Friday, May 28, 2010

Foodie Friday: Volume 15

It's Foodie Friday! Foodie Friday is my weekly feature that gives you a window into my kitchen. I love to cook, I love to eat, I love to read cookbooks, and I love to inspire people to give vegan food a chance. Thus, Foodie Friday was whipped up and baked to perfection.

Our schedule is all screwed up this week because Jason dozes off on the couch and sleeps through the usual dinner hour every freakin' day, then stays up until midnight rushing to do his schoolwork for college.

Did you know that he's working on his degree? He is! I'm super proud of him for being such a high achiever, but it makes having meals together really annoying because we're never hungry at the same time.

Cranberry-walnut oatmeal cookies (plus a handful of chocolate chips) from Robin Robertson's Vegan Planet.

Jason passed his Navy PRT last week and got an A on his history paper, so I had promised to make him a treat. I used apple sauce instead of oil to try to make these not quite so bad for us, but they turned out kind of weird--way too moist, even though I baked them longer than called for. I was disappointed. Next time I'll have to use oil and wire my mouth shut.

Penne (um, farfalle) and chickpeas with rosemary (um, Victoria Taylor's Sicilian seasoning) from 1,000 Vegan Recipes. I had to kludge this one together when I realized that I didn't have penne pasta or dried rosemary. Oops! It was still really good.

Spiced sweet potatoes with dried cherries from 1,000 Vegan Recipes. Holy goods. This had just the right blend of sweet and spice.

Hawaiian "chicken" sandwiches (with leftover sweet potatoes). I used Morningstar Farms Grillers Chik'n Veggie patties topped with canned pineapple chunks that I sliced into thirds and simmered in the juice that was in the can until it was glaze-like.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I wonder if they get their own cakes

If you've been reading this blog for a while then you probably know that I've amassed quite a fine collection of parents through the years.

Well, half of them are having birthdays today!

Happy birthday, Daddy and April! I tried to leave an obnoxious message on your answering machine, but it wouldn't pick up. So you get a not nearly as obnoxious blog post in your honor. And I say "not nearly as obnoxious" because you can't hear me making chicken noises while I type.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Where in the World Wednesday: Florida Keys

It's Classy in Philadelphia's Where in the World Wednesday!

The idea of WITWW is to post a picture of you in someplace in the world... it doesn't have to be somewhere foreign or tropical. Just a picture of you somewhere that you consider traveling. It might even be somewhere in your own hometown! Feel free to get creative and post where you WISH you could travel, old scanned pictures of vacations from years ago or even feel free to repeat a destination with different photos! Get creative.

My sophomore year of high school, I spent spring break in the Florida Keys with my sister, my dad and my grandparents. We stayed at my aunt and uncle's place in Tavernier. My grandparents went down every winter to escape the Michigan weather and keep the house in good shape (read: clean up hurricane damage).

Please do not touch lobster.

Going south, baby. Hey, is that Cuba?

That's a replica of Ernest Hemingway's boat, the Pilar.

Future blogger at work.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Diets for everyone!

see more Lolcats and funny pictures

I'm the one on the right, obviously.

I completely fell off of the exercise wagon the past couple of weeks. The excuses are lame, but suffice it to say that I definitely need to make getting enough sleep a part of my attempt at healthy living.

I did my 30 Day Shred yesterday and today, though, and I am feeling the burn once again! Luckily I didn't gain any weight back during my hiatus. I guess my metabolism has switched on just enough, and I have been making decent food choices.

Someone else in this house has been having a harder time with food lately. It turns out that poor Jasper is insulin-resistant. Our veterinarian strongly urged us to switch him to a canned-only, low-gluten diet. Although I tried this before a couple of years ago with no luck, I'm giving it a try again.

Jasper is not taking as enthusiastic of an approach. I took the dry food dish away last Wednesday, and he has been begging nonstop since then. He flat-out refuses to eat his very favorite canned food, or any canned food for that matter. I even went out and bought some grocery store canned junk--all of which he refuses to even sniff.

We're currently at a stalemate: Jasper begs and cries all day long, and I break down and give him some dry food at night. As hard as it is to listen to his pathetic meowing, I could probably wait it out until he started eating the canned food out of desperation, but it isn't that simple. I have to make sure he eats something, otherwise his blood sugar could drop too low when I give him his insulin. It's a tricky balance.

Jacob and Lola, on the other hand, are perfectly happy to eat like royalty at every meal.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Foodie Friday... I mean, Saturday

It's Foodie Friday! Foodie Friday is my weekly feature that gives you a window into my kitchen. I love to cook, I love to eat, I love to read cookbooks, and I love to inspire people to give vegan food a chance. Thus, Foodie Friday was whipped up and baked to perfection.

I was sitting around sipping my oh-so-delicious homemade almond mocha when I realized that I haven't done a Foodie Friday post in two weeks. Ohnoes! We have some catching up to do. I haven't baked anything in two weeks (I know, WHO IS THIS PERSON I'VE BECOME?), but I have made a few things worth sharing.

Sautéed portobello mushroom sandwiches! The white condiment is Vegenaise mixed with green onions and the chopped up mushroom stems.

Spinach salad with hot "bacon" dressing and pecans. The dressing is chopped Lightlife Smart Bacon, sun-dried tomatoes, and Newman's Own Lighten Up Balsamic Vinaigrette, heated all together in a pan. Jason doesn't usually like spinach salads, but he loved this.

Black bean and corn soup from 1,000 Vegan Recipes. The recipe calls for some of it to be puréed, but I didn't think that was necessary. Another husband-approved dish.

Lemon-kissed linguine with garlicky white bean sauce from 1,000 Vegan Recipes.

Mushrooms stuffed with spinach and walnuts from 1,000 Vegan Recipes.

Sesame kale (recipe courtesy of Maris), coconut jasmine rice and edamame from 1,000 Vegan Recipes, and seasoned bean curd slices (also used here).

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I always have a comment.

Oh hai! I haven't blogged yet this week because I've been too busy window-shopping on Etsy. I thought I'd check in, though, because the lovely Bev gave me an award for being one of her top ten commenters. In return, I have to answer her questions. I suppose I can pull myself away from handmade earrings, canvas purses, and vintage cookware for a moment, so here goes:

1. What is your most embarrassing moment of all time?
I don't know if I have an all time worst, but here's a good one: my junior year of high school, I was in the fall play Harvey (you might have seen the movie with Jimmy Stewart), which is about a man named Elwood Dowd and his friend Harvey, a giant, invisible (except to Elwood) rabbit-like creature. My character, Ethel Chauvenet, had the line, "It's been years since I've seen Elwood!" Instead, I old lady walked to my mark at center stage, turned to my costar, and bellowed out, "It's been years since I've seen Harvey!" My costar was so flabbergasted that she momentarily forgot her next line. We eventually got back on track, but I thought I would never get a speaking part again. I needn't have worried because I was cast again in our spring musical, but my screw up was preserved for all time: that was the night they recorded the show.

2. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Seaweed! Specifically, those lovely little seaweed salads that are served at sushi places. I could eat it at every meal.

3. How old were you when you had your first kiss?
Thirteen. At smart camp. I blogged about it here.

4. What is your browser's home page? I usually glance at the day's headlines and quickly click over to Gmail.

5. What color do you never, ever wear?
Chartreuse. It is really ugly.

6. Are you a nature-lover or a city-slicker?
I grew up in the suburbs, so I've never been far from a strip mall, but I am equally as comfortable digging in the dirt and chasing chickens at my dad and stepmom's house. Big cities make me miss trees.

7. If you were granted 3 wishes, what would they be? (none of that "more wishes" crap!)
I wish that Jasper weren't diabetic. I wish that I lived closer to my family. I wish that I could lose weight faster.

8. Do you have any scars? How'd you get them?
Nothing gnarly. I have cat scratch scars all over my body, mostly on my arms. I have a lone chicken pox scar on my right shin. I have a quarter-inch scar on my right inner thigh from when a piece of broken glass fell out of a picture frame and sliced me.

9. Ever seen a ghost?
No. But I was one in a musical once.

10. What is your dream job?
I'm pretty happy with what I'm doing now. But like some other people have said, it would be nice if I could get no-strings-attached money for blogging. I would also take vegan cookies.

I'm not tagging anyone in particular to do this, but if you want it, take it! The only condition is that you have to leave me a comment. Just one!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Crazy Eights

Brittany tagged me in a game of Crazy 8s:

8 T.V. Shows I Watch
These are just shows that are currently on the four main networks. This doesn't even touch MTV or Food Network or summer season shows. What can I say, my DVR gets around.

1. Castle
2. American Idol
3. The Good Wife
4. Glee
5. Lost
6. FlashForward
7. Bones
8. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

8 Favorite Places to Eat and Drink
To keep things interesting, I'm going to limit this to non-national chain places that I've been to in California. These aren't necessarily my favorite places ever, but they're decent places that I can go currently. In no particular order...

1. Saddle Ranch Chop House, Universal City
2. Rock'n Fish, Los Angeles
3. Café Sierra, Universal City
4. Toshiko Japanese Cuisine, Hanford
5. Shine Café, Morro Bay
6. Taj Palace Cuisine of India, Visalia
7. Red Door Asian Bistro, Fresno
8. Thai Kitchen, Hanford

8 Things I Look Forward To

1. Five weeks from now when Jason is done with his current college class and has time to do fun stuff again.
2. The finale of Lost.
3. Seeing the number on the scale begin with a 1 again. Just a few more pounds!
4. Fitting into my size 14 pants again. And someday, even my size 12s.
5. My sister's wedding next year.
5. Finding and accessorizing bridesmaid dresses.
6. Any opportunity to be fancy.
7. Weekends.
8. Sleep.

8 Things That Happened Yesterday

1. I forced myself out of bed around 5:30 a.m., cleaned up the kitty litter boxes, started a load of Jasper's towels, and made Jason some coffee to take to work with him, as I do every weekday.
2. I worked from 6 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
3. I took Jasper to the vet.
4. I talked on the phone with my grandparents.
5. I wished my sister a happy birthday several times.
6. I took a nap in the evening.
7. Jason turned the air conditioning on while I was asleep.
8. I turned it off as soon as I woke up. It's still too soon!

8 Things I Like About Summer

1. Opening all of the windows and letting the breeze blow through the house.
2. The heat makes my cats even sleepier and lazier than usual.
3. So much sunshine!
4. Summer storms.
5. Fourth of July/our anniversary. We're coming up on five years together, four years married.
6. All the blockbuster action movies come out.
7. My birthday.
8. It is perfectly acceptable to play "Summertime" over and over and over.

8 Things I'm Passionate About

1. My husband
2. My family
3. Animal rights
4. Michigan State University
5. Charity
6. Recycling
7. the state of Michigan
8. My cats

8 Words or Phrases I Use Often

1. The F word. I am probably far more foul-mouthed than most of you think. But I usually only speak that way in front of my husband.
2. What do you want? (to a cat)
3. What are you doing? (to a cat)
4. You Ms. (to my sister)
5. All done! (to Jasper after injecting his insulin)
6. I love you.
7. Have a good day! (to Jason, every morning as he leaves for work)
8. How was your day? (to Jason, every day when he gets home from work)

8 Things I Have Learned From the Past

1. It's usually better to keep your legs closed.
2. Constantly walking into protruding doorknobs will leave nasty bruises on your forearms. See also: I've apparently lost all track of what my arms are doing when I'm walking about.
3. Liquor is quicker and tastes better.
4. Take home half of your dinner.
5. Take home dessert, too.
6. My passion is more important than my paycheck.
7. The coffee shop always smells good while you are there, but when you come home after a shift you will stink.
8. Water is better with a slice of lemon.

8 Places I'd Like to Visit
I'm going to list places to which I have never been. To see where I've already been, read my Where in the World Wednesday archive.

1. Disneyland
2. Hawaii
3. Alcatraz
4. Annapolis, Maryland (where my sister lives)
5. Sweden
6. Las Vegas
7. Williamsburg, Virginia
8. India

8 Things I Currently Want/Need

1. Want: a bowl of the nondairy ice cream in the freezer.
2. Want: a red purse.
3. Need: to vacuum the house.
4. Want: some cute new earrings to wear when I'm feeling fancy.
5. Need: to put away two loads of clean laundry from last weekend and wash all of this week's dirty clothes.
6. Want: some new art to fill up the last remaining blank walls in our house.
7. Need: to convince Jasper to use the litter box again.
8. Want: the scratch down the middle of my cleavage to heal. Thanks for that, Lola.

8 Bloggers I Tag to Play Along
You... times 8!

Friday, May 14, 2010


Twenty-five years ago today, this little shit was born:

She's been copying my outfits and chewing our Barbies' hands off ever since.

Happy birthday, sissy!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

special delivery

Just because he is the best husband ever.

(I'd clone him if I could.)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Et-see all of my money flying out of my wallet

I've recently become enamored with Etsy. I know, I know, I'm way late in hopping on the bandwagon. Whatever!

I bought my first Etsy goodies as gifts for my family last Christmas. I've never bought anything for myself, but that's not to say that I haven't been tempted! I could watch the "recently listed items" ticker all day. And, um, sometimes I do. Lately, I've been populating my favorites with things that I would never buy for myself, but secretly wish that Jason would.

These are some of the sellers whose wares I've purchased and definitely would again (all pictures courtesy of the shops to which they're linked):

The Frantic Meerkat

Cards and magnets perfect for that quirky person in your life who is always ready for a good laugh. Everything is designed using 19th century illustrations and there might be some talking animals involved. I shopped for my stepmom's Christmas gifts here. The Frantic Meerkat tweets and has a blog here.

The Food Snob

Oils, extracts, and herbs that make their grocery store equivalents taste like toilet water and dirt. Yes, really. This shop is currently on hiatus, but I'm anxiously awaiting its return. They also have a blog.


Tasty jams in unique flavors and sweet vegan quick breads. I got a few different jams and breads for my dad and stepmom last Christmas, and when I spent a few days at their house for the holidays, I could not stop shoving the bread in my mouth. AUREVOIRantoine is located in Michigan, so everything was practically fresh out of the oven. This shop is also on hiatus at the moment.

The Soap Seduction

Soap. Soap shaped like food and other non-soap items. Do I need to say anything else? I got my sister a couple of soaps for her birthday, which is on Friday. Get excited! And then go shower with some little hamburgers, a pair of dice, or a ball of yarn. The Soap Seduction has a blog and a Twitter.


Hand-painted pottery that is way cuter than my shot glass. I got my stepmom a couple of cute chicken dishes for her birthday, which is later this month. My dad's birthday is the same day! I know, it's ridiculously cute.

Who else can't get enough of Etsy? Do you have any good or bad stories? Any favorite purchases? Or even better, do you have your own Etsy shop for me to cyber-stalk?

Monday, May 10, 2010

I might still add -Pitt to my last name, though.

If you've been reading this blog for a while or if you know me in real life, then you know that cats are kind of my thing. More specifically, rescuing them is my thing.

Our three cat children were plucked from the brink--Jacob and Jasper from the Virginia Beach SPCA in 2005, and Lola from the mean streets of Massachusetts in 2007. If we weren't renters, we would probably have more by now. As it is, we're only supposed to have two animals--Lola is our "secret" cat. Nobody tell base housing, OK?

Since I can't be the Angelina Jolie of cats at this point in my life, I do the best that I can to scoop up the wanderers I find and get them someplace safe, whether it be back home where they belong or the local animal shelter where they have a chance of finding a family.

One of the first things that I did when I got to California was rescue a lost kitten, and since then there has been a steady stream of whiskered faces for me to fret over.

It has been a while since I've had a success story, and actually, our friend Boots went missing soon after I was told to stop bringing her back to her own house when I found her out wandering. Stupid people.

I've been on the lookout for Boots ever since, but I don't hold out much hope. If she were able to come home, she would have already. I fear the worst.

I've spotted other cats in my base travels, though, including one lovely, cuddly boy who just barely slipped through my fingers a couple of months ago. When I first met him, I had to stop my car in the middle of the street to avoid hitting him, as he was just standing there looking around. He walked over to the sidewalk, but I could see that he was hobbling. I pulled my car over to the side and crossed the street to him, cooing and calling to him all the while. To my surprise, he came over to me and began rolling around on my feet. I could see that he had some scrapes on his body and was favoring one leg, so I picked him up and he just sat there in my arms. A man walking by confirmed that he was nobody's, a "neighborhood cat," as he put it. That gave me license to take responsibility. I decided to take him home for the night and take him to the base vet or animal control the next morning. Unfortunately, he had other ideas. I carried him over to the car without any protestation, but when I opened the door and went to put him in, he launched himself out of my grip and ran for his life. Although I drove through the nearby streets for a good while, I couldn't find him. I ended up going home and crying because I thought I'd left a poor, maimed cat to waste away out in the cold.

I learned my lesson that day: always keep a carrier in the car! And I have ever since.

I thought I might need to use it today, because I saw him again, ambling along next to the barbed wire fence that goes around the base perimeter. By the time I got the car turned around, he was gone, but I have hope--his injuries didn't do him in. I made several sweeps of the area, but didn't spot him again.

Later on during my afternoon errand running, I spotted another cat beside a building who looked strikingly like Darcie, except skinny and covered in mats. Of course, I had to pull over and make chase. And chase I did, because he was not having any of this "here, pretty kitty" business. I ended up losing him in an impassable patch of bushes.

So, while I didn't catch anyone today, I'm not feeling too badly. I know where to look next time I'm on the prowl, and I'm not giving up on these cats. They don't deserve a life on the street, and it's my mission to make sure that they don't have to suffer because of some irresponsible human.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Operation Blubber Buster: One month in

I mentioned yesterday that I'm cracking down on what I eat in order to reset my brain. I know, it's a bit of a reversal from what I said previously, that I'm not going to stop with the food. I still stand by that--I'm not going to swear off eating tasty things (not forever, anyway). But I do need to get serious for a little while if anything is ever going to change weight-wise. I even turned down Jason's offer to take me to the Indian buffet for lunch today. (Darling man, he doesn't really understand what is going on with me.)

I started exercising a month ago. After initially (and inexplicably) gaining four pounds that first week, I'm now four pounds down from my starting weight. So I guess I've worked off eight pounds total, but let's pretend that uptick didn't happen and just call it four.

It's hard to say for sure, though, because my scale is schizophrenic. I weighed myself yesterday and was pretty pleased with what I saw, so I weighed myself again. Apparently I gain weight just by breathing, because I was suddenly two pounds heavier. The same thing happened this morning, with a one pound increase. This happens all the time, too, even when I'm not shifting my weight around and curling my toes over the edge of the scale the first time I weigh in. I gained five pounds when I had one bowl of chili for dinner the other night.

What the fruitcake? If my scale weren't on the expensive side, I'd leave it out in the yard and wait for the neighborhood urchins to walk away with it.

Functioning scale or not, I have a long way to go. These are some of the unflattering fat pictures from our wedding that I never thought I would allow to see the light of day--and that was two and a half years and 20+ pounds ago. I wish I still looked like that--and these are pretty bad! (Click to enlarge.)

Those jeans don't fit anymore and my double chin is way bigger now.

Double the chin, and enough white girl booty to make Sir Mix-A-Lot proud.

Arm blubber. Gross.

Back fat. Also gross.

Baaaaack faaaaaat. It looks like an oozing tube of crescent roll dough.

I know, I'm being unnecessarily self-critical. But photos like these are what force me to be realistic about what I look like. Being mean to myself keeps me going. Nobody loses weight by making excuses about bad lighting and unfortunate angles.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Foodie Friday: At least the blueberries were healthy

It's Foodie Friday! Foodie Friday is my weekly feature that gives you a window into my kitchen. I love to cook, I love to eat, I love to read cookbooks, and I love to inspire people to give vegan food a chance. Thus, Foodie Friday was whipped up and baked to perfection.

I've been trying really hard to eat healthfully and crack down on my portion size this week. Overeating is one of the reasons that I've put on so much weight. I desperately need to retrain my brain's "full" switch. I have been very tough on myself all week. I'm not going to lie: it's hard. Late last night Jason ate an entire box of macaroni and cheese for dinner and it was all I could do to stop myself from licking the pot. The old me could have polished off a whole box of my own. I'm not going to allow the new me to do things like that. And while I force my brain to reset, I'm not going to tempt myself with "just one bite" either. It's too easy for me to fall down the rabbit hole. I have to teach myself some discipline the hard way before I attempt moderation.

And now that I've said that I'm going to look like a total liar when I tell you what I made last weekend.

On Sunday I got up before Jason, got some things done, and baked scones for breakfast.

Blueberry-almond scones from 1,000 Vegan Recipes.

When His Highness finally got out of bed, he didn't want blueberry scones. He wanted blueberry pancakes. Because I am The Best Wife Ever, I obliged.

Those are Morningstar Farms Veggie Sausage Patties.

Yeah, I started my crackdown after the blueberry-fest.

I only made one other meal worth talking about this week: white bean chicken chili. I used this recipe as a starting point, and added a chopped yellow onion, basil, and chili powder to the mix. I used chopped Morningstar Farms Chik'n Strips for the "chicken." We both loved it and I'll definitely be making it again.

Losing this weight would be so much easier if I were a rubbish cook.