Friday, May 22, 2015

Food For a Memorial Day Feast!

As always, I'm shocked by the quick passage of time. It feels like just a day or so ago I was talking about the beginning of the new school term, and now it's already time to start talking about Memorial Day weekend! Of course, that means I'm over halfway done with this quarter and to say I'm happy would be a gross understatement. I cannot wait for this term to be over, for a few reasons: I'm tired of organic chemistry, I need a break from school, and I can't wait to begin taking classes at my new school. Until the end of the term, however, at least I can look forward to some breaks, such as Memorial Day weekend! D, D's brother, and I are all going for a quick overnight sailing trip in Puget Sound, then D's aunt and cousin are visiting from San Diego. It'll be a fun, jam-packed weekend.

Even though we won't be in town to enjoy a barbecue, I came up with some great 3-day-weekend meal ideas for you!

Snacks and Entrees

Oven-Baked Onion Rings: When you want onion rings, but you don't want quite as much fat as fried onion rings, this is the recipe for you!

Spicy Tempeh Reuben: These are great for a picnic lunch or, better yet, you could set up a make-your-own tempeh reuben line at your next BBQ!

Beer-battered Oven-Baked Fries: Another reduced-fat entree, these are perfect as a side to a BBQ meal, or just to munch on throughout the day.

Macaroni Salad: This is the perfect dish to take to a Memorial Day potluck or just to enjoy for yourself.

Pesto Potatoes: I see a general potato theme here! Of course, you could substitute sweet potatoes for this recipe, and it would be just as delicious.


Strawberry Rhubarb "Raw" Crisp: Strawberries and rhubarb are now in season, so this is the perfect seasonal treat!

Ice Cream Sandwiches: These are ALWAYS a welcome treat, especially at any outdoor gathering. Watch them disappear before your eyes!

Blueberry Pie: Blueberries are almost in season, plus: what says "America" better than a classic blueberry pie?

What are your plans for Memorial Day?

Monday, May 11, 2015

NaBloPoMo Days 6-10

For the month of May, I've decided to participate in BlogHer's National Photography Month and NaBloPoMo mashup. It's a slightly easier way to blog every day, as I can upload pictures that go along with the daily themes far faster than I can think up daily recipes or food-related posts. Some of the themes are a bit abstract (e.g., "your feelings", "your energy", "drama", and "vintage", just to name a few), which makes capturing them a bit more challenging, but so far I've been having fun and it's been fueling my creativity in a way that I haven't felt in a while.

I'm posting my pictures first on Instagram, then uploading them here. Enjoy!

Here are days 6-10:

Day 6: Your Love.

This guy has my heart. Forever. This photo was taken almost four years ago - we look so young! We have been through SO MUCH together in the last 4.5 years (job changes, career changes, moving, buying a house, going to school) and we've stuck it out. I can't believe my luck at having him in my life. He means so much to me and makes me so happy and strong and confidant. I am a better person for knowing him and having him as a partner.

Day 7: Your Time.

This is the subject on which I spend most of my time these days. In all my other gen(eral) chemistry classes, I could always find something that sparked my interest, but so far, I haven't found anything that interests me in O. Chem. It's all about electrons (who cares about them? seriously?) and reactions (again: don't care!) and naming molecules (ok, I do find that interesting). But I'm already halfway through the term, and because of my stellar grades thus far and the fact that I already got accepted into my program, I only have to get a B- (or a 3.0) in the class. That takes some of the pressure off and makes it a little less stressful.

Day 8: Focus.

We went to Las Cruces, NM over the weekend for a VERY quick trip to celebrate D's sister's graduate school graduation, and I decided to take a picture of this cool carpet at the Phoenix airport. It kind of looks like a hidden picture collage. (See the airplanes?!)

We *almost* spent more time at the Phoenix airport than we did in Las Cruces, but sometimes that has to happen to reach slightly out-of-the-way destinations. This was my first time in Arizona, so I guess we had to make it count.

Day 9: Light.

Wow, the light in New Mexico is amazing. It's bright and warm and refreshing. It was a bit of a bummer to come back to Seattle on Sunday night because we were "welcomed" with clouds and cooler weather. Of course, the state of NM is almost out of water, and it's pretty hard to find decently-priced, healthy food there, but sometimes, it's just nice to have pure, raw sunshine coming at you from above.

Day 10: Three.

Regrettably, May 10th was Mother's Day, D and I were traveling back to Seattle, and I was extremely tired from not having slept much all weekend, so I didn't take a picture for this prompt. What would you have taken a picture of?

Thursday, May 7, 2015

NaBloPoMo Days 1-5

For the month of May, I've decided to participate in BlogHer's National Photography Month and NaBloPoMo mashup. It's a slightly easier way to blog regularly, as I can upload pictures that go along with the daily themes far faster than I can think up daily recipes or food-related posts. Some of the themes are a bit abstract (e.g., "your feelings", "your energy", "drama", and "vintage", just to name a few), which makes capturing them a bit more challenging, but so far I've been having fun and it's been fueling my creativity in a way that I haven't felt in a while.

I'm posting my pictures first on Instagram, then uploading them here. Enjoy!

Here are days 1-5:

Day 1: You.

I just wrote an entire paragraph about self-image, but then decided that perhaps this post is not the time or place to go into that. So instead, here I am.

Day 2: Your Passion.

My passion is, without a doubt, food. I love to make it, talk about it, look at it, buy it, taste it, and...well, whatever else you can do with food, I like to do it (take your mind out of the gutter for that last statement, please!). For the past ~8 years of my life, I've done all I can to make a career out of food, from writing about it (not only here but on other websites as well), to baking it (remember that bakery I used to own?), to teaching it (I volunteered with a Portland non-profit to create vegan recipes from ingredients obtained at a food bank and then taught kids how to cook them), and now -- I'm going to school to become an expert in it.

By the way, I think this is an appropriate time to tell you all that I've been accepted at my school of choice into the Masters of Science in Nutrition/Didactic Program of Dietetics program at Bastyr University! I am beyond excited; I really feel like I've accomplished something by getting into this school and this program, and I can't wait to begin classes this fall. I guess all my hard work and perseverance for the past two years has really paid off.

Seen above is my version of Joy the Baker's Rhubarb Crumb Pie (I used a store-bought vegan and gluten-free crust from Olivia Superfree, and substituted coconut sugar for the brown (and white) sugars, tapioca starch for the cornstarch, sorghum flour for AP, and Earth Balance soy-free butter for the regular butter in the recipe).

Day 3: Your Feelings.

D loves to sail. He began taking lessons last summer, when we still lived in Portland, but since moving to the Seattle area, he's really found joy in this hobby. The sailing up here is a bit different than in Portland; there's more water, less of a current, and you can really explore quite a few places only by boat. I've now been sailing a total of 5 times, and I'm just starting to enjoy it.

This picture encompasses my feelings when I go sailing because they (my feelings) are very complicated. I'm always happy to spend time with D, but there are aspects to sailing (namely, heeling: the tipping that occurs as a result of having the sails up and being about 45 degrees to the wind) that terrify me. However, on our most recent sailing adventure last Sunday, I finally felt comfortable while we heeled and I even enjoyed my time out on the water. As a result, my feelings went from being centered around fear to being centered around contentment and accomplishment at possibly overcoming a fear.

Day 4: Your Energy.

I'll just copy exactly what I wrote on my Instagram post when I added this picture:

"I get my energy from so many things: D, colorful flowers, daily exercise, but this picture sums up some major sources of energy for me: living and being near water, sunshine, and big cities. Having all three where I live now has made me content in a way I didn't even know I could be."

Day 5: Your Style.

I think it's safe to say I won't be winning any style contests anytime soon. I pride myself on wearing comfortable and affordable clothing, and I'm always concerned with being warm, so jeans and pants trump skirts or dresses a lot of the time due to the weather outside or the temperature inside the house.

These are less-than-$20 Old Navy jeans that I've had for years and the most comfortable slippers EVER from REI that D bought me as a birthday gift the first year we started dating. This is basically what I wear every day (with sneakers replacing the slippers when I leave the house).

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Mother's Day Brunch

It's hard to believe it's already May! I was just talking with a friend the other day about the passage of time, and we agreed that March always feels like it's taking FORRRRREEEVVVEERR to get through (it seems to take at least 6 weeks!), but then, all of a sudden, it's May, and then summer is here, and then it's back to being winter again. I don't know if that's true for you, but I was so surprised to switch my calendar to May the other day and see things on there that had already been planned for a long time! I'll chalk some of that short-term amnesia up to being so busy with schoolwork, but still - May really seems like its own little planet compared to the rest of the calendar year.

All that needless rambling to say: Mother's Day is fast approaching! And while I'll be out of town for the weekend (we're headed down to New Mexico to celebrate D's sister's graduation as a dietitian student), I'll still be thinking about my mother and what lovely things I could have prepared for her if I'd been closer.

Here are some delicious ideas for the perfect Mother's Day brunch:

-Healthy Waffles (GF,V)

-Lavender Blueberry Pancakes (GF,V)

-Tofu Scramble (GF,V)

-Citrus Granola (GF,V)

-Hazelnut Crepes (GF,V)

Here are some more brunch ideas from around the web:

-Vegan French Toast from Minimalist Baker
-Chickpea Omelette from Fork and Beans 
-Coconut Breakfast Cake from Chocolate Covered Katie
-Blueberry Cinnamon French Toast from Chef Chloe
-Lavender Vanilla Bean Scones from Allyson Kramer

Friday, May 1, 2015

My 2015 Garden

It's springtime here in Kirkland, and that means D and I have planted our garden. This is our "spring" garden; the weather isn't quite warm enough at night (or during the day) to warrant planting tomatoes or peppers or other warm-weather-loving plants, but we have made a good start with the first crop.

When we moved into our rented place in Kirkland, we were so pleased that it came with garden boxes. It was hard to leave our amazing garden behind in Portland, but having the plots already established here made it a little easier to adapt to a new place. The boxes are a little rickety, but they serve their purpose, and I know we are going to enjoy a summer full of delicious homegrown fruits and vegetables.

vegetables: strawberries and onions; Gerbera daisies (my favorite flower!) and marigolds brighten up the corners
We're trying something new this year; we've added flowers to each one of the garden boxes. With the way the boxes are set up, we are able to place a table and chairs in the middle of them, so we we can enjoy grilled food and the fruits (and vegetables) of our labor right in the middle of our garden. It's a very peaceful and lovely setting in which to dine. The flowers add color and brightness to our meals (as well as to the boxes while the fruits and vegetables are still growing).

vegetables: carrots and onions; flowers: snapdragon and a marigold
ALL of the lettuce varieties! our salads will never be boring (or lacking) again! with marigolds and a sunflower-like flower in the corners
Betsy's a big fan of the garden, and she loves being outdoors whenever I am!
these potted onions are really growing!
I'll have some more garden shots after these all grow a bit and start producing. The strawberry plants look like they're really close to being ripe; I can't wait to enjoy fresh strawberries from my garden!

What have you planted in your garden this spring?

I love to garden, and it shows here on the blog! I believe that there is no better way to eat than to grow the food yourself. Here are (many) other posts I've written about gardening:
-Last year's garden (the first in our new house) was amazing!
-Strawberries from my 2011 garden
-What my 2010 garden consisted of
-The first time I planted starts (part I)
-The first time I planted starts (part II)
-Food made with my 2009 garden
-A little sunflower I planted from seed
-What I planted in 2009 (part I)
-What I planted in 2009 (part II)


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