Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Just a little catching up

Okay, Nannie's moved in. The housemate's in. We're all just one big happy family. Or whatever. My drinking's gone through the roof.

Anyway, I'm cooking too. You know, stir, sip, stir, sip, smoke, stir, sip, and so forth. Just like Julia Child would do it.

This ain't perrty, but it was damn tasty. I believe both recipes are from Veganomicon. I remember that it's navy beans with onion, pepper, carrots, celery, garlic, and something. And homemade croutons. The couscous was cooked in tomato juice and then heated until the tomatoes were warm. Very rustic, kind of ugly, and very delicious.

IIRC, it was one of Nannie's first days at the house and I made the "Anything Goes" Fruit-Filled Muffins from HIAV. They wound up being blueberry and mango, and they were muuuch better than those last disasterous booberry muffins I made. The recipe said it makes six. I doubled it and got 21. Go me. I thought the batter was an odd consistency, a bit like paste, but they turned out fantastically!

Had some leftover chili, from some leftover chili, so that's right--it's nacho time! Nothing healthy here, just some plain ole chips, smothered in chili, FYH Vegan Gourmet nacho flavor, and salsa. Muy delicioso, de acuerdo.

Undoubtedly, one of the bestest things in the world is cornbread. And if it's not cooked in a cast iron skillet, I don't want it. The one I favor lately is Joni's from Cozy Inside , sans the sugar. I love ya, Joni, but cornbread ain't supposed to be corncake. What's up with all these yankees putting sugar in their cornbread? HA! Anyway, not sure what I served with this, probably something beany, but I wish I had some of its corny goodness right this minute. Slather it in Earth Balance and your mouth will thank you.

Lastly, I made one of the best tofu scrambles ever. Don't ask me exactly what's in it, and definitely don't ask me measurements. That's the beauty of tofu scramble. Clean out your fridge, be creative, try your luck, whatever--it always come out some serious yum. From what I remember, this one has baby bellas, onions, garlic, peppers, spinach, grape tomatoes, gobs of spices, and gotta have the nooch. It was good for lunch the next day too.

Guess that's it for now. We'll see how Jesus' birthday dinner comes out and I might have some pix from that. At least I know dessert will be good. Cuz really, is dessert ever "bad?"

Happy 93rd!

Not many people will be un/lucky enough to ever hear those words on their birthday, but thankfully, Nannie is. On December 2 we celebrated her 93rd birthday, and in the house together. We left the 'burg and arrived at the new place on the 28th, and the movers came on the 29th. Yes, professional movers thanks to some bailout (former) friends who can't keep their word. But that's a post for another day.

On to the celebration!

Even though we had just arrived, Nannie had set to work unpacking everything, so by that Tuesday I had access to all the fixins for a proper sit down grown up kind of meal. The lace tablecloth is probably 50 or 60 years old at least. This is Nannie's wedding china. The glasses are her (or her mother's, not sure) Chantilly crystal. And pardon the everyday silverware. After moving and cooking and arranging, I was just too pooped to bother finding one of her three boxes of silver. Not to mention I'm sure it would need to be polished. So, here's her birthday setting.


So what did we have to eat, you ask? Aside from that beautiful salad?

Lasagna! In all its deliciousness:

And of course the important things...what was for dessert? Well Nannie loooves banana splits, so I tried the Banana Split Cupcakes from VCTOTW. I wanted to love them as much as I thought I would, but they just didn't have that "ummph" I was looking for. Pretty? Yes. Good? Yes. Should I have just made birthday banana splits? Yes.

But if you want to serve them properly, you must have these little plates from gods know when. Matching tea cups fit into their very own little groove. I love these things. I want to make pie and coffee every day just to show them off. Another inherited addition from Nannie's stash.

So that was it! We dined by candlelight. We sang happy birthday. And V washed the china and the crystal by hand. I'll have to plan something truly divine for her 94th.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Back in the Kitchen Again--cuz vegans don't ride saddles!

Alllrighty! No more slacking. As I was commanded, thinking of "my public." Har har.

Saturday's dinner was savory tofu steaks (cubed), baked potatoes, and one of my most favorite dishes ever--the chard, acorn squash, tomatoes, and pine nut thing from The Vegan Gourmet, page 96 or so.

It is truly wonderful, but I don't know why I find it so complicated. Maybe it's the timing--you have to do x for five minutes, then do y for seven, then do z for four, add this then, and so on. I'm not good with that much direction. Anyway, I had to make some subs and it just didn't turn out as lovely as I remember (from when V made it, of course). I used frozen butternut squash in place of the acorn and canned diced tomatoes instead of fresh. It wasn't inedible, but it wasn't fantabulous. And because of all the timing issues, the baked potatoes were overdone. Not twice baked, just overdone. Boo. I should hang up my apron now if I can't even bake a freakin' potato.

Sunday was better. I raked leaves for a while (you have to do that when you have a yard, ya know) and then spent much of the afternoon in the kitchen. First, I made the blueberry muffins from the Nov/Dec 08 issue of VegNews.

Eh. I've had (and made) better. They tasted bitter to me. Perhaps it was because I used frozen blueberries, but it just seems like they should have more "flavor." Probably won't be making again.

Next, I made the garlic basil muffins from the same issue of VN.

Muuuch better. They need quadruple the amount of garlic powder and basil called for, and I think some red pepper flakes would help, but overall a nice subtle change-of-pace dinner bread. And hey, "change" is all the rage now. That and "hope." Bladdy blah blah.

On to the appetizer. One of my most favorite things in the world...roasted brussel sprouts. It is positively AMAZING what a little olive oil, sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and a brussel sprout can do for a girl. Deee-lish.

On to better and starchier things...mac & cheese! Yes, that's right kids, vegans eat mac & cheese like everyone else. Well, not cheeeese of course, but something much better. A lovely creamy flavorful sauce. All the fat, none of the cruelty.

When I asked the freaks which was the best recipe, my buddy Misa immediately recommended this one. As usual, she's dead on balls accurate--and that's an industry term (vegan brownie points if you know what that's from). This shit is good. Damn good. It's the Soul Veg recipe, mostly. It's creamy and lush and it gets all bubbly in the oven. Just like mac & cheese should do. We also had some black eyed peas that I had previously frozen, jazzed up with onion, garlic, crushed red pepper, and whatever else I happened to toss in. Not the "prettiest" meal, but it was damn tasty.

So I hope to be back. And I hope to get better pix in the future. These suck.

Next up...Vegan Cooking Adventures with the G-ma!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Boy do I suck

Wow. Has it really been since MAY that I blogged? About anything? I suppose now that we've moved, and Nannie is about to move in, I'll get back to normal, cook more, and start blogging again. You know, cuz sooo many people read this thing. haha

I should make something good for dinner and get a pic. Last night we had hot dogs and a salad. That doesn't exactly make for interesting discussion, I suppose.

Friday, May 30, 2008

One helluva week

Last weekend I went down to visit with Nannie. As many of you know, I think she's having paranoid delusions and things are getting a bit difficult to deal with. It's looking more and more like we won't be able to do the house thing, but I'm really not sure how much longer she can stay where she is--alone. She was all down with coming to live with us, provided she had her own apartment, but she is completely against the assisted living thing. So, I remain stuck. And I grow ever more resentful that I am an only child and only grandchild, thus all of this falls to my aging yet immature shoulders. Amos stayed down there with her though, so I'm hoping he can perk her up and give her something to focus on rather than her "issues."

So I returned home dogless. When I got back on Monday, I heard about Maggie Moo's big weekend with Daddy at the dog park, lots of long walks, and even a bath at the doggie wash. Of course we thought she was exhausted, or just a typical lazy ole hound. But by Tuesday something was definitely amiss. For much of the day she stayed by herself in the bedroom. This is unusual. She peed in the floor two or three times. Okay, an accident in the night or can't hold it until you get home, but this was different, too many times, and never letting me know she needed to go out. And the biggest thing of all--she wouldn't eat dinner. Now THAT'S unheard of. Also, that night her breathing was labored, which is the thing that started worrying me the most.

Wednesday V calls me at work to tell me he's at the vet with her. She hadn't perked up at all and by then had a lot of puss coming from her eyes, so he knew there was some type of infection and took her in to be checked out. I was about to leave work and meet him there when he called and said the vet told him to get her to the e-vet. She had a temp of 105. Okay yeah, panic.

So we rush to Friendship Animal Hospital where they immediately took her back. We waited not so patiently. A tech came out, jotted down the symptoms. Short time later the doc comes out and calls us into a private room. Of course I think this is a bad sign. He said three things concerned him. 1) the high fever; 2) she seemed to have some pain when he pressed on her back; and 3) her stomach felt "full," perhaps like her organs were enlarged. Well given that she just had a grade 2 mast cell tumor removed on April 3, naturally my thoughts turn to cancer, and that it had spread before we got to it. Yes, he admitted, this was a possibility. But he needed to do x-rays and a full blood work up; she needed an IV, and they wanted to monitor her overnight. So we went home, nervous and afraid that she might not be coming home with us again.

V had to go immediately into work, so I was left at the house alone. The boy was at work; Amos was at Nannie's; and Maggie was in the hospital. It was awful. The vet called a short time later and said that the blood work was held up in the lab, but they found something like lacerations all over her back, perhaps from a small animal, he wasn't sure. They'd started her on an IV and she seemed to be doing better. But what was going on with her back? I was told to call the next morning and we could probably bring her home.

Next day. Her temp is down to normal, she's perked up, she'd eaten breakfast, and she was HOWLING. That's the girl I know and love. They had shaved part of her back/rear area and it was covered with these lesions. The vet says it does appear to be some type of allergic inflammation. It could be some very small animal bites, OR it could have come from the inside. She could have rolled around in something like poison ivy or another plant that caused a reaction. Basically, we just don't know. It's a mystery. Here's a crappy phone shot--if anyone has ideas as to what it could be please share!


There is one remaining concern, however, and that is that her liver enzyme levels are elevated. This could be 1) body wide inflammation and detoxing; 2) sludgy liver; or 3) liver cancer. We're going to keep her on benadryl and antibiotics for the next two weeks and then recheck her liver enzymes to hopefully see a decrease. If they remain the same or go up, we'll have to do an ultrasound and possibly a needle aspirate to determine what it is. I'm really thinking it's number 1.

BUT, she's alive and she's getting better. And I think my nerves *might* be getting back to normal. As always, my friends at VFF were extremely supportive and wonderful; sending me lots of supportive messages and phone texts and even virtual cuddles from their puppies. I'd like to say I had some real life friends who were as sweet, but alas, that's not the case. DC people are disappointing as usual.

Whew. So it's been a helluva week. My eyes well up with tears every time I look at Maggie now. I'm so happy she's alive and I don't even want to think of life without her. She's back where she belongs, and being her houndy self.
Maggie Moo

Saturday, May 17, 2008

It's Farmers' Market Time!

Opened last weekend, conveniently at the corner of 14th and U. Here's today's haul.


pink ladies
rainbow chard
buttercrunch lettuce
bok choy
purple bok choy
spring onions
sundried tomato baguette


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

"Abortion Redacted"

Are you fucking kidding me??

As if the assault on human rights, women's rights, and intellectual freedom in general weren't enough...now our lovely government is trying to ban the term abortion altogether. POPLINE, the database on reproductive health, recently "banned," and reinstated (thank you, Johns Hopkins), the ability to search for information on abortion. Salon has a nice, quick and dirty synopsis here.

Really? This doesn't even require comment, I'm sure.

Yet again, I'm embarrassed to be an Amerikkun. Get your fucking "laws" out of my uterus and out of my health databases. I typically flip off the USAID when passing by the Reagan Building, henceforth they get the double bird--typically reserved for motorcades (just in case) and the helicopters flying frequently overhead.