Friday, July 30, 2010

Foodie Friday: Maybe next time we'll get a corkscrew.

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 didn't do a ton of fancy cooking this week. In fact, tonight we got Vietnamese takeout from Saigon Pho and Rolls, which we washed down with Amstel Lights and a bottle of white wine (Riesling that my sister picked out for me over the phone, infant wine drinker that I am). In a feat of brute strength, Jason opened the wine with a screw and a hammer. Even Chuck Norris was impressed.

Last night, though, I made egg-free quiche again. I used the same recipe as last time, minus the bonus Smart Bacon because the commissary was all out. We finished this bad boy off at lunchtime today.

Earlier this week, I made the requisite 1,000 Vegan Recipes dinner. This time, I picked pineapple-glazed tempeh and sweet potatoes. The recipe didn't actually call for the grilled pineapple rings--that was my genius addition. This was delicious and very filling!

I love tempeh, but I don't get to cook with it very often these days because the closest place I've found that carries it is in Fresno, 45 minutes away. We're not usually in grocery-shopping mode when we go there, and I can't exactly keep a bag of food in the car in triple-digit temperatures. Add this to the list of things I miss about Massachusetts: tempeh on the shelves at the local grocery store.

Come back next Friday--we'll have chocolate chip cookies!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Some of us aren't ready to get rid of the ugly couch.

I took all of these today.

So far Lola is the only cat who will sit on the new couch. 'Fraidy boys Jacob and Jasper are still keeping their distance. That also means that it hasn't been clawed upon yet. I hope to keep it that way.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

That hat is amazing and I will not believe otherwise.

Do you guys know what day it is? Do you? Do you?

For all you smart asses who rolled your eyes and muttered, "Wednesday, July 28th," well, you're right. But do you know what day yesterday was? "Tuesday, July 27." Right again. But what else was it? Huh? Got you there, didn't I?

It was my mom's birthday!

I dressed fancy for the occasion.

Ok, so that picture's actually twelve years old, but I do still have that hat, and I wore that pearl necklace at my wedding.

You're probably wondering what earth-shattering event made me miss posting on the actual day. Well, last week we bought a new couch. That's right, no more ugly couch!

We were told that it wouldn't be in for two weeks, but the furniture store called yesterday wanting to schedule the delivery... except they could only do it today. Otherwise, it could only be delivered... not soon.

Cue me panicking because I. Wasn't. Ready! The old couch was still sitting where the new one needed to go. I had five boxes of Goodwill donations stacked in the hallway in the way of everything. And I needed. To. Vacuum!

I know, at that point I got a little ridiculous. The vacuuming probably could have waited.

As soon as Jason got home, we made the 35-minute trek to the nearest Goodwill to hand over the goods. That done, my entire process got derailed when we came down with a case of hungry husband. What was I to do? I couldn't tell the dear man that we didn't have time to go to Olive Garden when he's going to be spending the next month sleeping in a coffin-bunk and eating boat food.

We pushed the old couch to the side when we got home last night, and I took care of the vacuuming this afternoon before the delivery truck came. On a side note, having furniture delivered to a military base can be a huge hassle, and less-than-bright truck drivers do not expedite the process.

But, all's well that ends well.



Jason is supposedly giving the ugly couch away to a bachelor coworker. In the meantime, we have two.

Maybe we should keep it this way, though. My mom and stepdad are coming to visit in September (yay!), and that way we'd have a seat for every butt--including the furry ones.

But if you smell flames from the west, don't worry. We Spartans are experts.

Monday, July 26, 2010


No, not the movie (which I love--Gerard Butler, how you doin'?).

Rather, that's the number of posts here on the old Heidi Renée blog.

It's such a grand occasion that Jason brought me flowers.

Ok, not really. He doesn't even read my blog, but he does like it when I post nice things about him on the internets. I love you, grumpypants!

I also treated myself to a new look around here--a nice, plain Blogger default design. There were several technical flaws with my previous (paid for) design, and the designer has been ignoring my requests for help since April. I know there are others in the blogging community who've hired this designer to do custom work and had a good experience, but that was not the case for me ordering one of her premades. Actually, the code she sent me was bad from the very beginning--it included a broken image link that only got fixed because I took it out myself, leaving me with an incomplete design. It's a good thing I only spent $20 on that thing. Poor, poor customer service.

Now that I'm back to basics, I should probably see about getting a decent header for myself, huh? If anyone has any recommendations (or would like to volunteer their services) I am all ears. Don't make me design my own header, you guys.

Anyboringblogdesign, happy 300 posts to me! If you sniff really hard, you can almost smell my lovely husband flowers.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Foodie Friday: I didn't like half of these recipes

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.

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, a dish doesn't turn out looking pretty. Such was the case with the Wild West pasta bake from 1,000 Vegan Recipes. See for yourself:

The cookbook is all text--no pictures--so I never know what the recipe is intended to look like. That is both good and bad. Good, because I don't have to try to live up to some impossible studio-taken, gussied up photographic presentation. Bad, because some recipes you really ought to see before you jump right into making them. In the case of the Wild West pasta bake, I don't think any food stylist could have made this look good, because it isn't good. Actually, it was kind of gross.

This one, on the other hand, came out looking lovely:

Fusilli with roasted asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, and pine nuts from Vegan Planet

The rest of my noms are from 1,000 Vegan Recipes:

PB&J muffins. Yummmmm.

Thai kale with coconut milk

Roasted baby potatoes with spinach, olives, and grape tomatoes. This recipe was kind of a stretch. I guess it's hard to come up with 1,000 recipes, even if you do write cookbooks for a living. It ended up being good, but I still don't think the ingredients really go together.

Double-sesame tofu with tahini sauce. The tofu was fine, but the sauce was waaaay too salty. I put this on my colorful plate because it looked so boring.

Maybe I'll have better food luck next week.

P.S. Happy birthday to my brother-in-law to be!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Friendly Cat

A week and a half ago my dad and stepmom had to euthanize another cat. Our twinkle girl, Casper. Her chest cavity was full of cancer and she could no longer breathe well.

She showed up at their house eight years ago, and what else was there to do but keep her? She was the sweetest, simplest little cat you'll ever meet. She had a sense of innocence that made it impossible to be unhappy with her. And yes, those eyes.

Her head was permanently tilted, giving her a forever questioning expression. We don't know for sure what sort of injury or illness she had to make her that way, but she didn't let her tiltiness stop her. If she lost her balance and tipped over, she just got right back up.

She wasn't the brightest cat in the world, but her perpetual confusion only added to her charm. If she had been a cartoon character, she would have been drawn with a question mark thought bubble--and that would have represented what was going on in her mind pretty accurately.

Over the past couple of years, she developed nasal polyps that caused her to snort and wheeze. You could hear her coming from the next room, grunting and tilting all the way. Still, every day was Casper's great adventure--discovering things all over again that she'd rediscovered and reforgotten just the day before, ad infinitum.

My lady. I knew when I said goodbye to her last Christmas that it could very well be the last time I saw her. I've gotten into the habit of making those little moments count now that my trips to Michigan are so few and far between. Still, I'm sure that the next time I'm home I'll have to gently remind myself that I don't need to go find out which room Casper's lost in.

The next time I see a falling star, I'll know it was my twinkle girl, saying her goodbye.

Monday, July 19, 2010

I'd like to see Bob D. in that uniform, steam-mopping my floor.

Good Monday evening, chipmunks. I promised I'd be back, and here I am. We had a nice weekend of nothing in particular and it was lovely.

Friday we returned to P.F. Chang's in Fresno just in time to catch the tail end of their cheap drinks and appetizers happy hour, and the masses rejoiced at the thought of $2 draft PBRs and spring rolls hot from the fryer. What can I say? We're classy like that.

We eventually managed to roll ourselves out the door, at which time Jason thought going pants shopping was a good idea. Now, I only go pants shopping after fasting for two weeks, but to each his own, right? So we hit Macy's and Old Navy and now he has enough cargo shorts for the rest of his life.

After that, we headed to the cheap seats movie theater in Clovis, which just so happened to be the only place left in the valley showing Iron Man 2, which we had been on a mission to see after watching the first Iron Man last Monday. We spent $3 each on tickets, then about five times that on snacks. In case anyone wasn't aware, I have the hot pants for Robert Downey, Jr. I don't care what he's wearing, be it a robot suit, tuxedo, period costume à la Sherlock Holmes, or a carefully-placed pillow. It's all good, I love my Bob D.

Saturday we bought a sweet steam mop online (I'm SO excited for it to get here, am I lame or what?) and got the grocery shopping out of the way. We spent the evening sitting around at home, and it wasn't until after 9 that we realized that we'd forgotten to have dinner. I decided to play a game of bartender with myself instead, and all I can say about it is that you should really invite me to your parties. During my epic self-serve bar, I rewatched the first episode of Chasing Mummies on the History Channel. If you get History, I highly recommend this show, because mummies are pretty cool, but also because it is unintentionally hilarious. You never know what will come out of the mouth of Egypt's mummy boss Zahi Hawass, but I guarantee it will make you laugh. It's on Wednesdays at 10 p.m., so set your DVRs.

On Sunday we played uniform dress up, and I washed about 500 loads of uniforms. The new blue camis (NWUs in milspeak) have to be turned inside out before they're washed and must be dried on the lowest possible heat setting, or they'll fade out and be completely ruined. (On the upside, though, they do not have to be ironed.) Uniforms cost hundreds of dollars from top to bottom, so that was some high-stakes laundry. I must have done it right, though, because they all passed the Jason inspection and he headed off to work this morning looking quite military. I'd drop and give him twenty if he told me to.

In the meantime, I'll be sitting at the window waiting for UPS to bring me my steam mop.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

there are spiders in this one

Hidey-ho, blog friends. Aunt Flo's in town and I've been feeling particularly crappy and sluggish all week.

Never fear, though, because I took a rally nap this afternoon and got to work putting together a dinner of champions, which is baking and boiling to perfection right this moment. Consequently, it's about as hot in the kitchen as it is outside, so I took advantage of the momentary cooking lull to escape to the living room.

I've been dealing with some real life stuff this week, too, so forgive me, my loves, if I've been distant. I promise I'll be back and better than ever soon.

For now, meet my friend who has taken up residence on the wheel of the recycling bin:

What the heck is that white cone ball thing? And please don't tell me it's holding spider eggs, because I do not need a bunch of baby spiders being born in my garage.

Just for fun, here's a game of "how many spiders are in this web":

That's all for tonight. I'm going to crack open a beer and have my dinner.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Foodie Friday: Tuna noodle, is that you?

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.

Sometimes I make a random vegan recipe and it takes me back to my animal-eating days. There are tastes and textures that you never forget, and my mom's tuna noodle salad is one of those things that has stayed with me. So although the tahini rotini with broccoli and lemon from Vegan Planet has only noodles in common with my mom's salad, it took me back to those elementary school weeknight dinners served from a large Tupperware bowl.

I have to admit that I wasn't crazy about tahini rotini when we had it for dinner. It was just kind of bland and blah. When I had the leftovers for lunch the next day it was much more interesting--sitting in the fridge overnight somehow made the tahini sauce thicken up enough to resemble canned tuna mixed with mayonnaise! It even sort of looked like tuna noodle!

Freshly made tahini rotini on the left, with orange-dressed asparagus from 1,000 Vegan Recipes, and day-after "tuna noodle" rotini on the right.

More 1,000 Vegan Recipes fare:

Orecchiette with rapini, a tower of johnnycakes. I think orecchiette is my new favorite pasta shape. It means "little ears!"

Italian truck-stop artichoke risotto and lemon-glazed baby carrots with cranberries. Also, I love my kitty plate.

These were my own creations:

A steak sandwich on French bread: Trader Joe's vegan steak strips sautéed with onions and garlic, topped with dijon mustard. This had everything you'd want in a steak sandwich, without the agonized slaughterhouse mooing and cholesterol. Brownie sundae: So Delicious Creamy Vanilla soy ice cream topped with crumbled chocolate coconut brownie and diced World Market dried chili mango strips and drizzled with Torani pomegranate syrup.

For dinner last night, we had teriyaki tempeh with brown rice (from 1,000 Vegan Recipes) and red bell pepper strips sautéed in toasted sesame oil:

I've now made 65 of the 1,000 recipes! My goal is to make it to 100 by the end of this year. If Jason didn't ask for repeats so often, I'd be progressing a lot faster, but I'm just happy to be making healthy, delicious food that he wants to eat over and over again.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

It's starting to look like a triple rainbow!

So, our anniversary celebration. It was... OK, overall. We had a great dinner at P.F. Chang's. It was the first time either of us had been there, and I don't know what took us so long, because it was delicious!

As for the baseball game and fireworks, well, that didn't happen. Jason wasn't feeling well, so we went home. We left after the national anthem and didn't even see the first pitch.

At least we got a cute commemorative photo.

Yeah, like us.

But hey! Double rainbow! All the way across the sky!

So intense! I can't even capture it on my camera!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fourthiversary 2010

It's the fourth of July! It's our anniversary! It's Fourthiversary time!

You might recall that I was borderline apoplectic about what to get Jason as an anniversary gift. Well, never fear, I came through as I always do and threw together a collection of things to make his little geeky punk heart go pitter-pat.

First, a few pairs of his most favorite ridiculously expensive underwear, Nautica boxer briefs. I took that picture of him a few minutes ago. Swearsies.

Next, the new Dropkick Murphys album, Live on Lansdowne, since we can't go to any of their West Coast shows this summer.

And finally, I broke down and got him a new Playstation 3 game, God of War III. I know I'm thrilled about it. Or something.

And, um, stop looking at that model's package, because I have something way better.


Jason came through in a major way this Fourthiversary, because when I woke up this morning, he presented me with these:
Oh em gee. He was listening all of those times I sat next to him on the couch rattling off a list of all of the sugarplums that dance in my head! Best. Husband. Ever!

Later on we're going to dinner at P.F. Chang's, then to Chukchansi Park to see the Fresno Grizzlies minor league baseball game and the post-game fireworks.

And with that, I have to go get gorgeous.

Happy 4th, everyone!