Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Delicious Dishes

Miso Udon Stir-fry from Appetite for Reduction. Let me yet again proclaim my love for this cookbook. It gave us a bowl full of yumminess: udon noodles, broccoli, azuki beans, swiss chard, green onion, miso, and assorted spices. It also taught me a new method for cooking broccoli, which I know I'll use all the time.
White bean and artichoke salad from Color Me Vegan. This one will be making many a repeat appearance in our kitchen. It was perfection.
Jesse made a southwestern shepherd's pie from Vegan on the Cheap. Another book full of winners. This was hearty, spicy, comfort food at its best.
A vegan peach galette, courtesy of Chloe Coscarelli's website. Very easy and very tasty.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Delicious Dishes: Papa Pea's Jambalaya

Earlier this week I told you about my discovery of the Peas and Thank You blog and how Mama Pea's new cookbook arrived at my door recently. My first foray into cooking from it happened to be in the form of Papa Pea's Jambalaya.

I try to make recipes close together that have similar ingredients so that nothing goes to waste (i.e. two things with cilantro so I don't buy a bunch and only use a tablespoon). This week I used celery in my very favorite lentil soup recipe, so I searched for some other way to use the remaining stalks. Enter Jambalaya! I was leaving for a work retreat for a few days, so this was the perfect way to help stock the fridge for Jesse before heading out of town. It includes meatless sausage (in the form of Field Roast chipotle sausages) and since I hate meat substitutes (an entire post in and of itself for another day), this was a perfect time to try this one. I love that it only needs one pan too, if you used pre-cooked rice.

The final dish:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Revelry Review: Vegan For Life

Vegan? Thinking of going vegan? Love/like/know a vegan? Want to eat less meat or dairy but not sure how to do it in a healthy way? If so, then you need this book. Vegan for Life by Jack Norris and Virginia Messina is a must-read. It's essentially an encyclopedia for all things nutrition-related as they pertain to veganism.

There are entire chapters dedicated to certain vitamins and nutrients. I thought I knew all there was to know about b-12, but I was wrong. They also discuss raising vegan children and being vegan during pregnancy, veganism for the over-50 crowd, transitioning to a vegan diet, managing your weight, heart disease or diabetes, sports nutrition and whether or not soy is safe, plus much more. This is a terrific resource to have on hand in case you need an answer to a question that you or someone else has.

The only thing I didn't like was that the "Why Vegan?" chapter was left for the very end. It seemed out of order! Overall though, this is an information and fact-packed book that provides all you need to know to be a healthy plant-eater. I never once felt like I was reading something too scientific or boring, which books of this type can sometimes be. Jack and Virginia have inspired me to clean up my diet (which was about 90% vegan anyway), given me a new knowledge base, and have given me responses for the many, many questions and concerns that others have about veganism.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

On the Concept of Home.

"I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself."~Maya Angelou

I left my childhood home when I was 18. I moved to Washington, DC to attend George Washington University. Since then, I've called the DC metro area home. Or at least I've thought of it as my home base. In recent years, I've tried very hard to think of home as anywhere I and my loved ones are rather than a single physical place.

However, the other day I heard Miranda Lambert's song "The House That Built Me". "If I could just come in, I swear I'll leave/ won't take nothing but a memory/ from the house that built me." My eyes filled with tears and I was desperately wishing to go back to the house where I grew up in New Jersey. Maybe it's the nostalgia that comes with being so close to 30 years old. Maybe it comes with growing up in general. Maybe it's something else.

You see, a few years ago, we had a house fire. The entire inside had to be gutted. Our dog and our cat died in the fire. Clothes, pictures, furniture and knick knacks were destroyed. I know that they are just things, and I didn't even live there at the time, but our entire lives were turned upside down for quite some time. My Mom, divorced with two kids living away from home, decided to move into a condo on the water that had much less maintenance rather than spend time fixing up a far too big house for one person. When I say I'm "going home for the weekend", what I mean is that I am going to spend the weekend at my Mom's condo in the town next to where I grew up.

Someone I went to high school with bought our old house and will presumably make a life there for his family. Now the inside looks nothing like it used to. New kids will grow up there, celebrate holidays there and make memories there. The house that contained all of my good childhood memories will serve that same purpose for an entire new family. There's a sort of palpable and painful beauty in that fact. I look forward to one day giving my children the same sort of home that I once had.

What do you think of as home? Has that concept changed for you over the years?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Delicious Dishes: Summer Succotash Quesadillas

Last week I was scouring the interwebs looking for some dinner inspiration when I came across the Peas and Thank You blog. Mama Pea's writing style is hysterical and full of delicious-sounding things to cook. Her girls are absolutely adorable and I aspire to one day have a family like hers that likes to eat healthy, veggie food. I recommend checking out her blog if you like any of the following: veggies, little kids or laughing.

I immediately pre-ordered her new cookbook (and it arrived late last week--more on this later!), and in the meantime, we tried this recipe from her blog: Summer Succotash Quesadillas with Mmm Sauce. First, you cook up zucchini, red pepper, onions, corn and lots of yummy spices.

You also blend up the Mmm sauce. I wasn't crazy about it on its own (I don't love the taste of nutritional yeast), but it was delicious on the quesadillas.

You heat up a pan with some cooking spray and lay down one whole wheat tortilla. Put on some Daiya, some of the mix and cook away. It was my first experience with pepperjack Daiya. It's melty and yummy.
Cut it up and then you're all set! It's a quick and easy weeknight meal. Here's Jesse's dinner: the quesadilla plus a big salad of baby spinach, edamame, cucumbers and carrots.

Monday, August 1, 2011

August Intentions

1. Spend time perusing South Africa travel guides and make a list of must-see and would-like-to-see places. We also need to decide which of the optional activities we want to add to our tour.

2. Enjoy a few bliss-filled days in Maine mid-month with Jesse and his family.

3. Get into some sort of physical activity routine. In these terribly hot DC summer days, late night walking speaks to me. I also want to get back into going to yoga more regularly. I like the idea of having times for exercise to write into my planner.

4. Write in my paper journal or art journal at least three times a week.

5. Save money towards our trip!

"In August and everything after, I'm after everything..."~Adam Duritz

Delicious Dishes: Jesse edition

Jesse cooked last week and it was so delicious! He made the Chimichurri tofu from Appetite for Reduction, which I think is my new most favorite tofu recipe. If you like cilantro, you will love it. That cookbook is simply full of winners. If you want to eat healthier but still have things that are extremely tasty, definitely purchase it ASAP. We've tried a lot of the recipes and not a single one was anything less than stellar.

As sides Jesse prepared mashed sweet potatoes and a salad. It was so nice to come home and have dinner nearly finished. He also did the dishes! What a man!