Sunday, December 27, 2009

It's been a while...

Well, I haven't posted in eons... I've shoveled so much snow in the last few weeks that I can't believe it. I wish I knew exactly how many times my weight I've moved - I feel like an ant. It's amazing how much I can accomplish (225 - 250 feet of sidewalk, a large driveway, three thresholds to the street and the sidewalk to our porch) without needing a break. I have definitely outdone my past self - but I already know what diet can do.

Speaking of which, it's been a crazy few days of cooking for the family. I've made numerous healthier veganized versions of holiday food. Mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, green bean casserole, wild & germinated brown rice pilaf. Rich food none the less compared to what I'm used to - will be nice to go back to a lighter diet again, but very enjoyable to share.

I haven't posted in so long due to work being crazy, and then the business taking up the majority of my remaining time, with a little breathing room. Nothing has been done and I'm going nuts because of it. We have a (small) New Year's Eve party this year in the new house, and its a huge mess with only a few days to go. I hope spring comes soon - the lack of sunlight is awful, yet then there will be more yard work to contend with. An exciting year to come for the business - I think that will be this year's "wild card".

And with that, I think I've covered a decent amount of what's been happening lately.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Long December

I feel like this work week was spent just surviving. We got our first snow Sunday night, so I spent a half hour shoveling the driveway before leaving for the commuter bus at 7:15. It's nice not to have to drive 45 minutes each way, but I'm away from home for 12 hours for a 8 hour work day (with 30 minutes for lunch).

Thankfully I was able to schedule 2 hours of PTO on Wednesday to come in late because I knew we were getting a huge storm Tuesday night. We had about 10-12 inches of heavy packing snow that would have been great for playing in if I didn't have to shovel and go to work. That day it was about 1 1/2 hours of shoveling before I could get out of the driveway. The commuter bus cancelled service because of the weather. Thankfully Milwaukee hardly got anything, and since I didn't have to leave until about 9:30 the roads were very nicely cleared and I made it in under an hour. Chris was able to work from home, and he spent about 3 hours shoveling our never-ending sidewalk. And I spent another half hour or 45 minutes clearing the areas of the driveway that were covered again from the drifts so I could get the car off the road. Clearing away the 4 feet of icey crap the snow plows into the driveway seems never ending. The entrance to the driveway is still just wide enough to get a car through and with 5 foot walls on either side. Like a parting of the White Sea.

We were so thankful to make it to Friday night, that we just sat around and didn't do much. Yesterday was productive though. We finished making and finally took mulling spices and holiday wassail to Nature's Garden to sell. Customers have been asking for them since our herbal tea class last week. From Allenton, we drove to Madison to Discount Tire to have the winter tires Chris had reserved put on his car. They make a world of difference. And not just in snow, winter tires work better below 45 degrees than all seasons. Unfortunately we have 3 sets of rims for 2 cars, so when I get mine, I'll either have to pay to unmount and mount summer tires on the same rims, or get another set of rims before Spring. We're getting new tires on my car in the next week. Yay.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Raw Food Rocks

I have the most energy when I get a decent amount of sleep (almost 7 hours last night!) and eat mostly raw foods. I just feel a difference. Today I had my typical weekday morning green smoothie- with unpasteurized orange juice this time, which is a treat I pick up at the store downtown on occasion. Of course added to that was our superfood greens, a banana, and for the frozen fruit today I had black raspberries. Was yummy and a pretty deep purple.

I didn't really pack a lunch, but I had a couple cups of grapes, a raw bar (I forget the brand), and a banana throughout the day at work. And distilled water and white tea. I was still pumped when I got home, so I took out the trash, unloaded the dishwasher, hand washed a ton of dishes, cleaned out a few cupboards in the kitchen, made stir fry, and finally made the grawnola I had soaked seeds and nuts for. It's in the dehydrator now. It might be ready before I go to work, but if not, I have the timer on the dehydrator set so it won't be overdone. We got the dehydrator a few months ago, and I used it every once in a while at first, but was many weeks since I'd used it til tonight. I also soaked an extra cup of raw almonds and am dehydrating those, too, since I have the thing going. Those will make a great snack too, or the basis for almond milk when I get inspired to make some. Hoping this turns out since it's my first raw granola. The raw fiesta lime bread I made a long time ago was soo good.

The moral of the story is, raw food is energizing, woo hoo! The garlic broccoli stir fry turned out really well, too, even if it's obviously all cooked. And the sprouted rice we use doesn't sit so heavy and compliments the light dish nicely.

The rest of the topsoil and our grass seed is FINALLY being put in the next couple of days after way too much rain and other delays.

The business gets busier all the time. Crap, I was supposed to order some things tonight. Bah. It's bedtime.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The post searching for a title

Oh yeah, the blog, forgot about you.

We've been ridiculously busy trying to install our patio, working full time (driving 45+ minutes each way sucks), and setting up the new business (

The patio is the latest time thief. Our landscaper installed the crushed rock, sand, and leveled the patio area so it was nicely prepared for us to lay the pavers ourselves. Much of labor day weekend was spent doing just that, with the help of our friend Tim who came for a visit from Cleveland, and Chris's brother Mark. We got close to halfway done and Tim and I were very sunburned. Last weekend the two of us got a bit farther, but we still have quite a ways to go. With all of our design changes, we ended up with 800 square feet for the patio! It's looking great and will be a wonderful retreat when the rest of our vision comes to fruition. More to come.

For some reason I'm most inspired to blog after I pick up our garden share (even if it's been 2 months since I've posted). Today we got lots of heirloom tomatoes, "gigante" kohlrabi, which, even though I picked out the smallest one, is the size of cantelope, beets (again), leeks, squash, collard greens, eggplant... Also carrots for about the 5th or 6th week in a row. I was so excited that first week for the carrots, but now they're piling up in the fridge even though I try to use some just about every day now. Going to try carrot halwa tonight, which I've always loved indian restaurants but have never made myself. Yum.

If you look at that link, it's for Manjula's Kitchen. We're totally loving her recipes lately. They're simple, delicious, and I love learning through observation. She's the Indian grandmother I never had, haha.

I've made black eyed pea salad just about every week for us to take for lunch since sometime in August. It's very bright and fresh. Delicious. I think it started when we had mint from the farm and didn't know what to do with it. I've since bought a mint plant specifically for this recipe, and despite how fast mint grows, it can't really keep up.

We went to Chris's grandparents (aka "the lake") last Sunday to celebrate his grandpa's birthday. Was great weather for chatting on the deck. Chris's uncle and brothers put the boat away for the season, so I guess there will be no more rides on the lake til next year. :( His grandma was given a whole bunch of garlic from their neighbor's garden, and we cleaned the equivalent of probably 10 or 12 heads of garlic (most of the cloves are really small- Chris said they look like pine nuts). I put a whole bunch in a container of olive oil in the fridge. And I've used probably a bulb or two worth in cooking this week. Good stuff.

Out of curiousity, does anyone other than Phil read this? I love that you do Phil, just wondering if I have a one person audience. I guess only those who have RSS or some sort of notification set up would know when I post since it's so infrequent.

The nights are getting noticeably shorter but the weather has been absolutely beautiful lately. Hoping it stays cool so we can get a lot done on the patio Saturday.

Anyway, to the halwa and the roasting squash I have in the oven. Til next time.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Turnips and cars

This is the third week we've gotten turnips in the CSA share. Not something I would pick up at the grocery store. So I'm trying a recipe that was in this week's letter when we picked up the share... turnips in red wine with honey and butter (I used olive oil and coconut oil). Should be interesting.

It's been a crazy week. Chris spent all day Sunday replacing the rotors and pads on his car to find Monday morning that the fronts are bad. And my car had a brake hose bust over the weekend, so he's been limping his gimpy car all week and taking me to the commuter bus stop. Thankful it's finally the weekend, but he has a lot of car work again this weekend. Ugh.

Wondering when my brother's baby is coming.... Two days overdue. My parents are going to stop over on their way to visit the baby if it's here before Sunday. We shall see.

Oh yeah, I interviewed last Friday for a new position and was offered it and accepted yesterday! It's a lateral move, so no pay increase, but I'll have full-time first shift Mon-Fri hours and be learning something new. Woot! Training starts the 20th.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Too Much

I was in the kitchen almost all day today.  Cleaning and prepping the crazy amount of greens from last week's garden subscription, I made the rhubarb applesauce again, and tried roasted fennel - with turnip, onion, brussel sprouts - for the first time (yum!).  Then made broccoli mac and cheeze, asparagus, and mashed potatoes and gravy (chris seasoned the potatoes) for dinner.  We ate way too much, it was all so good.  In a food coma now.  Chris is half asleep and I'm having some chai green tea to hopefully wake me up enough to clean the kitchen before bed.

I also made myself a more complex green smoothie this morning, as opposed to the all-fruit smoothie with  spoonful of Jurassic Green I normally have.  I used 2 bananas, a little pine-orange banana juice, blackberries (all of which I normally have), plus a big leaf of kale and swiss chard, some chinese cabbage, and a little spearmint.  It was delicious!  And helped me get more raw greens, yay.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Rest in peace Michael Jackson

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Weekend Cooking Inspiration

We made several new dishes Sunday. Chris had been wanting to try the vegan corned beef recipe he found a long time ago, so it finally happened. It turned out decently, although I think we're used to heavier spicing, so probably would double or use 1.5 times if we make it again. Not bad for a first attempt at "fake meat". We also hadn't had indian in many weeks, so I was thrilled that Chris was inspired to make Seitan Vindaloo. We used very little seitan (the vegan corned beef worked well) and lots of potato, and tweaked the amount of sugar and replaced the white wine vinegar with apple cider vinegar. Serendipitously, the sauce was really reminiscent of the vindaloo from our favorite indian restaurant in college. It never ceases to amaze me how often the use of animal products is often not the determining factor in recreating (or creating!) a dish. Needless to say, we had no leftovers.

He also made cajun chickpea cakes and I made asparagus sauteed in olive oil with sliced red onion and borsari seasoned salt for dinner. Delicious. Speaking of asparagus, we got our measly 'tasting' of 5 spears in our garden share this week. I was really excited to have asparagus, but incredibly disappointed with the amount. And that's all we'll get in the CSA this year. So I bought some at the store, too and cooked it all together. I do think the few pieces from the farm were the bites that stood out and tasted amazing though. We've always wanted to grow asparagus but it doesn't bear until the 2nd year. Hopefully next year we'll plant some.

We also had rhubarb from the farm for the 2nd week in a row so I decided I needed to find a recipe to try it out. The only thing I'd ever heard of making with rhubarb is strawberry rhubarb pie. I didn't have strawberries, nor was I interested in a pie or anything else with cups of sugar. Thank you internet for recipe ideas. So I made an apple rhubarb compote which had some sugar, but seemed better than a lot of what I found. I pureed it and it reminded me of a strawberry applesauce. Again, no leftovers, ha. So I'll either make that again with the 2nd bundle of rhubarb- or I also found recipes for muffins, a lentil-rhubarb soup, and rhubarb salsa.

Next I need to use the bunches of bok choy we've gotten two weeks in a row. The radishes, baby beet greens, chives, and lettuce have been nice for salads. Finally had a baked potato with the fresh chives last week, too. What will this week bring?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Home grown

I'm eating turnip greens I sauteed in olive oil with a garlic and lemon pepper seasoning and crushed red pepper. Pretty good. Topped with chives from the garden share, too. We also got red romaine, spinach, dandelion greens, mizuna (which I'd never heard of but now love), mint, and dill. I'll probably be eating more of these greens than Chris, but hopefully asparagus and some other things he loves will be in soon.

Chris has been making an amazing tomatillo salsa recipe from Rick Bayless. It's nice and spicy with arbol chilies and garlic. I think he made the 5th batch today since he first tried it 2 weeks ago.

I'm taking a break from painting the half bath downstairs. It's a deep purple-pink. Looks nicer than it sounds, haha.

Going to plant the few vegetable plants I got this week in containers since we weren't able to prepare a garden this year. But we have a huge patio tomato plant, an heirloom beaver dam pepper, cherry pepper, tabasco pepper, and italian cubanelle peppers. Can you tell we like peppers? These are all varieties that are hard to find in the store so it'll be nice to have them home grown.

I'm also soaking raw cashews and flax seeds I'll be using in my first attempt at raw bread made in my food dehydrator. Phew, busy day.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Good Intentions

I had wanted to create a food blog or blog for so long but didn't know what exactly to do. Like many things in my life, my lack of direction and specific goals led to inaction. I decided right now, as I'm trying to do in many areas of my life slowly but surely, that it would be better to do something, no matter how little, than nothing. So, I'm blogging again. Will I keep it up? We shall see.

We started this with a food angle, so I felt I could only post when I had pictures and stories about new and exciting things we had made in the kitchen. But I'm going to post more now. Often about food, since it's something I have passion for. Woah, I have passion? It's the thing I admire most about other people, because I often feel so boring, so unadventerous, blase, dull. But yes, I would say food is a passion of mine. How cool.

Anyway, my point is I often intend to post here and have perfectly edited pictures in a perfectly phrased post. But blogs are supposed to be off-the-cuff and whatever comes to mind, right? So, dear readers (all 2 or 3 of you?), you'll hear more of my thoughts- often about food- and far fewer pretty pictures. Maybe the more often I write the more I'll be inspired.

I'm very excited that tomorrow is the first pickup for our CSA garden subscription! Should be lots of green leafy things which will be great to add to my nearly empty refrigerator.

Thinking about it now, I have lots of food related ramblings I could go on about, but I'll save the material for another day.