Saturday, November 27, 2010

Small Business Saturday

I committed myself to the concept of Small Business Saturday, shopping local (tho' I must admit, another blogger suggested something I've thought about before, that even the big stores with a nationwide or larger reach, hire local folks, so what's "local" anymore, anyway?). Still I decided to give it a try. I started the morning at Java the Hut:

And you know what? I ordered a "skinny hazelnut latte" (with the sugar-free hazelnut) and I liked it better than my usual Starbucks...it was even a bit less expensive (but then again, overhead for this little hut in the center of a small mall parking lot a few blocks from my house is much less than what Starbucks shells out, I know)...

From here, with hot coffee warming my chilly fingers, I ran across town to my favorite fabric shop, Creative Quilting.

I didn't do as much damage as I sometimes do, but I had a particularly difficult fabric this time. Still, it's always fun to stop by and visit with Judy.

I stopped on the Farmer's Market again (as I did last weekend) and bought honey from one of the vendors. It's wild, local clover honey. I did shop a bit in the various stores but I'm at my wit's end of what to buy certain folks for the holidays...as a result, I got ideas, but didn't make decisions yet.

Then I headed into SW City to Grandin Village. I had to visit the Natural Foods Co-op, but first I visited a new shop called Urban Gypsy. I loved the ambience and the clothing was interesting (tho' a touch young for me) but I was saddened to see so much of it coming from China. Still, it's a neat shop and I wish them well.

The shop on the corner of that photo is Too Many Books, a used bookshop that's a lovely spot to pick up something interesting...if you've not succumbed to e-readers, yet, that is...

On up the street a couple of blocks is New To Me. It's a recycling store - lovely furniture, jewelry, clothing, virtually anything you could envision is right there, everything sold on consignment. It's the shop I always wanted to open, to be honest! I love to poke into the corners and see what's shown up since the last time I was there. If I had a bit of extra space, there was a lovely wardrobe in there today! :)

Finally, I took the time to run out to the edge of Salem, a town not far, but still not on my normal route these days. I'd heard there was a quilt shop there, Quilting Essentials, and I just hadn't made it out there before (since mostly my available days are Saturday, and I spend those sewing most of the time):
They've a nice shop, big and airy, with lots of choice fabrics. The folks working there were helpful, and a lot of fun to chat with. I bought a few things, and will be back, that's sure...

So that's my Small Business Saturday. I hope I helped our local economy a bit, and if you didn't get a chance to do so today, I'd say, pick your next day off and explore your own community. There are always surprises in store!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Meatless Thanksgiving Dinner...

I'll admit that we did have salmon - because my friend Lynette was having a second Thanksgiving dinner tonight, and they were having turkey, so I was flexible, because my turkey breast is going in the crockpot tomorrow for a weekend of meals...

But I really wanted to make my mother's traditional vegetarian recipe for Nutloaf. Big Sis kindly sent me the recipe and I think I can easily share it since my mother allowed it to be printed in the Unitarian Universalist Church of Roanoke's cookbook (which is ancient, I think the Women's Group had it printed in the 1970s)

Here are the ingredients:

Just in the top right-hand corner you'll see the English walnuts...

My mom had an antique meat grinder (which is not in my possession and which had never been used on meat, as I understand it) that she used to grind the nuts in. I used my Cuisinart! Times change, and I'm all about shortcuts.

The only other adaptation I made was swapping out Egg Beaters for the 2 eggs (saved a bit of fat that way...)

Aren't these lovely little loaves? (don't worry, I'm giving the recipe at the end)

I said all thru preparation of the meal that I'd take a photo of our plates. By the time I remembered to get the camera? Our plates were clean. So you get photos of the leftovers:
And I goofed and didn't baste it with the butter mixture my mom used. So maybe that, or maybe not using real eggs, or maybe both, but the nutloaf didn't slice well. It did make a lovely hash mixture on the plate. It doesn't matter. The flavor was there, and it was delish!

I also baked two organic Honeycrisp apples with maple sugar candies, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger dusted over them - these were HUGE apples:
each one weighed about a pound! I said that if these were the apples Eve offered Adam? Well...that was too much temptation for ANYONE! They are fabulous either baked or eaten out of hand!

Finally I made Pumpkin Fluff:
It's a recipe shared at Weight Watchers, and since I had to add it to etools, I don't think there's any copywrite to violate, so I'll share it:

1 can of pumpkin (NOT pie filling)
1 large package of Sugar-Free Fat-Free Vanilla instant pudding
2 cups of skim milk
1 8 oz tup of Cool Whip Fat Free
your favorite pumpkin pie seasonings (I use Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, and Cloves)

Make the pudding with the 2 cups of milk...I wisk it together and beat it well till it begins to set. At that point, I add the spices, then the pumpkin. The very last thing I do is fold in the Cool Whip and mix it well, but don't beat it, because you'll beat the "air" out of it and you want it fluffy. Chill and serve - one CUP is 1 WW point!
Who needs pumpkin pie?

Ok...here's the nutloaf recipe:
1 and 1/2 c. ground walnut meats
1 and 1/2 c. ground peanuts (Spanish or unsalted)
4 slices bread, broken up fine (or toast them lightly and pulse in food processor)
2 Tbs poultry seasoning
1 small onion, grated (oh heck I just tossed this in the Cuisinart, too)
2 eggs (or, as I said, I substitued the equivalent in Egg Beaters)

Mix dry ingredients; add eggs slightly beaten and the onion. Mold into two small loaves. Cover & bake in oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes - basting occasionally with 2 Tbs butter in one cup of boiling water. Do not bake too dry. (oh well, I missed this part of the directions!)

Slice the loaf & serve with tomato sauce:
1 large can of tomatoes thickened with flour
seasoned with 1 tsp grated onion salt and pepper

Mix the flour with a bit of water in a small lidded container and shake well so the flour isn't lumpy - I used hot tap water - then add that into the tomatoes. Heat and allow the sauce to thicken. I also used a can of tomatoes with Italian seasoning already in there, so I didn't add more onion or seasonings.

**by the way, I'm not affliated with Cuisinart, nor with any of the products shown in the photos, and am only a Lifetime member of Weight Watchers, not a paid representative - just for anyone who might wonder about it**

Have a terrific Thanksgiving Holiday!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Two Big Days Coming Up...

...and I don't mean Thanksgiving and Christmas, tho' they are, too.

I'm thinking about Buy Nothing Day (November 26) and Small Business Saturday (November 27).

Buy Nothing Day (BND) has been an event in my life for about as long as it's been going on (maybe longer, as I despise crowds and almost as much as that, I dislike spending a ton on *stuff* that very few people need). I think the most I've ever bought on BND has been emergency cat food.

This year's Small Business Saturday is an event I can totally get behind. I'm trying very hard to buy smaller, buy local, and give handmade as much as humanly possible. My focus this year in my gift giving will have much more reliance on supporting the small businesses in my town as well as the small crafters on Etsy (and yes, I, (Nana Sadie Rose, am one).

I'm interested in any purchase that supports:
1. my local arts community (handcrafted items and concert tickets)
2. the small businesses on our City Market: our huge Market Square Building has been closed for renovations that will take a long time to do - many of the small businesses that were housed there have relocated to other spots along the Market area (some just folded - sob!). Traffic is being re-directed around the building and it's not much fun to navigate. The upshot of that is that many folks are not going downtown they way they used to. But I will!
3. food entrepreneurs - locally grown, locally baked
4. Gift Certificates for services: yoga classes, massages, haircuts, and such.

Then, at the next level of gifting, I'm doing a Handmade Holiday:
5. handcrafted items on etsy
6. handcrafted items I create myself
7. handcrafted items from my local craft shows

Finally, for those family and friends farther away:
8. contributions of cash to groups that do good - in the local community. My hope is that Americans realize that for all our generousity to the people of countries afar, we have serious concerns in our own hometowns that need addressing (and need funding). Most folks are still feeling pinched, so contributions to nonprofits are down (yes, I work for one), and the corporations and governments that used to help fund these groups have had to cut back on their giving/funding, as well. If you have a group in your area that does good and has the need, consider a gift in the name of someone you care about. That nonprofit will send a thank-you to your honoree on your behalf. And your honoree won't have to figure out what to do with the *stuff* you gift...(yes, we all have that happen once in awhile, eh?)

I know folks like to use the big charities - and I won't say don't, do what works for you, but do take a moment to think about your local humane society, homeless shelter, domestic violence shelter, food bank, art museum, or opera company and symphony. Perhaps they have a greater need than the bigger groups at least during this time of economic distress.

Lastly? On Buy Nothing Day? Why not take the time to de-stuff your closets? And donate to a local organization that helps provide for folks just starting over, those who've lost everything due to natural or economic disaster?

Because after all, do we really need everything we've got? Isn't a bunch of it just "STUFF?"

And isn't this time of year about so much more?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Farmers Market STILL!

Yes, our area still has veggies on the Farmers Market downtown this weekend...While there's a vendor or two who bring in veggies from down south, I was able to buy local produce from Sandra's farmer friend from Franklin Co. He had a wonderful array of squashes, greens (spinach for salad on Turkey day and turnip greens tonight), and potatoes (red & white sweet, and white regular), and I picked up a couple heads of garlic and a big onion.

I baked the two red sweet potatoes for dinner tonight and Tuesday and froze some of the turnip greens after having a nice sized serving for dinner.

Life is good. Especially when you can hook up and visit (however briefly) with a friend. Her farmer friend did the honors and snapped a shot of us together:

That's pal Sandra (who I see too infrequently!) and me. If you're interested in seeing a little Fair Isle knitting, you can jump on over to my other blog and see the cat mittens I made that go with my lightweight winter coat.

I'm hoping to make an old vegetarian favorite for Turkey Day (when I won't be having turkey, I'll be having salmon with friend Lynette!). The recipe for the family dish has nothing to do with fish, of course, it's ...

Nut Loaf!

Be sure to stop by, okay?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

It's Been a Long Time!

This might seem pretty amazing, but I'm still eating from last year's CSA share! I had two small bags of peppers which I'd frozen whole after de-seeding them and lopping the tops off. I saved them with this in mind:

Raised a vegetarian, my Mom used to make stuffed peppers just this way: stuff with your favorite sage stuffing mix (I do use Stove Top, because I rarely have time to do anything more, and besides, it tastes JUST like my Mom's - at least the Savory Herb flavor does). Fit them into a covered casserole, top with a can of tomatoes (flavored with Italian herbs so I don't have to add anything) and sprinkle a tablespoon or so of shredded Parmesan cheese over the top. Bake at 350 for an hour or so.

Absolutely delish!

I've been gone a bit from this blog and I apologize. Life seems to be moving faster than a speeding bullet, and I've neglected both this one and my knitting blog. While the holidays are approaching, I think I'll be able to spare a few minutes to post occasionally, but I'm still toying with ideas for this particular blog and am unsure of the direction I'll take it. Let me know if there's something you'd like to see?
(((hugs)))