Monday, April 26, 2010

Meatless Monday

I've almost missed posting, but this is Monday, and I've a yoga class to attend after work. Things tend to run very late!

And I didn't cook again tonight. No, this time, I picked up a (not so vegan!) meatless meal in a hurry - but very tasty indeed:

I adore cottage cheese (there's even a photo of me at my first birthday with it all over my face and in my blonde ringlet-ed hair, so you can tell it's a long-lived affair!), and tonight when I saw strawberries and pineapple all ready and waiting, I just couldn't resist. I added a bit of baguette with seasoned olive oil, and thoroughly enjoyed my very simple meal.

But oh, for next week? I've got something planned! I'll make it over the weekend so it will be ready and waiting after yoga class, and I promise I'll post earlier, too! *wink*

I did a little bit of veggie shopping this weekend...a fellow yoga student is a potter and she was having a sale of her wares. I picked up the eggplant salt and pepper shakes, and the little garlic head shaker was just sitting there all by itself. I thought, "why not for garlic powder?" and it came right along home with me! I love that her attention to detail even included the little rootlets at the base, tho' this photo doesn't show that well...

The three will reside on my stovetop and work in nicely with my vintage vegetable pottery collection - Shawnee King Cornware, and Made in Occupied Japan Tomato-ware, plus an odd assortment of peppers, squashes, celery, and beets (ALL ceramic salt and pepper shakes).

What can I say? I'm just a pushover for veggies and fruit in all forms. This purchase supported a local artist, too. :)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

An Apology and - It's Earth Day!

I have to admit that I was away this weekend, doing a show, and as a result, did NOT post for Meatless Monday. I've been meatless both Tuesday and Wednesday, but repeated my Portabella Mushrooms from the grocery store, so don't have a recipe to share this week, I'll try to do better next week, I promise.

Today is Earth Day, and I'm wondering what you will do to celebrate and honor it?

Me? I'm working, as usual, and have an appointment after work, so cooking isn't going to happen. I think I might have a big salad tonight, meatless again, because I'm spending the evening in a 90 minute yoga class. It will be late when I get out and I'd like to toss something light together to end my day.

I'm going to use the least possible amount of energy (read "electricity") at home today, but that's in part because I won't be there.

I did, however, read an interesting article at Newsweek that if we think consuming green products is going to get us out of this mess we're in, then we're somewhat delusional.

Not that it won't at least be better for us to use these products. But it does boil down to not buying as much - reducing what we use, reducing the amount of waste we produce.

So I'll be looking for a couple of things I would like to have (glass yogurt cups, a personal CD player as mine broke and I have so many books on CD to read!), but I'll be looking for a used item, whenever possible. And over the next few weeks, I'll be working hard to pass along used items I no longer need.

As the Newsweek article says, there's a reason the first word in the slogan is reduce, reuse, recycle. And I'll add there's are reason many of us are adding the word repurpose to the refrain. It's about making less stuff and rethinking how we relax and unwind. Shopping can't be the way we enjoy ourselves any longer. If the economy and your credit card hasn't already told you this, then the Earth's predicament surely should.

More of us need to follow the old yankee proverb of "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without." I feel somewhat embarrassed by the fact that having lost 40 pounds in the past 7 months, I've been forced to buy an entirely new wardrobe (remaking things wasn't possible with this much change in my shape!). I did, however, shop consignment, thrift, and charity shops as much as possible. And will be passing along my former wardrobe thru the same vehicles, including a yard sale and occasional ebay auction.

What ONE thing can you choose to do today to address the crisis facing the earth? Join up with One Small Change and just do one thing each month? I did. I've been using cloth napkins at home rather than paper towels as napkins. It's going great. I've kept a small stack of them next to my spot at the table all month, and have just washed them with my regular sheets and towels wash. Before this? I'd use a cloth napkin with my lunch, packing it in my tote. But I never thought about it at home, I just tore off that paper towel in "auto-pilot" mode. That's all changed, there's not even a roll of paper towels in my kitchen now.

I haven't made the napkins I promised my Ravelry pals I'd make, but there's still time this month to do that. I picked up some super-cool fabrics (OOPS, see? We buy without thinking!) to make them out I needed more fabric? In fairness, I'd not read that Newsweek article yet, and was in a new fabric shop where I saw the cutest "green" fabric prints.

Which, of course, is exactly the Newsweek article's point - we see "green" in the advertising, and just figure we're doing something good. Forget about the fact that I have hundreds of pounds of fabric in my sewing room...
I forgive myself. And I'm going to change.

What about you?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Meatless Monday

It's Meatless Monday! And today's dinner is my fast, easy vegan spaghetti.

It's easy because it's jarred sauce, doctored up. It's vegan because the "meat" is Morningstar Farms Recipe Crumbles. It's fast, because I make it on Sunday and eat it for a couple of weeknight dinners, and freeze the rest for later on! There is nothing better than your own food for "fast food."

So I being with cleaning out the cupboard and freezer:

There's a small can of mushroom stems and pieces, three cloves of minced garlic (still from my CSA last fall!), and a small can of sliced black olives. I drain the canned items, and rinse off the mushrooms to rid them of any additional salts. Then in a frying pan sprayed with olive oil spray, I toss in a tablespoon of good olive oil, and let the veggies saute.

IF you have other veggies you'd like to add, now is the time. I've been known to toss in summer squash or zuccini, multi-colored bell pepper strips and sliced onions, even shredded carrots! None of them have any calories, so from a Weight Watchers perspective, there are no points.

Eventually I add half a bag of the recipe crumbles and let them saute as well. This particular time, I added in dried onion flakes to taste (I didn't have an onion in the crisper), and then a bit of dried basil. But not too much, because the jarred sauce I used was "tomato basil" flavor (Barilla).

Here's everything simmering away.

And of course, in the meantime, I had the whole wheat pasta on to boil:

Served on a salad-sized plate, with just a touch of shredded parmesan, this is a total of 8 Weight Watchers points (for anyone who cares - I do since I'm following the program).

Last night I also made up a vegan salad for lunch this week from Kalyn's Kitchen. I'd never cut up a mango and this was my very first avocado, too. It's a good salad, tho' I have to admit, I'm not yet loving the avocado...(and it's pricey on points, too - at 7 per serving, I rarely eat that many at lunch)

Come back next week and I'll try to have an interesting recipe to share on Meatless Monday again.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Apparently Convenience Can Be Healthy!

I discovered a wonderful concoction in my regular grocery store's produce section yesterday: stuffed portabella mushroom caps! Two to a pack, they were completely ready for me to grill, broil, or bake when I got home. $2.00

Now on the nights when I have yoga class (my Thursday class gets me home at 9p.m. and I surely don't want a heavy meal right before bedtime, but I can't eat dinner when I get off work and head to a 7p.m. class - talk about yucky, yoga on a full stomach? No thanks) I do whatever I can to eat lightly, eat intentionally, and to not eat meat.

Somehow meat and yoga don't mix in my head, either.

The mushroom caps I picked up were stuffed with fresh spinach, mozzarella shredded part-skim cheese and seasonings - I know there was oregano in there, and probably a touch of garlic. I input everything to Weight Watcher's e-tools and got 2 points per cap! With some Morrocan Olive Artisan bread and seasoned olive oil, the entire meal was 7 points, and as vegetarian (but not vegan) as you can get!

(I ate one last night after class and one tonight when I thought I could manage to snag a photo for you, but you know what? I was too hungry and I never thought about pulling out the camera! I'm sorry...believe me tho' they're really good!)

Hmm...that makes it meatless Thursday, and meatless Friday, as well as mostly meatless Monday so far this week! But considering the fact that eating lower on the food chain is easier on the environment, as well as on my own physical being, I'm happy about that.

This is a work weekend, as I've got a show next weekend. So I stopped by the library to pick up my "reading material!" (ok, one of those is actually printed material...)

I'm "reading" Hot, Flat, and Crowded this evening...while I cut and sew handcrafted bags for my show next week...
(thank goodness for books on CD!)

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Meatless Mondays...

Meatless Monday's won't be a hard thing for me to do, and in fact yesterday I managed to join the movement (click that link and join up, too!), but after I'd packed my deli turkey sandwich for lunch, so that I couldn't change without having waste. But dinner was a vegetarian chili-filled whole wheat burrito.

I think I'm going to plan for making something vegan on Sunday nights, and having the leftovers on Mondays - because I have yoga class and don't get home till late. Dinner on Mondays has to be easy-peasy!

Monday, April 05, 2010

One Small Change - April

I learned of a blog event over here at One Small Change and decided to participate.

What will my one small change be? I have apparently got some kind of blip in my brain power that makes it second nature to use a fabric napkin when I pack my lunch for work, but then I come home and use paper towels! I have no idea why. So this month is going to be devoted to actively choosing to use cloth, not paper.

(I make many small changes during any given month. I may even try to find the time to dig out my delicate vintage handkerchiefs and carry them with me instead of Kleenex!)

Wow. That's two changes. When combined with last month's choice to use my drying rack for personal clothing items? See how they can make a huge difference in just a short time?

So...What will YOU do?

Saturday, April 03, 2010

This Isn't a Craft Blog, Per Se...

I've crafted from my earliest memory. My grandmother taught me to embroider at her knee when I was just about 6, and I collected scraps of fancy fabrics (whatever Mom found along the way) and tried to sew doll clothes by hand. I hadn't a clue how, of course, but I tried, draping bits of velvets, satins, and crepes and wrapping them on my fashion dolls.

Then Mom taught me to sew, on her old treadle sewing machine when I was in 5th grade. I should have done as I threatened, when a degree in ballet was refused by my father, and majored in Home Economics. Do you ever wonder "what might have been?" That's my query - what would life have been like as a public school teacher? But I was a feminist and such a life was not what I dreamed of...I didn't go to college out of spite (and you know what happens when we bite off our noses in those cases, right?)
Anyway, as usual, I digress...this is about crafting. In fact, it's about Green Crafting.

Mom sewed, knitted, crocheted, and tatted. She taught me the first two, but not the last. I taught myself many other things: macrame, counted cross-stitch, quilting, and crochet, primarily. But I never learned to like crochet, in fact, it hurts my wrists.

This week, I spent some time, as I often do, researching Green Issues, and everything converged in one simple pattern I discovered in a message board on Ravelry.

I've knit dishcloths forever, but these crocheted scrubbies caught my fancy. The folks in my new "Trash to Treasures" group on Ravelry (I'm a new member, they've been around a bit!) make these from plarn (that's plastic shopping bag yarn - yes, the ultimate in upcycling, it's yarn created by taking plastic shopping bags and cutting them into same-sized loops, connecting them, then crocheting them into these critters:, you're very correct, mine are made from cotton yarn. Dishcloth cotton to be exact. But that's because I have very, very few plastic bags - the ones I have I keep in reserve to stuff wet knitted wool bags while they dry into felted bags. I don't want to make plarn from them.

Notice anything about that photo? The scrubbies are 1) different sizes and 2) progressively neater (the one in the middle is the neatest).

Remember I told you I taught myself to crochet? Well, I picked it back up this week, but all I did was grab an instruction guide and remind myself of the components of the stitches. It wasn't till tonight, after making the green/ivory and the red tweed/ivory scrubbies and being very unhappy with them, that I sat down with the guidebook and really read it. (Yes, sometimes you really really do need to "read the destructions," as my friend Lynette says)

I was trying to hold the yarn in my right hand with the hook (I am an English-style knitter, so I throw with my right hand). The tension of the yarn in my hands made for very sloppy scrubbies. But that red/ivory one in the middle? It was done in a fraction of the time, and once I put that yarn in the correct (left, for me) hand, everything "connected" in my hands!

We have memory in our hands (tho' I can't cite scientific studies for my claim). But I believe it's what makes speedy typists (and data entry operators, which is the work I did to put myself through college after "biting off my nose!") and concert pianists. The memory basically bypasses the brain, the brain has to be a conduit I suppose, but the fingers hit the keys or the yarn comes into the fingers and memory takes over - not "brain" memory...finger memory. It's "touch-do." See? No brain-power involved!

(And by way of explanation: I'm using up stash cotton yarn, which is as good as upcycling plastic bags, in my book. These little critters take very little scrap yarn, and will make great pot scrubbers in Christmas kitchen gift sets this year.)

Oddly, so far, my hands aren't hurting, which is good. But, oh, my. I surely hope I don't end up with another obsessive/compulsive craft! This crochet stuff is fun!