people) so it’s kind of freaky. But I’m sitting here sort of gnawing on my gum-covered tooth which is kind of weird so I suppose I really ought to just get it over with and have them give me laughing gas.

Nothing new since I’m super boring but I do have some pics. I’ll get the pics out of the way instead of ranting on about something random but I suppose that tactic works for keeping readers but oh well. I made some more stuffed mushrooms last week (or maybe two weeks…I need to update more) but I used a different recipe. Button mushrooms stuffed with seitan, bread crumbs, veggies, and spices. I baked them for about 10min in some olive oil so the juices released and added that to the stuffing. Came out nicely and way easier to eat than portobello or shiitake mushrooms since the button variety are like little wells of yumminess.

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I’ve been trying to spice up my veggies for Chinese since it’s good to eat different types of greens but I love bok choy and broccoli so it’s hard to remember there are other veggies in the world. Made some roasted asparagus with peanut oil, toasted sesame seeds, and toasted sesame oil. I generally don’t like roasted food items but didn’t want to boil them or steam them since the wok takes up a fair amount of room and there was a ton of asparagus. The veggies actually ended up being way better the next day…not sure if the oils absorbed into the greens more or what but either way it both days were great.

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Tried my hand at Greek dolmas and was surprised to find out that other types of dolmas in that general part of the world mean ‘stuffed veggies’ and so many of the recipes I found were for a variety of veggies that were stuffed with the rice mix. I really don’t know why I decided to make a full jar of them since we couldn’t possibly eat the whole platter of them. So I ended up placing them on a plate to freeze the left overs and forgot about them and they ended up with freezer burn. Kind of a waste of food but the rice mix wasn’t all that costly (1 cup rice, onion, random spices) so it was more of a waste of some time but we did eat some so that was a plus.

I should have taken pictures of actually folding them since it was pretty interesting. I layered the first tier of dolmas with extra grape leaves and placed the rest on top. Then I sliced some lemon and also juiced one to add extra flavor. I also added some olive oil. Seriously, those lemon slices released so beautifully and I could really taste the lemon in the dolmas. I’m not sure if the rice absorbed the juice or the leaves but it was really tasty. Personally, I think fresh grape leaves would have a better texture but oh well. I had to let the leaves soak in boiling water for 20mins. in order to get the brine off but I’m not sure if the soaking water even had brine but I did it for good measure. Re thought it was stinky but decided she liked having her face steamed anyway.

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The only other terribly interesting thing I’ve made is Red lentil soup with Black rice. Apparently there are two types of black rice (or so I’ve read) and I was worried that I had the sticky, short-grained version but it turns out (after looking up the product website) that I had the medium grain version. The only reason why I was concerned was that I made a veggie soup last week when it was cold and I ran out of rice so I used my short grained rice that I use for sushi. It came out alright but I could taste the difference and since I was already using a new rice I didn’t want it to taste gross. But it was fine so this whole paragraph is pretty much pointless.

I add way too much crap to my food now and I’m sure some professional chef would be grossed out but I just love spices. I won’t even list all the spices but I did cook the rice separately since lentils and rice tend to absorb quite a bit of liquid. It’s kind of joke between the two of us that our stomachs will explode from the ever expanding rice in soups because it feels like it can just keep getting bigger.

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Great left overs. We just finished it off today and it really is a great lunch soup…filling but not overly so. And the soup pics look a bit weird in color but I think the yellow one just got a bit too much flash. The orange one is closer to the actual color but the rice actually bled into the soup and made it a purple-tinged orange.

I really need to get around to making tamales but it seems a bit daunting. I’ve been kind of stumped this past week or so on new food since there is only so much I can think up. I reference my cookbooks constantly but I go through periods in which certain foods just don’t sound all that great. I really need to find a good Vietnamese cookbook since I love the soups and Nathan loves that cuisine in general.

I did actually make Tofu lo mein (or chow mein I’m still trying to figure out the difference and apparently one of the two is fried noodles I think) with lots of veggies: onion, broccoli, bok choy, garlic, ginger, snow peas, bell pepper, and bean sprouts. Apparently I’m totally lame because I didn’t realize bean sprouts are mung beans although I suppose I could argue that there are lots of types of sprouts that come from beans but I mean the general term that everyone uses. So I looked lame asking my friend at the market about them but he was nice about it.  Anyway, the lo mein was a bit more laborious than I had hoped since I had to fry the tofu first (the whole 14oz. in cute little triangle shapes), cook the noodles, cut the veggies, and then…then finally cook it in the wok.

I’m not sure why I started writing about that but yes…I’m in a food slump. Although maybe to regular folks I seem to have interesting food but I really need to find new recipes.

So yes…I finished my fingerless gloves/mittens finally! I know…I’ve been working on them for some time but I really I finished one glove and then didn’t start the other for awhile. The pattern in my opinion is probably 7 out of 10 since it isn’t all that form fitting and the thumb wasn’t as great as it should have been. Either way, they look cute and I’m at least proud to have finished my first DPN (oooh…double pointed needle) project. What a learning experience. For new knitters as myself, I would encourage people to try it since I find that the first couple of rounds are the hardest to deal with because they seem to be going every direction. But once those rounds were done I notice the needles were less mobile and easier to understand. It’s kind of amazing to read how to do things and then expierence how the yarn and needles work in actuality. Honestly, I kind of like the male version of my gloves better so once I start (and finish) Nathan’s gloves then I might make myself another pair for lil ole me.

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My fingers look really fat and I should have cropped them out haha. If anyone wants to make these then the pattern can be found on Knitty.com under archives. Of course I didn’t make the pattern and I can’t make more than one of their published patterns since I’d be violating some copyright so I’m just writing this to make sure no one thinks I’m that creative. Anyway, on the closer pic the cables are easier to see and I’m proud of them since it was my first time trying cables. To be honest I hated starting these at first because of the cast-on method but I doubt many people know this knitting language so I don’t go into it. But really, now that I’ve done the project I must say I like the the cable cast-on method (I believe that is what it’s called but I’m too lazy to look it up again) because it adds a pretty twist to the beginning of the piece.

Exciting times…I finally decided to read Orwell’s 1984 since it’s one of the few books in the house that I haven’t read. I’ve actually tried (along with Crime and Punishment) but I never was able to get past the first 50 pages. But I’ve been really itching to read something that isn’t online so I started reading it and it’s actually pretty interesting. I had a really weird upbringing academically since I moved a handful of times and honestly many of my teachers were either into newer authors or really old, west-oriented pieces. I think the only Shakespeare that I read was Othello and I’ve hardly read any Classic American lit. But now that I’m not under the guidance of teachers/prof.s I get to pick my own lit but too often I pick non-traditional pieces. Which isn’t bad but I suppose I should know what people mean when they reference books but I’m not sure if that makes me a sell-out or a person attempting to learn…probably both. It’s kind of weird because I didn’t realize that I some how jacked the book from my mother since the first page is dated on her birthday and there is a little note about having a nice birthday. I actually never looked at the date and kept wondering who had owned the book before, especially since the note doesn’t make all that much sense…at least to me. But yesterday I noticed the date and thought…wow that is familiar…omg it’s my mom’s book…then…how did I end up with her book?

The book even has those back pages in which people could tear them out and make a mail order for more books from the publisher which I find so funny because I can’t imagine myself doing something like that to a book. I don’t even know if they had copy machines back in 1981 so it just seems like a horrible act to rip a page out of a book. Anyway, I think the book has some interesting points but some of it really rubs the wrong way…maybe it’s my feminist ideology. It just seems (at least from the first half of the book) that the main woman/love interest is so sexual because it is an act of rebellion towards the ruling party. But he writes that she is only interested in rebelling in aspects that pertain to her life…as if her sexuality is one of the primary sources of her intellectual protesting but beyond that she can’t be bothered. I guess I like it on one degree because even in this day women can’t truly be sexually liberal in the main stream (at least from my perspective) so I find the character interesting because she seems to be using sex as a way as a gateway to protesting. But then (at least at this point in the book) she seems to be confined to using sex as her way of expressing anything at all which makes me wonder…why is it that women are either whores or pillars of purity? Maybe it’s hard to analyze the book since it’s was published in 1949 so women’s lib and all that was quite a ways away. It’s almost like Orwell is giving some recognition that women can be strong and rebellious and political but only to a point and then men take over in the truly intellectual arena. The main character loves the intimacy (sex and just human connection) but realizes that his lover can’t see the bigger picture…like he will rise above her in enlightenment and she isn’t more than a slightly more intelligent lower class worker.

I don’t know. I’ll have to finish the book this week and think about it. It’s just hard to understand why authors write so heavily about men/boys/young men/etc. Even some women writers. Maybe it has to be done to sell books. The media is full of male oriented content and sometimes I feel like women are pushed to appriciate a male’s perspective but women’s perspectives are never really delved into. But I suppose there are plenty of examples to counter my statement and I know plenty of films, lit, media, etc that features women but I think there is still room for more media/lit. that explores women and their understandings of the world (even if the women can only fill a few roles at a time…in terms of race, gender, sexuality, class, nationality, etc).

Anyway, that is my random blog for the day.  Hopefully it was somewhat enjoyable to read.

13
Mar
09

plastic

big-lips

It’s pretty scary when I flip through random pictures and wonder if certain body parts are real or not. I’ve seen enough lip ‘plumping’ to last a lifetime and it doesn’t get easier to look at.

And just to relieve all the readers…those lips are those kiddie wax ones that people love to use because they are so freakish…but seriously…I think I’ve seen some people in the media (and rl) who have huge ass lips as big as these…

Where do we draw the line between looking youthful and sucking on some ass fat that has been injected into someone’s lips that only makes them look like sausage lips?

27
Feb
09

time for some oldies

20
Feb
09

Show me your Grillz

I am the grill master

Yes, this new grill pan is gunna get a workout in this house! Nothing really exciting happened today except for cooking since I stayed home. I decided to make Seitan Asado again which doesn’t seem new but I’ve baked in the past rather than grilling the seitan. Dinner for tonight probably took around 3 hours to make which wasn’t as labor intensive as it sounds but still a decent amount of work.

I sort of changed my asado marinade recipe…it usually consists of lemon (I always forget to buy limes so they stand in for limes), O.J., garlic, oil, chil powder and maybe some salt. I added more chili pepper this time, paprika, cilantro, sugar and cumin which all are used in Latino/Mexi/Spanish/etc cooking so I figured it would taste good. Oh and I added turmeric for color but the chili powders kind of overwhelmed the turmeric so I don’t think I’ll add it next time.

Anyway, I made some fresh seitan today so I added about 1/2 cup of the broth to the marinade and then sliced the seitan into thin strips that reminded me of fajitas. I started making some salsa verde since it’s so tasty and luckily I still had some fresh peppers to use. Used up all my tomatillos which is nice since a couple were starting to rot. The bag label called them ‘Husked Tomatoes’ which made me laugh because they do look like that. So random how people describe objects around them. Started up some Spanish rice although my Tomato paste had some mold so I ended up using a bit of our pizza sauce to replace it. Then I made some guac and started up the grilling!

I kind of added a bit too much peanut oil but oil is yummy so I didn’t mind too much. I first grilled up the red bell peppers which should have been blanched but I totally forgot to do that step so I just let them cook longer and flipped them randomly. Then I simply grilled the seitan strips that look so cool and were 100 times better grilled than baked. I think the combination of the new marinade, the thinner slices, and the grill pan made my Seitan Asado perfecto! I doubt I’ll have to modify the recipe anymore and we ended up eating all of the grilled peppers and seitan.

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So that is pretty much all I’m gunna write. Just wanted to post my cool grill pictures. Mmmm..

19
Feb
09

My, what a large cucumber you have!

Happy Post St. Valentine’s Day!

You know, the older I get the more I enjoy the holiday not so much because I have someone special in my life but because it’s just so fun to be happy and feel like we all love each other. Although I must say having someone to share that silly holiday is super nice. Apparently people in santa cruz also find the holiday fun because our local market ran out of food dye which never happens since they usually carry a bunch. And Chefworks was totally out of ‘cherry red’ food dye but they had christmas red  and burgundy.

I really wonder what cooking items people were making since I’ve never baked anything special for St. Val’s and it always seemed like the holiday in which men take their women out (or possibly the more dominant partner) and wine and dine ’em if you know what I mean. Maybe I’m becoming a cute little woman who thinks baking for my man is super special but I really just love an excuse to eat some sweets here and there.

So I decided to make cupcakes because they are super cute and tasty. Plus I hadn’t really thought that far ahead to make something really fancy so cupcakes fit into my lack of time. I was kind of bummed because I should have bought another bottle of food dye because the cupcakes didn’t come out as red as I had hoped since it had a bit of coco powder mixed it which made the cupcakes a lovely chocolate color with a deep red tint. The only other thing that went slightly wrong is my baking powder…I think it’s a bit old since I got Bob’s Red Mill or something and most of their products come in plastic bags which isn’t that great for powder items. I tried taping the hole but the powder would end up sticking to the tape and so I’m sure the powder got a bit exposed. Plus I’ve had that package for awhile so the point of this is simply that my cupcakes didn’t rise as much as they should have. But just because they didn’t reach their maximum potential doesn’t mean I don’t love them any less. In fact I’m sure they wouldn’t have been nearly as good. simple but so divine.

Anyway, I topped them off with a vegan cream cheese icing and I used a new recipe which came out nicely. Lastly I sprinkled some edible glitter on top and ate about half the batch myself…well not really since I made Nathan eat some just so that I could justify eating a few the next day. Mmm. cupcakes.

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Dark picture but the flash was bleaching out the glitter so I had to turn it off. And yes I didn’t make the frosting smooth for a reason…I think they look a bit windy and unique with their smattering of icing. That and I have yet to buy that special icing spatula but I do think they look like cute little snow-capped mountains.

So yes that was fun. Although I wanted to really get into a cat fight with some bitch at Chefworks. I know, I know…I’m a horrible person but I do try to be nice to people and I’m just one of those people who lets it fester until I get home and then I’m raging mad. It must be some twisted idea about taking the high road and being nice to people to their faces and in public even though they aren’t very nice.

Anyway, so I’m at chefworks looking for sprinkles and some more silicone cupcake holders since I previously only had 6 and I want to be more eco-friendly by not wasting paper cupcake liners. Although now I’ll have to look up and see if silicone ware is even sustainable and if silicone workers are treated nicely. So I’m humming to myself trying to find the right size and beneath the cupcake liners are shelves of cookie cutters and cookie related items. This woman next to me was reaching for some cutters right as I was getting some silicone liners so I excused myself and let her grab her item first. So she asks me, ‘oh what are you making?’ to which I reply, ‘Um…cupcakes!’. The stupid bitch goes on to laugh and say ‘ oh well those are so much easier to make than cookies’ and then walks away.

So I’m standing there thinking ‘what just happened’ and did that woman really need to tell me something that isn’t even true? Seriously, there are some fancy cupcakes in the world and vegan and non-vegan cooks make crazy, beautiful, interesting cupcakes all the time. And seriously? Cookies? Not romantic at all unless she’s in a time warp and thinks it’s still christmas or some other holiday. Ugh…imagine walking down the street and you see someone eating a cookie. Personally, I don’t think I’d imagine how sexy that person is because it’s a cookie…it’s something you make with your kids or eat during a movie or something. But cupcakes are sexy. Fluffy and when you bite into them your teeth sink right in and the smooth icing is just heaven.

Cupcakes 10…Cookies 4 (and I’m being nice)

And even if someone wants to argue that cookies are just as sexy as cupcakes I still would argue that the woman was way out of line. I didn’t ask for her opinion and there are a lot of easy cookie recipes just as there are for most dessert items. Makes me so mad. Plus cupcake batters and some other batters are rather hard to deal with since they can’t be over mixed or else they collapse or do something weird. Which is why I like doing my sweet baking foods by hand rather than buying a mixer because I have more control over the batter. But anyway, that woman was not nice.

All this talk about sexy cupcakes reminds me of how sexual food is. I’ve been thinking about it for awhile now and I know it’s not a new idea. But I sort of feel like desserts are the only foods that are often discussed as sexy. But sometimes when I’m describing foods or thinking about them I realize how pervy it can be. Even just shopping for certain items like cucumbers…aka huge wieners..or when I’m evaluating tomatoes…boobs or cajones…it’s all just so sexual. And I suppose fruit in itself is somewhat sexual because they are the fruit of a tree…we consume the seeds (or eat around them) and in nature poop them out and hopefully the little plants will grow. I mean we’re not part of the reproduction in the explicit sense but we still are apart of it…whether it be humans or animals or nature like the wind. But maybe I’m weird in thinking about this but I guess being around so much food during the week leads me to think about our connection to food and how these food items make us feel. Food isn’t just about nutrition but also about how it makes us feel. Like oils are very sexy…sexy little olive oils that come in different tones and people love to explore taste or another favorite of mine is peanut oil now. I can really taste the difference in cooking some items in it and it gives it a great and interesting twist.

Anyway, I don’t feel like writing a huge book about sexy food so I’ll let you all off the hook from potentially being uncomfortable about food in this aspect. So I finally bought a cast iron grill pan and it’s super sexy. It was actually cheaper at Chefworks rather than online which was surprising. Although I was looking at Williams Sonoma and their stuff is rather pricey so it’s not like I shopped around a lot online. I’m the proud owner of a cute little cherry red Le Creuset cast iron pan and it’s even made in france. Says so even on the pan…underneath the lip it has an imprint that spells out ‘france’. I even watched some weird video on their factory process and how awesome they are and everything.

It sort of makes me feel like a capitalist and consumer (or bad consumer I suppose I should imply) since there were cheaper ones in the store but I had to buy an expensive one because maybe it really is that great. Plus the red enamel is beautiful. But I try to justify my/or our shopping habits by telling myself that if I buy good quality stuff it will last me forever which is very frugal. Quality items are a luxury but I can’t say I know all that much about the cast iron industry to promote buying one brand over another. It’s really hard and laborious to research companies which is a shame since we really should have more transparency within companies so that we know what we’re buying or promoting. Our food is often times local and organic and if it’s not local it’s usually organic, fair trade, and/or sustainable because they have little certified labels on. And some of our health items (dish soap, face soap, lotion, hand soap, vitamins, lip balm, etc) is usually eco-friendly, not tested on animals and sometimes local as well. But when it comes to items such as cookware it’s really hard to figure out how these companies opperate since they don’t like to discuss it. I actually once emailed Fiji water company asking about their sustainability and local relations and if the company was run by the locals, etc but they wrote back that they couldn’t discuss it and unless I start a company that encourages others to promote these good acts I can’t really do much research. I could but being that it’s currently not my career path it is somewhat hard to investigate.

So yes, I wish I knew more about the over all cast iron industry but for now I’m simply happy that I bought one that is super cute. The only thing that annoyed me was that they apparently hired some new guy who thinks that all twenties need to be marked and looked through the light before punching in the given amount of money. I got him twice, once on Valentine’s for some items and then today for my grill pan, which was really irritating. I’ve worked retail and Nathan works with money all the time and we both know fakes (well him more than me). SC actually had a problem about 8months ago because some guy was using a bunch of fake money but I don’t think the cops ever caught him. Anyway, those markers don’t really do anything if I bleach out the the bill and then reprint the new amount on top since it’s really just figuring out the type of paper. And I highly doubt I’d be able to find a black market for cooking items. It would be easier if I worked at a plant and stole some and sold them for a lower price or something. Ugh, like I’m some thief trying to sell off pasta makers and flour shifters. This guy was so lame.

Plus I just think it’s a bit rude. I never marked anything unless it was a hundred or a fifty and even then I think it’s way easier to steal items with a credit card than with cash since many places don’t ask for I.D. If anything stealing with fake money is somewhat impressive but whatever…maybe he was just a cash hater. I only like one older man who works there because he’s always so nice and helpful. If he had a beard I’d call him Santa because he has snow white hair and just so nice. All the other people can continue to be weenies.

I seriously ramble…I think it’s actually worse online. Well my grill pan, I used it tonight since I just had to. I’ve been wanting to make Tofu Satay ever since Nathan took me to this place called Thai Peru which oddly enough is both of those types of food. So tasty and since we don’t have an outdoor grill we’ve never made it. I looked up a few recipes and changed certain things. I used coconut milk for the first time which was scary since I generally hate all that is coconut. The marinade was coconut milk, garlic, some ginger, curry paste, turmeric (mainly for color), cilantro, bit of peanut oil, and a dash of salt. Cut the tofu into 8 pieces and let it marinade for about 2-3 hours.

Next was the peanut sauce which was peanut butter (obvious, and Santa Cruz made!), coconut milk, water, curry paste, brown sugar, and some lime. Came out really tasty and half the reason why I love Tofu Satay is the sauce. I used to go to this Thai place that closed, the King and I, and I would order extra sauce and just eat it plain. Mmmm! I sauteed some Broccoli Raab since eating a big block of protein doesn’t sound all that balanced and set the tofu to grill. Super fun and I asked Nathan to help since it was a new pan and so interesting. We had fun haha.

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Mmmm I wish I had more Satay since it was so good! I might buy the panini press since I’m human and didn’t cut the tofu pieces evenly which is clear since the gril marks aren’t consistent. It’s really not for looks but I love the somewhat crunchiness of the grill marks but either way it was great. I ended up finishing off Nathan’s left over peanut sauce too…I guess a mini dessert.

That’s the news from beautiful SC. Boring but wonderful 😀

14
Feb
09

Friday the 13th

Happy friday the 13th.

Spooky day which seemed even more eerie due to the rain. But I love the rain although it has disrupted my routine quite a bit since I don’t really enjoy riding in the rain. Only got caught once this week and I had a ton of groceries on me but I figured the cold would act as a mini fridge while I rode home. I even had my little lights on to make sure that no one ran me over since most people drive even worse during the rain.

I’m really proud that we got our registration done on time this year and with no tickets! I love going to the dmv because it’s so weird. We played a guessing game of which window we’d get and sort of cracked jokes about the employees. Nothing too bad but honestly it seemed like every time a window would clear up the employee would get up and walk around their area with seemingly no goal in mind. Only to meander back a few minutes later. It might be inefficient but I’m sure if I worked at the dmv and having to deal with people all day that I’d find the excuse to walk around to get some exercise. Some of the people look so crabby but thankfully we either a. get lucky or b. exude a quirky aura in which dmv people start loving us. So far we’ve gotten really great dmv people who laugh and joke and kind of poke fun of us just like we poke fun of them while we wait for our call.

It’s actually what I hate about all these stupid indie movies that come out portraying middle class, every day, technical work sectors to be like. Everything seems drab, the people don’t care what’s going on and seem to never have a brain or only want to stick to the guidelines, and generally sort of patronizing the middle class/working class arena even though fancy pants rich people are still forced to participate in these areas. But in reality when I go to places that would be an ideal indie setting I find that people respond to us usually because we treat them like humans…not some atm machine in which I want to get my business done and over with. I really have issues with the media and movies. It’s probably why I’m willing to watch horrible cheez-ball movies while I hesitate on award winning Oscar nominated movies or hit indie movies.

I think what really bothers me about some of these movies is how depressed the characters are because of how shitty everything in their life is when I feel that often times these movies are implying how depressed these individuals should be instead or maybe that we should feel depressed for them because they can’t see how horrible and mundane their lives are. I suppose I simply resent these representations because it’s a ‘holier than thou’ attitude or possibly trying to escape the horrible life because we can do so much better. And since I spend a lot of time around people who live lives that could parallel some movies I suppose it makes me wonder why all these working class/middle class people haven’t offed themselves already. Well I know (or make theories about) why they haven’t and it comes down again to elitism from intellectual and socioeconomic arenas. These movies and everyday talk about ‘normal’ people are constantly viewed from the perspective of some type of elite group which can’t even critique their own blatantly mundane activities. Maybe working class people understand that they don’t live an exciting and ‘stimulating’ life but that expectation is somewhat classist. I look at some shows that try to portray how working class/middle class people enjoy life and  I try to pick up on it throughout my own daily activities. I always see families or mothers with their children walking along the bike/walk path and hanging out at the park. I see people play basketball and attempting tennis but these people obviously aren’t upper class or even upper middle class since most of those people don’t utilize public spaces anymore. That’s what clubs are for…pay a fee and wear a cute outfit and play racquetball. Not that racquetball is mainly an upperclass type activity but I’m just using it as an example.

Anyway, I’m not sure this is making any sense but I suppose I get tired of listening and seeing medias from a certain class/intellectual perspective especially since it’s quite often degrading or at least somewhat offensive. I guess what I had originally wanted to also point out is: why does the media need to stress how depressed working class/middle class people should be? And why is it only important to look at that single emotion? Sure, I could argue that these classes might have it harder on many levels but I think as a species we’ve learned to create new ways of happiness to balance us out. Whether that be backyard parties, playing online games, going to religious events, using public areas, etc. I think (I think I think I think, I need to remember not to use that opening so often) that being depressed isn’t always a bad thing because sometimes our lives don’t go the way we want them to but we need to remember how to be happy and how to reestablish connections with people so that we can support each other. There are so many reasons why the non-elite have trouble living happy and healthy lives but I believe that many of the issues are systemic rather than coming from individuals choices.

I know many would argue with that but if we look at all the talk about trying to get consumers to spend to stimulate the economy then how can we really blame non-elite classes when they engage in these practices also? Sure on a macro level there are many different theories as how to get the economy going and I acknowledge that I have no business training but I still see sales everywhere and the culture we’ve created has demanded that we keep consuming. Anyway, this is going in a direction that I’d rather not go on about so I’ll end this part here.

So yes, annoying media which seems to be at the center of many lives. I can hardly bring myself to listen to npr at the moment because it just seems so out of touch with what I see every day. Like the plane crash in N.Y. which was really horrible and totally reminds me of why I refuse to fly anywhere that has snow and ice. But I felt a bit upset because although they haven’t fully released the names of the passengers they did know that two women on the plane had been killed who were activists and had been on npr before. So they highlighted what they had done and things they had supported which is great but again it made me feel that npr was taking for granted that these intellectual and socially notable women were worthy of a report which would give the audience some more insight to the crash. But what if I had been on that plane? I doubt they would have gone to the trouble of talking about my life and the things I did because I’m not really all that interesting in the grand scheme of things but yet I think I’ve done a pretty good job at being a decent person. I just wonder about all those other people and wondering if they will ever get a tribute on a national/state level regardless of what they did for a living. Well, I hope that just thinking about those people gives them some remembrance even if it is all the way across the country.

~~~

Ah I love that little ~ great little guy. So changing gears ever so slightly nothing new or interesting here in the great SC. We did finally get one of our streets repaved but the great part is that they only repaved the car lane so us bikers still get the shitty, old pavement while the cars next to us glide on by. I suppose I could argue that we are cooler b/c we rough it but really…after some flat tires and my bike rack screws popping off I will gladly accept a newly paved bike lane.

I haven’t really made any fun new food lately because I’ve been busy cleaning and cooking and knitting and just simply not that creative since it takes a lot of time looking up new recipes and how I want to change them and then trying to figure out what will go nicely with the dish. I did make posole but that really turned out to be green chile stew with posole in it. MMM….I re-hydrated some pinto beans and hominy and home cooked beans are so much better I can’t get over it. Anyway, I bought some poultry rub so I rubbed up my seitan and ‘browned’ it a bit and scooped it out. Then I just added onion and garlic and let that sizzle for a bit and then added serranos and spices. Poured in the broth, green chile, seitan, beans, and hominy and let it all cook for what seemed forever (about 2 hours) and it was the best thing ever.

I’ve been attempting to sort of make my own personal foccacia bread since I like certain aspects of different recipes. My first attempt wasn’t that great because the dough got really thin for some reason while I was laying it out to ‘relax’ so I had to end up rolling it up and sort of shape it on the stone. I added some cipollini (I think that is how it is spelled) onions which are so alien looking but in a good way. Sauteed them up in some olive oil but I had so much left over even though the dough really should have been bigger. So I ended up eating the onions but some of them weren’t very cooked so I woke up the next morning thinking my stomach was going to explode. Nathan even told me that he thought that eating too much onion could make me sick but they were so good! Ugh I’m so over onions right now…Anyway, I tried another way of making foccacia but this time it came out a little too bland. Totally tasty with olive oil but not as salty as I would have liked if I were to eat it plain.

So pretty mellow on the home front. Although I’m really ready to kill our upstairs neighbors because they make so much noise I want to strangle them. And I think I should start a Kitty Naming Board since our apt.s have so many cats with terrible names. Like this one cat which we took care of for awhile because his owner (or friend) abandoned him…anyway, we named him raccoony because he has a bushy tail that is ringed like a raccoon…I know not totally creative but his owner had named him felix…so I don’t want to offend anyone with a felix cat cuz it’s a cute name but felix the cat? That’s like naming my mouse Mickey…or my dinosaur Barney…just sort of not that original. Now one of our neighbors adopted him and they named him…Bubbles. How degrading! Bubbles for a boy? He can’t honestly walk up to a girl kitty and say, ‘hey babe, my name is Bubbles…wanna hang out sometime?’ Thankfully, it seems none of the other cats have been around when we’ve heard them calling for him so his secret is safe. Our next door neighbor has a really cute cat but I swear I want to steal it and give it a better name. They’re alright but kind of indie and annoying well at least the girl is…and I know I sound like a hater but I write people off when they aren’t neighborly so it’s all her fault. The guy is nice but I don’t see him too often and her friends are kind of annoying. Anyway, this all builds up to the cat’s name…Taylor…and it’s a girl. Seriously? Taylor…that is like me naming my cats Maria. Unless I’m living in the midwest or south I don’t think any cat should have the name taylor especially if it were a girl. If it had been ‘hello this is my cat President Taylor’ then I think it would be funny but whatever..I’m not the one who is gunna pay therapy fees for the poor cat.

But now I’m probably gunna be notified for cyber bullying which I really hope no one does. Although I do think it’s pretty sad that people are total nutters and do mean things to people like that. But I figure since I name no names and I don’t actually talk about really personal things that I am ok. But I also know that since I write about what I personally hate that I must be on many people’s other lists so it’s ok. I’m better than them.haha jk. I have way too many peeves at this point that I feel bad b/c I know some of my family members partake in them but I just think of it as hating the act rather than the person.

Like I went off to my mom about how I hate when people use debit/credit cards when they buy things because it takes way longer anyway which is one reason we love the mulah. But then I feel bad because I know most people (including my family) use cards all the time and I’m sitting here on the phone or online ranting. But I use them too but it’s just a thing I think about so it’s not personal and I won’t go stabbing everyone because they can’t figure out which button to push and want cash back and still haven’t bagged their stuff. I think I need to whip people into shape because I can bag, load and pay for my stuff in half the time because I’m just so cool like that. I even look up at the screen to figure out how much I think it will come out to and how much time I have until the cashier is done ringing it up so that I don’t make people wait. Then I hand over the cash and I’m out…Geez who needs bag persons when they got me?

04
Feb
09

Groundhogs are mystical

Well I haven’t posted since the server was going down for maintenance and then I had to recharge my camera battery.

Last week was focused a bit on Italian food which was a nice change. Made some lasagna and I used theppk.com recipe book for making tofu ricotta. It was pretty fun to make since I got to squeeze and crumble the tofu and then added the spices. Nathan ended up wanting twice as much nut. yeast so we added it and it came out lovely. Used some veggie Italian sausages and cooked up some onion and spinach for a pretty traditional lasagna.

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I also made kind of a funky pasta with broccoli, broccoli raab, and mushrooms in a garlic/olive oil/buttery sauce although I did add some broth to give it a little more flavor. I had bought some fresh pasta from the farmers market (garlic and rosemary) but I must say I liked the rosemary noodles more. Stronger taste I suppose. I also made some ciabatta bread this week but I think I should have mixed the water and yeast beforehand but the recipe wrote to just mix it all together. I noticed that parts of the bread weren’t as developed as I had hoped but it still came out wonderful and I used the bread for an appitizer last night.

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Nice little loaves. I cut down the recipe since we can’t consume that much bread in a few days since it goes stale quickly and freezing bread seems to weird to me. I made this really great recipe that is in vegetarian times this month and I can’t get over how complex and great it tastes. I can’t remember the name but I roasted bell peppers and a serrano and then peeled the skins…new experience for me. Sliced it up and tossed in toasted pine nuts, mint, Italian parsley, garlic, olive oil, and some spices. The recipe also had me simmer some balsamic vinegar with agave nectar which I’ve been wanting to try. That nectar is so weird! Totally doesn’t have a smell at least not that I could readily pick up. I should have sliced the ciabatta in thicker slices but I hadn’t really thought how limp and slick the peppers would be. Kind of a crappy picture cuz I was super hungry and didn’t want to make a nice picture with my almost dead battery.

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This is probably the best recipe I’ve tried from that magazine since it is vegetarian and not vegan so many of the recipes don’t cater to our habits. Plus, I’m always wary about trying out their recipes since they can be on the plain side since I think many people don’t like to experiment with spices and different types of foods. Yum, yum!

In other news I’ve finished one of my mittens which I got off of knitty.com (hopefully the link works). They are a bit big since I added about 15 more stitches than the swatch called for but I really didn’t want to have super snug mittens. I’ll post pictures when I finish the second one since I can’t remember where I put my tapestry needles to weave in the ends. Really cute and they have a version that is more ‘manly’ which I want to make for Nathan. It’s pretty exciting to have the finished item and I feel like M.J. with my one mitten which gives us a good laugh.

A bit tired to write much more…Hopefully I’ll get around to making tamales on thurs. since they seem pretty labor intensive. I already have my husks and I bought a bag of tomatillos to make more salsa verde which sounds really good with some seitan tamales. Ah, another thing I need to make…more seitan. So much planning which is horrible since I never like to plan.

I’ll try to update more but until then I hope everyone stays happy and eats good food.

29
Jan
09

Chonies

Blah, blah, blah.

There we go…fresh new blog for my many followers. I’ve been rather busy (well, aren’t we all?) but I’m a special case. I finally have gotten into my groove since the holidays totally messed me up. Of course some things were unavoidable but stuff like laundry? ‘oh I’ll do it later I have plenty of clothes’…then I realized I would wind up a week later in a ratty t-shirt and chonies that hadn’t been seen since my high school days. So yes, back to the rat race even though I’m kind of in my own little race. Oh how I love those spinning wheels.

So chonies…what a great word. Nathan goes off into gigglefest when I bring it up. I hope I get lots of Nebraska people coming up to my mom saying, ‘Hey Car, what are chonies?’ and then I’ll giggle about how embarrassing it will be for her to be explaining my silliness. hehehe

One of the reasons I haven’t been writing is because I end up writing a big post when I’m kind of tired and then read it the next day and realize that half of what I wrote was either misspelled or I merged two sentences b/c I ramble a lot. So much effort and I care enough about what people think about me to have to edit the stuff which is just a pain. Bah, I hate society…

Yes, the topic of many rants is society and the pressures it puts upon the individual. I mean this in the best way possible, but I really think my parents messed me up. Well, everyone says that but I actually do appreciate it. I like that I question everything and really think about what our lives mean in the macro/micro scale. But what I mean by my parents ‘messing me up’ is that I don’t strive for the big house, dog, cars, kids, the really well paying job, etc. Not that those things aren’t nice (minus the kids) but simply I strive for other things like being eco-friendly and trying to think about my personal state of elitism as a first world citizen in comparison to third world workers/citizens and even second world citizens.

I went off on a rant the other day to my mom about how women’s work is really complex and how my own personal experiences keeps me talking about it. Through my childhood to adulthood I’ve seen my female family members always take on many roles that are traditionally considered women’s work. Cooking, cleaning, sewing, wearing make up, taking care of children and that is not to say that men weren’t involved but in all fairness I think the women had a larger role. Perhaps some of the men wanted a bigger role in random areas of this work but it’s not really my  interest to discuss it right now…there is my little anthro apology for marginalizing the men and so forth.

Anyway, I never thought that women’s work was degrading because I figured certain people have to fill certain roles but that it was still honest work. What I find so frustrating is that now that I’m an adult it seems that domestic/private/home work is considered on par of menial work which may be true in certain senses. And even then I’m not saying that menial work is horrible because those jobs are needed but it is a social perspective that divides citizens in appreciating each other. So when I tell people that I don’t ‘work’ it’s very conflicting for me and the person on so many levels. Some consider me to be a lazy ass who is living off of my partner while others almost pity me. I suppose one part of my anger comes from the fact that I seemed to have missed the period in which staying at home was still respectable. Especially considering I never talk shit to peoples faces when they tell me their jobs…

When did it become ok to publicly degrade private work? Or any work in general? I blame society and the misinterpretation of second wave feminism to an extent for all this. It’s as though corporations and the government have harnessed feminism as its plow horse for advocating women to continue on in the work force as men have done so. Maybe that is a bad metaphor but I do really picture us as little pods that are bred and tended to as potential workers that will make elites and nation-states powerful and rich. When people degrade me for what I do it is as though they are either assuming that a. I refuse to come into the modern/post-modern era and b. that I haven’t reached my potential. And it ties into what we’re supposed to strive for…the cars, houses, money, great job, etc because that means success and any alternative means failure. Women (and men) aren’t supposed to want to stay at home and nurture because women’s rights to work apparently meant only in the context of men’s work. And to a degree I would even argue that women are pushed to work but what about more artistic fields or politics? I think both have many notable women but I think generally men dominate because they aren’t traditional ‘work’ fields. How does one go about becoming a politician? I certainly never had those goals and yet I remember some young men in high school telling me about wanting to become a mayor or a state level politician.

I could go on about that but it’s a blog so I won’t expand. So yes, I’m angry at people for not trying to understand my choices. There isn’t really a good word or discussion for me to even relate to my issue because I think private work isn’t allowed to be discussed in the public domain unless an academic writes about it because they have the resources and time to do so. But even if I did start some group I wonder what the goal would be and what purpose it would fill besides making me feel better. Domestic/private work is so much more complicated and situational to really  quantify and understand in comparison to public work so it seems hard to propose pay for such work or even governmental bonuses. If I keep my partner healthy with good, home cooked, organic food then I’m probably lowering obesity, depression, and potential health problems but it seems that as a society we can’t put a price on that. We pass it off as a quaint practice that immigrants do but even upper class women tend to hire help while they keep up appearances…although I can’t say that for sure since I’m not in their position.

Another random note is that I actually try to deny what I do depending on how I’m feeling or how I expect a person to react. I think it’s also because I’m still somewhat young so people just can’t understand why I’ve made this choice. People will ask and I’ll say, ‘oh I’m not working right now’ or ‘oh well I’m done studying so..you know…’ I leave it open ended. As though I think like them but I just am in a certain point in which I’m not ‘doing’ anything. When the truth is that I come home and make fantastic meals (if I do say so myself) and clean and knit and generally try live according to all the cool people like Jesus and other random people that I think were pretty cool in regards to their social and ecological perspectives.

So yes, there it is all on the table…what I’ve been thinking about for at least a year. And just because I like what I’m doing now doesn’t mean I’ll still be in this place in the future. We live in such an interesting time and I have so many options that if I decide I want to rebuild cars or take care of older people I still have those options regardless of my age. It’s funny because my name is supposed to mean ‘cheerful’ so maybe that I just really like making people happy and taking care of nathan and my pets. I personally think it’s great and fulfilling and I just wish I didn’t have to explain myself everytime I meet someone.

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Now for some cooking (and domestic) talk! Yay!!!

Been doing lots of cooking which really doesn’t need to be written but maybe some random person found my page and read through the 10pages of ranting and now is wondering what is next. I haven’t been taking as many photos because my battery is gunna die and I’ve been too lame to recharge it…it’s like I’m still set up for disposable batteries…what is this nonsense about ‘recharging’ a battery?

I’ve been making some Breakfast burritos which are just totally awesome. Home fries with the tofu scramble and I made Salsa Verde this week to put on the burrito. I’ll have to take pics next time I make the salsa because tomatillos are both sort of domestic and alien at the same time. They remind me of green tomatoes but they have a husk that you peel off which makes the fruit/veggie (omg I know I’m lame) so weird. I feel as though I’m becoming increasingly jalepenoist because reading them in a recipe just makes me mad. Ugh (I think to myself) stupid jalepenos! Give me those slender and spicy serranos!

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Kind of a crappy picture of the tofu scramble and it was the one from last week which wasn’t as good. I realized I didn’t like the tofu as chunky since when I bite into it the tofu tastes like tofu rather than the spices and veggies. I’m also trying to slowly switch out my old plastic cooking utensils now that I have metal pans because I never wanted to scratch the teflon and kill myself by eating the teflon…although I’m sure we’ve all had some. I really need to look into the different ones b/c I wouldn’t mind wooden or silicone since I have some of those which are nice.

Made some bagels again and I think I was hit with a small stupid stick that day because I pulled out my all-purp flour and started making the dough. Seriously, this dough was so gooey I didn’t know what to do. At first I thought maybe I hadn’t added enough flour but it just kept getting more and more gooey. The bagels couldn’t even hold their holes because they’d start running towards the middle and eventually settled into cow patties. I started going over the ingredients in my head and then back again when I stopped….the flour….shit shit shit…what flour did I use? All-purp…ugh so I totally used the wrong flour…I even have a nice shiny bag of bread flour which was probably really angry at me for ignoring it. They did come out tasty but they certainly didn’t look good and had a oily exterior.

ack the server is going down so i gotta post later but I got pics…ahhh

19
Jan
09

Pollo asado pt. 2

I need to get Rod Stewart’s “If you think I’m sexy” song out of my head because I’ve been singing it for at least a week.

Damn Youtube, it’s the source of so much entertainment like videos from older singers. Anyway, this week has been rather boring but I guess it is all relative. I mentioned to my grandfather that it’s hard to make lots of different food each week because I cook for two people and I tend to make extra just in case. All the extras end up as leftovers and I can’t really post about what great leftovers I made. I did get some knitting in but my new scarf isn’t going as smoothly as I’d hoped since cables are a bit more complex. It just seems that I’m figuering out how to do the tension between cable twists since I didn’t realize that some of the twists looked loose but it makes total sense looking back.

So let’s see. Made some tabbouleh this week and to be honest I have hated it forever. I think most of the types I ate had too much lemon for me which really turned me off. But I’ve been into Greek/Arab/Middle Eastern food lately so I figured I better get used to the dish. Turned out so lovely and I want to write a paper on how much I love fat in the form of oil. The bulgur had a mellow tangy flavor due to the lemon and parsley but the olive oil gave it a slick, glossy feel that just felt like it was going to melt in my mouth. I’m also really getting into sesame oil because it’s just so great. When I first started using Chinese recipes I would use regular sesame oil which is oh-so-great but I read that many of the recipes actually call for toasted sesame oil/dark sesame oil. It’s just so amazing to me how smell can really be a part of the eating experience.

Anyway, enough about fats. I also made the olive-caper-garlic spread again but this time I used the food processor instead of doing it by hand. It was rather interesting since it almost had the consistency of a pate. Super duper tasty and although the recipe is supposed to be French I thought it went nicely with the Greek/Arab food.

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That is lunch the day after I made ‘skank-o-pita’ which also features the olive/etc spread.

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This pic is of Mapo tofu which I made because  Xxxicana’s post made me want to make it again. Anyway, the side dish is braised bok choy and shiitake mushrooms in a Hoison sauce. I’m not sure if I read the recipe incorrectly for the tofu mango dish since that dish wasn’t braised at all but I thought that was the title. I’ll have to dig out the magazine but I just wanted to acknowledge my potential mistake in case people want to recreate it or generally wish to learn the correct cooking terms which I obviously am still learning haha. Anyway, the side dish was good but I really should have added less sauce or more bok choy. I have a tendency to remember to halve the veggies in a recipe but never the sauce since we generally like extra sauce. It’s really hard to see the mushrooms at that size but I thought I’d post it anyway.

Made some more seitan but I used another recipe that uses vital wheat gluten flour which basically cuts out the time in which I have to shift out the flour starches. It called for nutritional yeast which is such a new item for me that I was excited to try out the recipe.

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Between the sunlight in my kitchen and flash it is sometimes hard to get pictures of certain things. If you look on the board you can see that the yeast is a bit flaky unlike regular yeast which reminds me of tiny balls. Some people describe nutritional yeast as smelling cheesy and it’s used sometimes to mimic cheese sauces. I think for the most part that is true but I love that it still has that yeasty smell that I love from baking.  Maybe I’m weird though.

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It’s kind of gross because this picture makes them look like piles of poop but they really don’t look all that bad in real life. This recipe turned out very spongy but it turned out alright since it absorbed more flavor that way.  They totally puffed up in the broth and actually changed to a light color.

So for dinner I figured I’d make pollo asado again (well, with seitan) and used a stuffed pepper recipe to go along as a side. I ended up using lemon instead of lime for the asado marinade but it tasted fine. I was really nervous about over cooking it since I did that last time and the seitan was way too dry. I let it sit in marinade for about an hour and then placed it in a dish with aluminum foil over it. Cooked it at 350 for 30 minutes but I think I should have uncovered it to allow the seitan to develop a nice crispy exterior.

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They even look like sponges. So while the seitan was sitting I started on the stuffed peppers. It was supposed to have quinoa but I didn’t have any on hand so I used my fave…white rice. Cooked onion, garlic, mushrooms, rice and a few other things as the filling. Boiled the peppers which gave the kitchen a Southwest aroma…so beautiful. The peppers only had to bake for 15min at 350 so it was rather easy to make the two items and eat them around the same time.

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The stuffing was nice and spicy since I added a serrano. Still gotta perfect my asado recipe but the peppers came out just right. Too tired to post more so I hope this one was somewhat interesting.

15
Jan
09

Skank-o-pita

My buns hurt.

This typically happens on Wed. since I tend to ride all over the place getting food, doing laundry, and for some reason believe I’m super homemaker by attempting new and often complex dishes. I seriously think I put myself through some of this because I subconsciously believe that society is right in that I don’t work enough or hard enough. But I am working on this.

So let’s see. Did some laundry which was so exciting but I did work on Nathan’s project so it passed time. I saw a young woman there with her family (kid and partner/husband) and boy did she remind me of my Tia Marielos. The makeup, the sort of chubby-but-cute face, the bangs…it was weird. Except she looked nice. Not that my aunt isn’t nice but she’s pretty feisty, funny, and speaks her mind which doesn’t tend to lend itself to the ‘nice, sweet’ image. I could be wrong though. Anyway, I totally wanted to stare at her but I tried not to. It’s weird how genetics work like that…people look similar regardless of race, location, even gender which can sometimes be a little shocking. I only mean in the sense that our society tends to think in binary genders so seeing someone and not being sure of ‘what’ they are is sometimes shocking, uncomfortable, etc. But living in Santa Cruz we see it a lot so I’ve gotten used to seeing people as individuals rather than boy, girl, etc. And sure, I grew up with pretty smarty pant parents but we still didn’t live in places that saw these kinds of diversity. I’ll stop rambling now.

So anyway,  went down to the Farmer’s market and nothing new or interesting except….Celery Root!! I’ve been seeing some recipes with it and hadn’t seen it at the market so I’ve been keeping an eye out. It kind of reminds me of the Harry Potter movie when they’re planting these mandrakes that look like fat ugly babies that are all root colored and flabby. Not the sexiest of foods but still interesting. Now I gotta figure out where I saw those recipes since I spend have my free time looking up recipes and figuring out what I can change.

I kind of strolled down to Chefworks with the excuse that I really needed some stuff. I’ve been feeling kind of bad because I bought this cheap wooden pastry brush awhile back but I think it has animal hair. At the time I was thinking about cost since I didn’t think a brush would be all that useful. But alas, those brushes really are handy and I kept looking at the bristles and wondering if some poor horse or bunny or squirrel had been harmed. So I bought a cute little silicone one which I’m sure some third world citizen made and is living in horrible conditions by the factory. Well I doubt it but still I really do try. Bought a fancy little grater with two different gauges for baking and salad type stuff. I hate box graters because I find them sort of hard to clean. Just so you know. Lastly, I got a sort of needless item which is actually really handy, a oil/candy thermometer.

After the falafel day I decided it would be nice to know if my oil is too hot, especially since I’ve been kind of into frying stuff. Like today, I thawed some wontons I had made and didn’t realize I had let the oil get a little too hot. Mine turned out a bit too crunchy and although they tasted fine I felt like they absorbed way too much oil. So I gave Nathan the lightly fried ones since I’m giving like that. As a side I made a an imitation greek salad since I’ve been very greek lately. This one stand at the farmer’s market sells mixed bags of salad which I started getting because they look so festive. The only thing I don’t like about the stand is that it seems to always attract hipsters which is alright but they can be a bit pretentious. Well all groups can be but I like to shun all groups since most people annoy me…did I mention I’m becoming increasingly anti-social. Anyway, the salad mix even has flower petals which just so cheerful that it makes me actually want to eat salads more. Topped it off with some olives, artichoke hearts, red onion, and raspberry vinaigrette.

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I need to start making a list for Nathan’s pros…maybe I’ll pick random ones but my #29 reason to keep him around is because he loved this lunch. I must say it was uber and beautiful. The artichoke hearts are a bit bulbous looking which is kind of funny but boy do I love those hearts. We’re kind of weird in that we like certain things to look a certain way or are just plain nutters on why we pick certain things rather than similar ones. Like the artichoke hearts, I didn’t want to get canned ones because I, for some reason,  feel like I might die from eating them or they will just suck in general. Probably that whole early canning industry thing weirded me out since it doesn’t make sense for me to be freaked out in this era. So Nathan reached at the top of the rack to get me my special glass packaged hearts but he’s into weird stuff too so it works out.

I’ve been waiting all week to make spanakopita which I kept referring to as ‘Skank-o-pita’ because I forgot to take the time to read the name properly and it was jsut so fun to say. I bought a box of frozen phyllo dough and stocked up on some spinach last week but didn’t get around to making it until today. Really fun, tiring and annoying all at the same time. It started off fine and I even partially made Tabbouleh since everything was pretty mellow. I cooked down the green onions, garlic, and spinach and then mixed it in with the hand-crumbled firm tofu. Mixed in some spices and the filling was good to go. The problem started with the dough because I figured that I had achieved a certain rank in cooking and could underestimate the delicacy of the dough. Well to be honest it wasn’t totally my fault since it was wrapped in plastic and taped which ended up tearing some of the sheets since I didn’t think the tape would be so hard to break. The tear had a ripple effect and it was kind of hard to separate the sheets. Plus I didn’t anticipate how much room all this crap needs. I like to think I have decent kitchen space because of our island but I really should have cleared off the counter more for the sheets. Anyway, layered them and oiled them up, dropped some filling and made them into triangles. I also should have wrapped them better since some of the edges were just dough so the filling wasn’t as spread out. Started popping them in the oven and I think the timing or the oven temp. was off because they really didn’t turn a dark golden color but I was too tired and hungry to care since they were cooked and toasty.

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The spanakopita came out so tasty and Nathan thought the tofu mix actually reminded him of ricotta cheese. I didn’t tell him until after we ate but the recipe called for nutritional yeast which he has claimed for eons ‘tastes like ass’. But I keep seeing recipes that use it and I bought some and it smelled pretty good. So my theory is that maybe he ate some bad yeast or something since it obviously tasted good in the phyllo pockets. The only thing that I’m not totally sold on is the dough. It seems a bit weird in texture and flakiness. Maybe once I start working with it more it might change but tonight was not as impressive as I had hoped.

So that was an exciting cook day. I actually am tempted to buy an olive pitter since it seems that none of the olives at my market care to take the time to pit them for me. I looked for one at Chefworks and that thing was like 25US which isn’t that much money but I kind of think it’s pricey for pitting olives. The nice thing about Chefworks is that their stuff is usually pretty nice stuff so I know I’m getting quality items but still, a pricey olive pitter? I feel like putting up an ad, “Will pit for money”. Maybe next week I’ll work up some logic to make myself feel better for buying it but I just can’t rationalize buying the thing when that money could feed a family or pay for medicine instead of me making fancy cocktails with olives. I actually am kind of annoyed with one of the programs on the radio (marketplace money I think) because they interviewed different people on how they are saving money or random crap like that. They aired some woman saying that she’s employing an ‘old’ technique called ‘acting poor’. The connotations were horrible because she was saying that she walks into a place and thinks whether she ‘really’ needs the item which for her is acting poor. I felt she was assuming that poor people only negotiate what they ‘really’ need and that is the only means of survival. Well I think in this day and age this doesn’t hold true because many people are in debt through credit cards  and therefore can buy things they don’t need even though they are considered poor. Then it implies that poor people should only buy what they need rather than considering they might have to buy what they can afford which doesn’t equal out. Poor people need good: health insurance, food, education, etc but do they have those things? Not usually. And it further upset me because it almost implies that poor people shouldn’t partake in leisure activities because they can’t afford it. I think the statement would have been better said as ‘acting frugal’ since I think that is a good thing to strive for. But an upper class family also probably has the mindset of attaining items that seem needed when in actuality are really just consumer items.

Anyway, that is my mini rant that has been bothering me. I try not to be hypocritical but at one point I think most of us are. Do I really need an oil thermometer? No but it’s nice to have since I do so much cooking. But at the same time I hope that I also counter these contradictions by riding my bike, reusing, recycling, trying to keep posted with news, and generally trying to be a good person. I actually came back from Southern Cali. feeling a bit depressed because I looked at my few clothing items, lack of makeup and hair styling, and general consumption patterns and I felt like I needed more. I really did feel like I had buy stuff sometimes because it was simply there, shiny and new, and everyone was buying things. But thankfully my little angel popped up on my shoulder and reminded me that I made those choices. It wasn’t that I couldn’t buy these items it’s just that I really don’t feel the need to buy a new wardrobe for every season because many people are in the world don’t even have shoes, food, medicine, etc. And those who do have a nice life might not be happy despite all the things they can buy and I feel that I’m in a good place with Nathan and my pets (oh and I guess my family :oP ).

So I suppose I’ll end since I keep thinking of sappy sentences. Kitty in a box #2, kind of an old pic since I kept forgetting I had it.

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12
Jan
09

Happy Birthday to my Papi

So where to begin.

I’ve been sort of depressed this week because I had a horrible cooking day during the week. I’ve been really into making greek food since I got the food processor and especially since I haven’t made any in at least a year. So I decided to make falafel this week and was so pumped about mixing it all together and learning exactly what goes into a falafel ball. I whipped up a Tahini dressing to go on top and it was good enough to eat off the spoon (which I did).

So I had to let the falafel mix sit in the fridge for at least 30min so I come back and start heating up the oil to fry it in. Started shaping the patties and they weren’t holding together at all. I figured they’d harden up in the oil but they didn’t even really fry. So I thought maybe my oil wasn’t hot enough so I dumped the goop onto the plate and started over. The second batch held together alright but only because I was super careful when flipping them. They ended up breaking apart once I put them on the plate so that was lame. The third set of patties really got the brunt of my anger because I decided I was gunna let those babies fry until they decided to hold together. They didn’t….instead it turned into black charred goop. I don’t get it.

I ended up shoving the batter into the pita bread and then pouring Tahini sauce for dinner because I wasn’t going to make a second dinner and I was too mad to even think of getting take out. So I think the recipe is majorly wrong which seems weird since I know they test these recipes. Maybe they use crazy beans or something but I think the recipe needed more flour. To make matters worse I went to the market the next day and the stupid deli had cute, perfect falafel balls waiting to be bought. Arg, stupid recipe.

I’ll have to try it again since it actually is a pretty simple recipe but as for now I can’t deal. The rest of the week was somewhat uninspiring and we even ate out once because I was so over cooking after the falafel recipe. But it gave me an excuse to catch up on my knitting which I really needed to do.

Seriously, I tell Nathan he needs to lose some height because his scarf is taking so long. I keep knitting more stripes and then I’ll have him test the length and it’s still too short. So I’ve put his project to the side for a few days since there is only so much 1×1 ribbing that I can do without going crazy. I decided I’d buckle down and actually try double pointed knitting since it’s kind of essential to know for socks, mittens, small items, etc. It was really scary at first since the needles were flying all over the place and poking my hands in different areas, but once I got a few rounds knitted the needles became less mobile and the work is starting to show.

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Kind of hard to see the detail since I’ve only done about 9 rounds but it should come together nicely. I didn’t really do a gauge test which is kind of important since knitters want the items to come out in a certain size. So I’m thinking that the mitten might be a bit big so I’m not sure if  I’ll try doing some decreases to make the wrist smaller or if I’ll just finish the one mitten for the learning experience and then do a gauge and start again.

I’ve been watching a lot of movies since I’ve been knitting and some of them weren’t all that great. Good movies but not was great as I had hoped. But I’m really weird and I thank my parents for giving me odd taste in things. I’ll let everyone know a secret…my dad actually secretly likes watching those blockbuster comedies that are really pretty bad and cheezeball. Think of Be Cool, Analyze That, etc. But of course my dad never would want to go see them with a friend or probably admit that he wanted to see it so I was his partner in crime. For a long time I felt totally embarrassed that I actually knew these movies rather than some cool indie movie since students (and professors too) tend to think that smart people should act smart which really translates to boring. Sure my dad is super smart and can do the intellectual talk but I still have that little reminder that he likes some cheezy movies.

But my mom doesn’t get off the hook either in giving me really weird taste because it’s totally her fault that I love those period movies. I’ve pretty much maxed out netflix’s period pieces and I’ve seen some of the worst BBC movies. Nathan totally brings up Eddie Izzard in Dress to Kill in which he makes fun of older British film genres in being subtle to the point of extreme boredom. But I must say I wouldn’t have gotten my Trivia Pursuit question right if it hadn’t been for the super boring Mansfield Park by the BBC. But now that I think about it my family really is to blame for pretty much all my movie interests. Like my grandpa totally got me into watching older movies (and oldie music) and my grandma got me hooked on those T.V. documentaries and educational programs. My cousins in El Sal. forced me to watch Sailor Moon and Thundercat which is probably why I’m into anime now and my abuelita and tias are to blame for those telenovellas and scandalous movies in which are so obviously over done but oh-so-great.

So I kind of went off track, but my point is that I’m really picky about movies and Nathan doesn’t think I have a consistent pattern. Let’s see…I watched Roxanne mainly because I have to build up all those movies that everyone has seen except for me. Wasn’t all that great and it seemed kind of lame that Daryl Hannah would fall for some guy she’s never talked to since she’s supposed to be some super smart astronomer. But I do love Shelley Duvall so that was fun. We watched the Dewy Cox movie and I was kind of disappointed in the actual movie which is strange since I usually like movies he’s been in but this one wasn’t as great as I had hoped. I’d probably think it was really great if I had been plowed but I suppose sometimes movies don’t live up to our expectations. I did enjoy the fact that it seemed like half the cast of 30 rock and the office were in that movie though…well I’m exaggerating but it was still cool.

Started to watch Dan in Real Life and I couldn’t take it and turned it off. I get that most movies are about upper class characters that  seem poorer than the are because they are down to earth and have issues like everyone else. But seeing those scenes with everyone hanging out and playing games and generally acting like they had been on way too many happy pills. “oh wow she’s great! She’s lived in Thailand, Germany, saved baby whales! ::lots of bouncing:: Wow she’s just so great!” Who seriously acts like that when the meet someone. Build a church after her then you bouncing blondie. So yes, couldn’t take that.

Anyway, I’ve been watching too many movies especially since it seems that cable shows are starting up. I really love watching some of these movies though and remembering how hot these actors were. Like James Spader was totally hot until I saw Stargate when I was younger and it ruined it for me. Or Alec Baldwin…I watched Married to the Mob awhile back and I seriously didn’t know he was ever that skinny or good looking. I think he’s still pretty nice to look at but 20 years really does change a person.

I don’t know why I’m even writing about all these movies but I suppose it’s easier to talk about that rather than the details of knitting or online gaming or something. I gotta be accessible to the masses.

Well the only other slightly interesting thing was that I made braised tofu over broccoli raab with a sweet veggie sauce. The recipe came from Vegetarian Times but I think I’m going to modify it a bunch but I’ll start off talking about the basics. So I made mango chutney which was pretty easy and probably not really an authentic version. Mango, garlic, apple cider vinegar, ginger, sugar, etc (I didn’t have any fresh peppers so I added two dried ones and some Cayenne pepper). Nothing to fancy and then I cooked it up. In a separate pot I heated oil and added onion and a bell pepper and let them soften up. Mixed in a tomato and the mango chutney. Cut up the tofu and brushed the sauce on top to give it a bit of flavor in the oven.

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I had an issue with the flash so hopefully the two plate pics give a bit of variety. I tossed some coarse sea salt in with the greens to give them a bit of flavor and I thought it would stand nicely against the sweet and spicy sauce. Turned out really tasty but the tofu was a bit on the bland side. Not in a horrible way since the sauce and greens were mixed in and the tofu had a nice, barely crispy texture which was great. I just think it would have been better to make extra chutney and marinade the tofu before hand to let it absorb the flavors. It also seemed to be missing something which I will have to work on.

What a long post and all I did was talk about movies…and I’m probably going to watch some more now and work on my knitting.

08
Jan
09

Purple Cauliflower and Purple Potato soup

Well today was another Farmer’s market day.

Yippy I was so excited since I hadn’t been in two weeks. I noticed some of the stands weren’t there and it seems that there isn’t much selection. A lot of dark, leafy greens, squash, and regular produce like onions, garlic etc. I picked up some broccoli raab (or rabe) which was nice since I haven’t seen it before and I’ve been wanting to try it out. I got this recipe in a mag I picked up a few weeks ago that has a broiled tofu with mango sauce that is set on top of broccoli raab so I thought I might as well try it.

I picked up some really pretty flowers: pink tulips and some other flowers that are a mix of yellow and orange which are just so festive. I’ve never cared for tulips mainly because everyone else seemed to like them which bothered me since there are so many great flowers out there. But they are kind of cute so I gave in a bought a bunch.

 So I posted last time that I had made some homemade seitan and had left it overnight to sit. I think I may have misunderstood the recipe directions because I was squeezing the seitan in the water which seemed to make the seitan come apart which ended up washing a larger portion of the ball than I would have liked. Eventually, I started dunking the ball in fresh cold water and then squeeze the water out over the bowl which really sped up the process. I was really amazed how the dough became harder and chewy in texture the more I squeezed out the starches. I then boiled the seitan in broth which was no-chicken bouillon with about .5cup soy sauce for an hour. Stuck in the fridge and waited for a recipe to come along.

I figured I’d make cauliflower soup today because the recipe sounded tasty since it was supposed to be curried. I don’t know if Nathan and I are flavor freaks but I put in 1Tbs. of curry and didn’t really taste it in the soup. Next time I’ll have to add more. Pretty basic recipe: cauliflower, onion, garlic, curry, and broth. I recently picked up some purple potatoes and thought I’d add them in and since they were purple I figured I’d also buy purple cauliflower at the market since it would look kind of interesting.  I boiled the potatoes separately which was loads of fun because it turned the water blue. Then I stacked the taters on top of each other so that I could take a nice pick. I seriously need to buy new bowls that are shallow just for pictures. The soup ended up being a dull purple and when I added the rice wine vinegar it gave it a redish hue and became more of a mauve. Interesting to me at least. So it didn’t come out super purple but it was still fun. Oh and I blended the soup so that it was smooth.

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I started freaking out towards the end of the soup process that I was going to be hungry later on which is always an issue since I don’t really keep snacks around the house except for nuts and occasionally some blue corn chips. So I busted out my homemade seitan and Nathan looked a bit worried about my enthusiasm to use it. He later told me that he really wasn’t sure if the seitan would be any good since most people don’t make their own proteins. At the time I didn’t realize his hesitance since I was getting hungry. I minced some fresh rosemary and whisked it with about 3Tbs. of flour and some course sea salt. I dunked the seitan in the batter and fried them up in some olive oil. The last chunk got the crappy end of the dusting since i hadn’t anticipated that those suckers would be so flour friendly.

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I know, I went a little photo happy with this post but it was such a weird and exciting dinner that I had to take pics. The seitan came out really tasty and tender and Nathan gave it two thumbs up. I noticed that my homemade seitan came out juicier and tender than the store bought stuff which wasn’t bad but different. I’ll have to make some more within the next day since it seems that homemade stuff is just as good and way cheaper than buying it. The soup was great (even though Nathan still thinks the taters were kind of creepy looking) and had a very strong cauliflower taste which seems obvious but I expected it to be milder but I suppose cooking it really released its flavor.  All in all, a great meal.

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04
Jan
09

kitty in a box

So today was sort of boring.

I didn’t really do anything exciting but I suppose we all have those days. I went over to the the other market which is on the west side of santa cruz but still the same chain because our local one hasn’t been carrying our favorite pizza sauce. It’s this really great stuff that is called Gia Russa, I think, and it’s imported and way pricey but damn it’s good sauce. I ended up buying 3 jars of it since I haven’t been on that side of SC for at least a year.

I think we’re becoming progressively spoiled when it comes to food because I must say Nathan and I were a bit disappointed with my pizza that I made in Bakersfield. And seriously, I gotta thank my mom for that pizza stone because i can really taste the difference in the crust. See, I’m spoiled. Anyway, I used a different sauce that turned out sweet which we didn’t like and then our dough rose for too long and I think it affected the taste, and then the mozzarella we used seemed to be like vegan cheese in that it didn’t melt…plus it tasted like crap.

I know I say I’m vegan but we still love eating cheese on our pizza and we’re not perfect so everyone can eat me. Considering all the food I make and the quality of the food I think that one little sin each week is pretty minor in comparison to other things. Plus the cheese we get is fresh, organic, and local so I feel that at least I’m making an effort. Anyway, now that I’m back home I was itching for Sat. for our pizza and boy did that pizza live up to our expectations. Although our market didn’t have basil this week it still was super yummy and fresh and goddamn was that sauce good. I don’t know how to describe it. I’ve used other sauces but they just don’t compliment the pizza as well.

Once I was finished with the dough I began my first attempt at making homemade Seitan. It’s actually pretty simple and I’ve been using it quite a bit and it’s rather pricey for only an 8oz. box. Especially considering the longest recipes take about a day and a half to make. I started with about 3.5 cups of whole wheat flour and then mixed in olive oil, soy sauce, pressed garlic, water, and some chili powder. I let it sit for an hour and then filled the bowl with cold water. I can’t wait until tomorrow to start the process of getting the starches out of the dough. There are faster ways of doing it but I didn’t have much time so it seemed easier to just let it sit. I’m already thinking of all these different types of seitan to make like a citrus-herb seitan that might mimic those lovely fish dishes that I used to love.

Did some laundry…pretty boring but I got a compliment from some guy about how it looked nice. Ended up cleaning the place up a bit and unpacked. The cats seemed to think that cleaning time was actually ‘act like crazies and knock crap over’ time. It was pretty funny at first but then they kept knocking over their litter box cover and peeling it out of the kitchen. I took out the recycling and replaced our paper bag with a modelo box which fe claimed right away.

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So that is news from SC.

03
Jan
09

Garlic is sexy

Whew, I can’t say I’m not happy to see December pass by.

Double negatives, I know but you all have to deal with it. That month is just too crazy and stressful and I like to keep myself relatively mellow these days. I did visit the southern regions of the state to visit my mother since I hadn’t seen her in so long. I remember the days when I actually called that place home and would drive down on the weekend and it wouldn’t even tire me. Fast foreword a few years and I feel like I spent a day traveling across the entire country.

Got some good loot and Nathan even got some cool slippers that he likes to joke reminds him of Mr. Rogers. But keep in mind that anything comfortable is labeled under ‘grampy wear’ to him. I roam the apt all the time in p.j.s and slippers and he thinks I’m crazy because apparently once I’m not stinky anymore I should be in public clothing. But I can’t understand why anyone would want to wear jeans and non-comfy shoes when at home. I tell him that if I ever start wearing muumuus that he can either leave me or give me a wake up call.

Anyway, I can really tell that I haven’t posted for a long time because I’m talking about a bunch of random crap that probably is only interesting to me and my cats. Nathan actually had fun with the cats on the way back to santa cruz b/c one of them ended up peeing in the car (at least it was a rental) and by the time he got home she was so pathetic that she actually just laid in his arms like a wet noodle as he washed her off in the shower.

Seriously, he spoils re way too much. But I did get fe addicted to belly rubs so I suppose I don’t have much room to talk. I don’t know if I can ever have kids though, I actually think about it since half of my family on both sides had kids early while the other half had them when they were a bit older. Anyway, I was on the plane back to SC and I got to experience for the first time the crying babies on the plane who happened to be right next to me and behind me. I generally don’t care how people raise their kids as long as it doesn’t bother me personally, but I do contemplate how these parents could get their kids to calm down. The younger one I understood would be hopeless because toddlers don’t care either way and they seem to calm down when they feel like it and that is how the one baby acted and it was fine for most of the ride. But the other one was a bit older and I wanted to smack the dad for playing into the baby games. This kid would want the light off then scream that he wanted it on….back and forth, back and forth…I would have ignored the kid or told him I was gunna throw him out the window if he didn’t behave. But those kind of things now leads to thousands of dollars worth of therapy.

Or when I’m shopping and these parents are asking their toddlers to come back and they stand there waiting for them…sure it might work on a dog but I think it would be easier to just death grip the kid’s hand while they wait in line. But we live in SC where people are weird and I’m sure if I ever have kids, well I count my cats as my babies, that I’ll make all those annoying parental practices too. People might think I’m mental, but I seriously consider my cats to be mini humans who will never go through their toddler, preteen, teen, and adult issues of hating me and thinking I’m dorky and lame. We love spooning our cats and holding them, making baby voices to them, and doing kissy faces with them. I remember growing up and hearing from various people that cats are loners, that they don’t like to be with humans, and that they just weren’t as friendly as dogs. I wonder if these assumptions actually manifest these cat attitudes because our cats, and Nathan’s prior cats,  seem to be very involved in our lives. Our cats love to sit on the fridge and look down while I cook and sit in the bathroom while we shower, maybe we got reincarnated cats that just want to be with us. But I really do wonder if cats just get a bad rep. from our prior assumptions of how they should behave. I’m sure people have written books on it…

Well I suppose the new year is something new. The only thing I don’t like about new years is having to remember the new year…I’ll be writing 08 for at least another 3 mo. I suppose most of us are making resolutions which I never keep but I do hope that I become more active since I’ve generally been a pretty active person in my life. We actually went on a 1.5mile walk on New Year’s Day which wasn’t as inspirational as it might sound. First of all I couldn’t find my favorite shorts which are bigger since I have gained weight and they fit really great. So I was forced to wear my smaller ones that are purple and the only comfy, crappy shirt I had that was clean was my purple Lakers shirt that is starting to fall apart so I don’t wear it because I want to cherish it. But I didn’t have anything decent to wear so I ended up looking like a big, plump purple grape…I ended up finding an old sweatshirt to wear over because I knew I was going to look like a grape lady.

So we walked and another fun fact was that I couldn’t find my razor blade since it somehow fell off the hook while I was gone so I had to walk the streets really hairy. Now, I confess that Nathan and my mom know that I don’t hardly ever  shave my legs anymore since I generally only have to shave the lower parts of my calves and being that I wear pants and live in SC it’s not all that weird. I’m sure all the guys reading this, and maybe women, are thinking ‘ew gross’ but I certainly do feel that it’s a bit unfair that women have to do so much grooming while men remain hairy, unmoisturized, make-up free, etc. But that’s an old argument and even though I say these things I still wear makeup, shave, pluck, find cute undergarments and I would never wear a skirt with hairy legs. I should have just written that I’m too lazy to shave all that frequently. But if we keep up the walking I’m going to shave because I’m still a big goob and that’s ok because I do like some fem things that society pushes on us. 

So we walked, and now I’m sore from walking and I’ve been been cooking all day. I really should have put all our stuff away and cleaned the apt since it’s horribly gross but cooking is way more fun than cleaning so I opted for cooking. Plus it really bothers me when Nathan doesn’t eat breakfast so I whipped up some blueberry scones and used my new vegan cookbook. Turned out faster and tastier than Martha’s and I must say that I love some of her recipes but her scones are way too laborious and the dough didn’t turn out well even though both recipes were done by hand. I felt like kicking myself though because I should have added some pecans to the scones and maybe in the future I’ll add lemon zest or something. Pecans and Brazilian nuts are my new faves especially since I toasted pecans awhile back. I’m posting pics because these were the first scones that weren’t shaped like triangles which bothers me since I don’t really consider these scones ‘true scones’. She calls them a type of biscuit which I don’t think is accurate but I also haven’t studied the fine art of scone making but one day maybe.

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Super fast and easy which seems to make me think that they’re not ‘true scones’ but once again I’m learning and from my experiences food items that sound fancy usually take a long time to make.

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Obviously this isn’t a food pic but I haven’t taken any pics of our new shelves which I hand painted in Fuchsia Berry. We’re supposed to have three of them but only two are up at this point. I know the pic is fuzzy and off because I’m short and trying to take a picture on my tippy-toes is really hard and this is the least fuzzy out of the millions I attempted. And yes the wood isn’t even on the wall brackets but we have a weird wooden border by the bathroom that we didn’t want to mess up so we just made it a bit off center. Pooh bear is so huge and I’m so grateful that he and my piggy bank aren’t on my dresser anymore because they take up way too much room. I’ve always had piggy banks but as I grew I didn’t really use them. Then my dad bought me the one in the pic that actually looks like a piggy and the best part is that I never have to break it because it has a little hole in the bottom. I had this snoopy one forever and boy did I love him. I thought he was so funny sleeping on his dog house.

I also think it’s weird that I haven’t grown out of the stuffed animal faze. Anything cute and fluffy ends up being squeezed to death. So anyway, I also attempted a Pumpkin pie today because I must say I was rather miffed that my mother called my first one ‘interesting’. Geez, I’d like her to try to puree those tofu chunks with a little pestle and mortar! I was so proud of my little pie and that one little comment just deflated my ego…hehe well don’t worry mom I’m not serious and I”m sure anyone else who saw that pic was thinking it looked like weird poop in a pie. But I was upset because it did look a bit…unusual but it did taste really good. So I whipped out my new food processor and boy did the dough really come together quickly without any effort…I almost feel like I’m cheating now.

I made the dough and set it chill and baked the pumpkin. I read on some weird website that I could make my own condensed milk by simmering it because they said that condensed milk just has about 40% less water content. It seemed to work a bit but I think I should have let it boil down more. Boiling that milk totally took me back to El Sal. when my abuelita would get fresh milk from the cow next door. She would boil the milk and my cousins would eat their warm milk in cereal! eww I still can’t imagine eating cereal with warm milk but I never really ate malt-o-meal (or whatever that brown stuff my mom would give me) or oatmeal or whatever other warm breakfasty food people eat. So I would wait for what seemed like forever for the milk to cool and then…then I had to carefully attempt to avoid letting the skin of the milk from entering my bowl. Unfortunately that stupid skin would slip in and I would attempt to eat around it. So back to my baking, I was boiling the soy milk down and the milk started getting a skin which was just soo soo gross, it reminds me of that stuff that baby cattle have to emerge from when their mother pushes them out.

So let’s see, I pureed the pumpkin and the silken tofu and they came out so creamy. Added the soy milk, pumpkin spice, and brown sugar. I ended up adding about a 3/4-1 cup more pumpkin than the recipe called for because the milk wasn’t as dense as it should have been. I didn’t bother making a fancy crust but instead used a cookie cutter to decorate the pie with dough shapes. I’ll take a picture of baked pie later.

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Aww how cute. Nathan laughed at my pie (in a nice way) and told me it looked pretty spiffy. My grandma asked me today what kind of dough I use for the pie and it’s a pretty basic one from Martha… I think it has a french name but it has all-purp flour, butter, and some cold water I think. I just mixed it up and then divided it in half and wrapped it up and set it to chill in the freezer for an hour. Then I rolled out the dough and placed it in the pie dish and the other half I rolled out and made stars. I was kind of bothered that the pie filling was more pumpkin looking than all these other pies that I’ve seen and I think it’s because I used light brown sugar rather than dark brown. I think it has about 3% less molasses than dark brown sugar. So I baked the pie and I think that the tofu really worked as a leavening agent because that baby was almost as jiggly as a meringue. Well at least I remember those pies as jiggly and totally gross. But I just looked at my pie and it seems to have solidified a bit and not really jiggly which is kind of a bummer because it was pretty cool to look at when I moved it.

I made some fun stuff in the last two days that I didn’t take pictures of. Today I made my wonderful hummus which is hands down the best around. I like my hummus to be obnoxiously garlicky and rather thick which is why I burned out the motor on my first food processor. I did use lemon juice today instead of water because I had half a lemon which would have gone bad so I figured it wouldn’t hurt. Probably the only reason why I’m still with Nathan to this day is the fact that he loves that I over do the garlic. I keep him around just for that lovely garlic breath and great ego boost. Well, he is a great person and super awesome and sweet but really…garlic love!  So I made him a little hummus sandie for tomorrow and we had it for dinner since I was pretty pooped from cooking.

I also made wonton soup for lunch today which is relatively easy since we bought 6 packages of eggless wonton wrappers while we were down south since I have yet to buy a pasta machine. It’s kind of crazy because these wrappers are probably made by humans since they weren’t uniformally circular which was interesting to think about. So I made a bunch of wontons and froze about 25 for future soups and frying and boiled about 15 for lunch. The soup itself is rather easy…boil the wontons and add bok choy which bothers me since I love my soups full of veggies and tvp and rice. But the wontons are pretty filling and they totally are the reason why I ended up taking a nap afterwards.

Yesterday I tried out tofu scramble for the first time which had mixed results because of my own major mistake. I chopped up some onion, bell pepper and garlic and started cooking them up. Added the tofu and spices and totally forgot that I had taken the cap off my turmeric bottle that resulted in 1/8 of a cup in the pan…at the very least. So I tried to scoop it out but those spices stick like ticks and weren’t letting go of my lovely veggies and tofu. I made them ranchero style which is weird because growing up I never liked ranchero style eggs. But they sounded tasty….gods I really am growing up. So it ended up too turmeric but we ate it and I think the salsa helped but I’ll have to remember to dig out the cap for that spice bottle. I also made home fries which are just the best things and I didn’t really eat them until I went to denny’s. I remember my grandma and great-grandma making fried taters but I don’t remember them having other veggies and so therefore I don’t really consider them ‘home fries’ but instead super tasty taters. So I chopped half an onion, half of a bell, and only one tater which in retrospect was a mistake since the other veggies kind of overwhelmed the taters and I just wanted loads of fried taters. The home fries came out way better than the tofu scramble but I should have added at least another tater (or less veggies) but now I know. Ah how I love to learn.

So it seems that I’ve written way too much but I do love writing, I know…everyone can eye roll at that, but I should probably end this so I can do something else. One last comment, I’m so annoyed that vegan cookbooks don’t ever use TVP anymore which is just so handy in soups or grain/burrito/etc dishes. When I first started eating TVP I didn’t like it because I could taste it because it had no flavor. Then I realized that rehydrating it in a bouillon gave it so much flavor and actually made a soup or dish really tasty without making the protein stick out. Personally, I think that tofu and seitan stick out in dishes which is fine but sometimes I crave certain recipes that are more about flavor and aroma rather than the protein texture which is why I love TVP. So yes, I’m starting to actually keep a mental notebook on all the things that vegan cookbooks seem to lack. I need to buy a new notebook since my birds shredded my other one..don’t invest in a shredder! I’ll give you our birds. I still have to find that sopapilla recipe for my aunt (and for myself) since the birds munched my book.

Hopefully this doesn’t have too many typos and weird sentences since I’m so not going through this whole thing again. Take care and happy new year and eat good food.