Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fruits & Vegetables

I may have gone a little overboard this weekend.  This is the supplement to my CSA.  I probably should have read what I was getting before I went through the rest of the market picking things up.  Things I got in duplicate: Cucumbers, cherries, carrots and green beans.  In addition I got: Avocados, a red pepper, peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, broccoli and chard.

And in my CSA I got: Blood oranges, squash, strawberries, beets, lettuce, grapefruits and basil in addition to the aforementioned: Cucumbers, green beans, carrots and cherries.

Good thing this gives me the opportunity to have meals like this:

Sushi with brown rice, cucumber, chard, and teryaki marinated yellow squash topped with avocado and teryaki sauce.  Nomnomnom.

And this one that I just enjoyed:

Proof that a girl can live on fruit alone....

Well, fruit and water.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Being a Creative Vegan

People seem to always think that eating vegan must be difficult.  My number one answer to the question "isn't being vegan hard?" is that it is super easy for me since I mostly make my own food.  However, when it comes to eating out it is never all that difficult.  If I am going to someones house I try to verify that there will be a salad or some roasted veggies and then offer to bring or ask if they'll have some hummus and pita bread or veggies.  Going to my boyfriend's family's house this is almost never a problem.  They usually have a salad and are pretty good at providing some hummus.  I can make quite a dinner of veggies (raw or roasted) with hummus and some bread.  If you add an avocado in there somewhere I might feel like I am eating better than everyone else is.

When it comes to restaurants it gets a little more complicated.  I do frequent a few vegetarian restaurants with many vegan options but that is usually just my boyfriend and I.  If we are joining family members for a meal of their choosing it is time for me to get creative.

Today was my boyfriend's sisters birthday and her breakfast choice was Ihop.  My first reaction was "What the heck am I going to be able to eat there?". Then I checked out their menu and continued along that line of thinking.  Pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, omelets....oh dear.  Then I saw that they had a fruit bowl.  And hash browns.  And toast.  And I knew I was set.  I ended up getting all three and adding omelet toppings to my hash browns.  They had spinach, tomatoes, onions and green peppers.  I also got coffee and orange juice.

I kid you not when I say that this was the best breakfast at the table and I was so excited to get to eat such a yummy, creative breakfast.  Proof that, being creative, a vegan can eat just about anywhere in this meat and potatoes world we live in.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Cats! (For Reals This Time)

I have three cats.  This may or may not qualify me as a crazy cat lady.  As much as I adore my three cats, I will never have three at one time ever again.  Regardless, they do make for some interesting photo ops.

This is Fluffy.

This is Jinx (he and Fluffy are brother and sister)

And this is Precious.  She is ironically named as she seemed Precious when I first got her and then she later turned out to be quite a handful.  She has a number of "quirks" that only a mother could love annoy the hell out of me.  She's darn lucky that I love her regardless.  As I have mentioned before,  Precious has a love of greenery.  This is her nibbling on the top of a carrot I pulled from my garden. 

Wait, you mean I didn't tell you I harvested a carrot?  Here, let me show you!

You know, maybe I have a better picture.  Maybe one without a blurry cat tail in it?

 There, that's bett....oh wait...Jinx!  He is going after the plastic bag filled with vital wheat gluten.  He loves plastic.  I have heard it is like kitty crack (more so than catnip).  Precious and Fluffy may go crazy for my home grown catnip but Jinx is happier with a plastic bag to lick.

Ok, so enough cats and let me tell you about a new discovery.  Gena at Choosing Raw had a guest poster about a week ago from Oh She Glows.  I had yet to come across this blog and was blown away with it.  Angela could not have come up with a better name for her site.  She has such amazing energy and every post seems to glow.  I have been inspired a lot by a number of her posts (not to mention that I want to order some of her Glo Bars) but the one that kept popping out at me as I read further and further into her archives was Vegan Overnight Oats (VOO).  I decided to try it this weekend.  I am happy to report that it turned out fabulous.  I layered the cold oats with some peanut butter mixed with maple syrup for a delicious breakfast.

Gosh darn cats.  Can't escape them. 

I also topped the oats with this chocolate/sunflower seed/peanut concoction I made the night before.

Can't I get one picture without a cat in it?  No Jinx, you can't have my oats.

Finally, a catless picture.  Hope I didn't scare anyone off with my silly cat centric comments.

Be back tomorrow with proof that a creative vegan can eat anywhere.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

CSA Farm Tour

I get my CSA at the Hillcrest Farmer's Market every other Sunday from JR Organics.  Every week on Monday or Tuesday I get an email telling me the contents of this weeks box.  A few weeks ago a second email was also sent telling us about a chance to visit the farm.  I jumped at the opportunity, and on June 12th I visited JR Organics.  It was a wonderful experience!  We got to see how the seeds are started &  transplanted, how they rotate crops, keep pests at bay, compost, harvest and package the vegetables and fruits I simply pick up from them.  They also provided us with a delicious lunch!  There were many offerings for everyone including vegans!  It is so rare to get to eat food that I don't have to prepare or ask a million questions about that this was such an added treat.  And as an added bonus, we got to eat strawberries that we picked ourselves.

Rice & veggies, roasted veggies, pico de gallo, guacamole, cucumber salad, tortilla chips and a salad with nopales.  Everything except the chips was made that morning by the women who work/live on the farm.

Pinto Beans.

Lentil Soup.  Yum!

And I think I will throw in some lingering random CSA pictures.

And finally, proof that my cats like CSAs too!

Precious (the black one) loves greens.

I hope I haven't spoiled you with three postings in a row.  That was most all of the pictures I had to share and since the cinnamon rolls I made this weekend failed, I am afraid I might not be back for a bit....we'll see.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Foods! Omnomnomnom

I'm going to give this to you with relatively little commentary.

Lunch at People's Co-op.  Kale salad, tofu and the best "tuna" salad ever.

Banana Hammock in honor of Chocolate Covered Katie.

Really yummy bean dip I made for my mom for Mother's Day to go along with this:

Carrot Cake.  How cute is that carrot!

One day I was feeling a little like I was getting sick so I used the oranges from my CSA and made blood orange juice.

I had a couple of weeks where I didn't get to eat the apples fast enough and so they got a little soft.  I used them to make muffins.  These turned out remarkably well considering I misread apple cider for apple cider vinegar.  They were a little tart but delicious regardless.

Taco salad.  This is from a while ago but along the lines of what I ate all week.  This one had steamed broccoli, frozen peas and corn, salsa, black beans, lettuce and tortilla chips.  My salads of late have added avocado.

Waffle with strawberries and some maple syrup with a little cocoa powder mixed in.

This was sad face was actually a delicious dinner.  I had some everything bagels in my freezer.  I toasted and then topped with spaghetti sauce and some meatless balls.  Most of the time my boyfriend does not care for my dinners.  This one he was envious of.  Not the toast with lentils though.  That was another great combo.  Toast with earth balance topped with cold lentils that had been cooked with garlic and onions.

Speaking of lentils.  Familiar meal.

And to round off this yumminess, Sipz Vegan Caterpillar Roll.  Teriyaki mushrooms, sweet potato and I think cucumber.

And some imitations.

Mine has meatless balls and bbq sauce in it.

As does my boyfriend's.

Thinking: but that's not sushi...

How about this one??

That's vegan pepperoni.  I say, if it has rice and is wrapped in nori, then it's sushi.

And finally, I leave you with a message presented to me upon entering the farmer's market one weekend.

Thanks for listening.

Friday, June 18, 2010


Just kidding!  They may come later but for now, I can't wait to show you my garden.

I started out with this beautiful space and absolutely no experience.

I can claim none of the skill that it takes to build the retaining walls as that was entirely my neighbor.  He did a fantastic job.  My contribution was digging up all the dirt and sifting out the rocks.  They ranged from the size of a tiny birds egg to the size of a large grapefruit.  I had almost forgotten how much work that was.

I did a really poor job of planting back in April and thus didn't know where anything was planted.  I just watered everywhere and hoped for the best.  Not too long afterward I started getting some sprouts.

Unfortunately, most of them failed.  The whole left section did not take off.   I suspected the sprouts were being eaten.  Around this time my neighbors transplanted one of their plants (we think a squash) to my middle section.  It was planted along side the most prominent thing in my garden: a sunflower that I didn't even plant.

Said squash and sunflower chugged along but seemed to have been eaten over night.  It was at this time that I was trying to figure out what was eating everything.  I read to switch from watering at night to the morning to deter pests from eating my plants at night.  One of my first mornings watering, this is what I found.

I kindly asked them to get off my plant and relocated them across the yard (they took an entire leaf with them as payment for having to evacuate).  At this point I knew I had to do something.  I scoured the internet for ways to keep them off my veggies but without much luck.  It was either keep them off using chemicals or kill them using natural solutions (beer).  I ended up going to an organic gardening store and they sold me some organic slug repellent along with some fertilizer.  The fertilizer is not vegan and that is something I am going to have to come up with a more friendly way eventually.  For now, I was overwhelmed and I caved.  Sue me.

The plants that did survive are mostly all tomatoes.  These are two heirloom tomato plants.  I have about 10 cherry tomato plants as well.  This is getting into May when things started doing fairly well.

Other survivors:  4ish carrots, one head lettuce, one snap pea plant, a couple of peppers I started in pots, an onion or two.

For a few weeks this lettuce was the only thing doing great.  I even harvested it!

The other success story of my garden was one of my pots which contained catnip!  I always knew cats liked to chew on grass and I didn't doubt my cats would feel any differently.  Precious (the black one) loves to chew on corn husks and many of the greens I bring into the house.

Sometimes they got so rough with the grass that they knocked the pot over.  They loved it!

The only other thing I have been able to harvest is some cilantro and a little bit of parsley.

Cilantro grown from seed!

But back to that measly little sunflower that was the highlight of my May garden.

In June, it has not only grown up nice and strong (and continues to amaze me every day with how it chases the sun) but it has some large companions.  The stunted squash that refused to grow after the snails feasted on it finally took off.  It is spreading itself out and has grown two flowers.

This section has been moved around a lot but there are some carrots, lettuce, peppers, onions and lots of tomatoes.

The cherry tomato plants have blossoms all over them and I now have a few mini tomatoes coming in, including this:

My very first cherry tomato ever!  Even with no experience and a number of failures, that is success!  If I get nothing but tomatoes I would be happy.

In the back there you can see my heirloom tomato plants coming along.  They are not as strong as I would like, but they have flowers as well.

As for the plot to the left of the sunflower, it failed a number of times.  I am currently on my third complete redo of the area.  I got really excited when I dug and found worms but the ground just wouldn't stay wet and not even weeds were growing there.  This time I moved 2 of my tomato plants over there along with what I think is broccoli that was the sole survivor of the last attempt.  I also bought 2 plants to try out since it didn't seem seeds liked coming up there.  I got a bell pepper plant as well as a green bean plant.

The first time I attempted to transplant tomatoes over to this section I uber failed.  They died instantly.  I transplanted them around 6 at night and by 6 the next morning they were looking pitiful and by 6 the next evening, they were goners.  Live and learn.

So that, my friends, is my garden.  Hopefully the next time I talk about my garden it is to show you my bountiful harvests!  I will be back tomorrow with pictures of all the yummy foods I have eaten since I've been gone along with adventures at the farm where my CSA comes from.

And look, only one cat pictures.  :-)