Friday, October 29, 2010

Foodie Friday: If you've never cooked with arborio rice, you must start.

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.
After making a "springtime" recipe two weeks ago, I finally embraced fall and made a savory roasted winter squash risotto from 1,000 Vegan Recipes that was totally worth the 45 minutes I spent doing battle with a kabocha squash. When I read the word risotto, in my mind I pronounce it riz-AH-to like Gordon Ramsay.

After my trip to Whole Foods last week I put my stash of Daiya cheddar style shreds to use with a plate of delicious nachos:

While Jason was gone, I took the opportunity to make something he probably wouldn't like--brussels sprouts. More specifically, brussels sprouts with shallots and dillweed from 1,000 Vegan Recipes. I am a fairly recent convert to them myself, having had them for the first time when I was home last Christmas, but I've found that I really enjoy them when they're done correctly. I also wanted to make that recipe because there's an insult built into the title.

The biscuits were inspired by Anika's Bisquick giveaway, which I didn't win. But since I made myself biscuits anyway, I still feel like I won. I rounded out the plate with some of the roasted kabocha squash left over from my risotto and some Gardein BBQ skewers. And yes, that's white wine in a juice glass. Sombody get me some wine glasses!

This week I've made things that catered more to Jason's tastes, like Sicilian penne with tomatoes and eggplant from 1,000 Vegan Recipes:

...and a seitan stir fry with mushrooms, pea pods, and green pepper:

Last night we had rice and pea soup (or risi e pisi if you're Italian) from 1,000 Vegan Recipes. This creamy, rich, risotto-like soup was just the thing for poor sick Jason's scratchy throat. I threw in a Daiya cheddar grilled cheese slathered with tomato paste for good measure:

Behold the cheesiness.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Matron of Moscato

I'm relaxing on my couch with a glass of my Middle Sister moscato--just the thing for a mellow evening. This week I've been dealing with the return of the base housing ant army and a sicky-boy husband, so I am very glad that tomorrow is Friday. Jason is in such bad shape that he came home today on doctor's orders and is staying home tomorrow, too.

But more than anything else, I've been thinking about my sister's wedding. I am the matron of honor and I might be more excited for it than I was for my own.

This is what I'll be wearing on June 25, 2011:

I ordered the shoes yesterday, and I'll be ordering the dress as soon as I can get measured for it.
My sissy was my maid of honor (and my only bridesmaid), and I can't wait to return the favor. I just hope I look as cute in her dress of choice as she did in mine.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Here's the outcome of our Pontiac's brief relationship with a truck on Tuesday.

See? Not that bad. A love tap, is all.

What happened with the car was that I was trying to pull out of my parking space at Trader Joe's--one of those angled spots. While I was in the store a giant Escalade parked to my right, completely blocking my view of any cars coming down that row and those cars' view of me. So as I was pulling out, I was trying to be extra cautious in case anyone came whipping around the corner. Unfortunately, I don't drive Jason's car very often, so I misjudged how much room I had behind me, and backed smack into the protruding bumper of an old truck in the row behind me.

All's well that ends well, though. If a dented car is the worst thing that's going to happen to me this week, that's not that bad of a week.

Jason wasn't mad. Actually, he was so worried that I thought he was mad that he called me again a couple hours after we talked about it just to tell me one more time that he wasn't mad.

My husband is a sweetheart. And today was his 29th birthday. I would have liked to have spent it with him, but he said he got a free breakfast at Denny's and took his nephews to the toy store, so he had a good day. I don't know if I can improve upon free breakfast and toys!

Happy birthday, sweetheart. The next two days can't go by fast enough.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The wine came after the car crash, I promise.

What did you all do today?

Wait, wait, I'll go first.

So far today I have gotten a lost cat back to her people, found out that Jasper does not have cancer, had a CT scan of my midsection, and backed my husband's car into a truck. In that order, and interwoven with a full day of work.

And now I'm drinking my rabbit wine out of a juice glass because why the hell not? The bottle had a screw top so it was easy enough for me to open without Jason's skills.

I haven't told Jason about the car yet, but I'm going to. He just hasn't called me yet tonight. It's not that bad, but I feel like a moron. Luckily the truck was unharmed and its owner seemed to be unconcerned.

But let's go back to the beginning. For the past few nights, I've been visited by a sweet stripey brown cat.

I was worried that he wasn't seeming to go home, so last night I brought him inside. After a sleepless night because of our cats' constant hissing and growling in his general direction, I took him over to the base vet clinic to see if they knew who he was. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that he was microchipped, so they took him off my hands to hold on to him until his people could come get him. Our cats were mighty happy to see me come home with an empty carrier.

Jasper was just glad that I wasn't trying to put him in it. He was originally scheduled to have his surgery drain tube removed today, but I had to rush him to the vet yesterday instead because he pulled half of it out on Sunday night. I've been looking for the little tube piece for two days, and I still haven't found it. I want to think that he didn't eat it, but this is also the cat who licks plastic bags for fun.

I talked to our vet again today (we're pretty much BFFs now), and he said that the biopsy of Jasper's lump came back totally cancer-free! It was large, but all that was in it was inflamed, infected tissue. Now it's all gone and once his leg is healed he'll be as good as new.

Are nachos and white wine a good pairing? Do I care if they're not?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I don't necessarily intend to eat them all at the same time.

This morning I sent Jason off for a week in Massachusetts with his family, whom he hasn't seen since he went home for his grandmother's funeral last October.

I felt quite blue after leaving him at the airport, but I decided to make the best of being in Fresno and went to Whole Foods. After spending more than my weight on various crunchy Earth people wares (Vegan vitamins! Seitan! Tempeh! Daiya nondairy cheese! Gelatin-free marshmallows!) and a bottle of white wine with a rabbit on the label, I felt 100% better. The checkout girl even thanked me for bringing my own bags. I thanked her for thanking me, because in the six or so years that I've been using cloth bags for my grocery shopping, not once has anyone thanked me. She made my day!

Jasper's surgery on Friday went well. He came home that evening and has been taking it easy all weekend. He has some gnarly stitches and a tube protruding from the incision site to drain the wound. It all looks pretty repulsive--like he got caught in a steel-jaw trap or something (picture here, but be warned: it is not for the faint of heart). The drain tube will be removed in the next couple of days, and the stitches will come out in two weeks. Until then, I have to keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn't chew them to smithereens. He's uncomfortable, but in good spirits.

The vet bill was $596.95. Jasper's worth more to me than anything else that amount could have bought.

I'm going to try to make the most of my week as a pseudo-single lady. Right now, for example, I have five episodes of Castle to catch up on. Nathan Fillion, wah wah wee wah!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Foodie Friday: Pasta and Brownies, squared

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.
This week I made pasta twice and brownies twice.

First up, my STAB Rigatoni. That is, sun-dried tomato, artichoke, and broccoli. It's the same idea as my Sun-dried Tomato and Olive Strozzapreti: you cook and drain the pasta, mix in a jar of oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, and add whatever else you have on hand. For me, that happened to be a can of artichoke hearts, which I drained and quartered, and some frozen broccoli, which I steamed in the microwave.

For last night's dinner, I cracked open the good ol' 1,000 Vegan Recipes and picked out springtime rice noodles with coconut crème. I know, I'm such a rebel making a recipe with "springtime" in the title while everyone else is playing with pumpkin guts.

Finally, we have brownies pan uno and brownies pan dos. I wanted to surprise Jason with a treat one night, so I decided to give chocolatey peanut butter brownies from Vegan Planet a whirl. I botched the first batch because I didn't use the right kind of peanut butter. It calls for "natural" peanut butter, which I guess means no added oil, and then you add oil into it to make it smooth enough to mix into the brownie batter. Instead I used my oil-added Smart Balance peanut butter in addition to the oil called for in the recipe, resulting in something that resembled the Gulf of Mexico, BP-style. I tried again tonight, omitting the extra oil, and mostly redeemed myself.

Ok, I have to stop here. Craig Ferguson has people in a horse costume dancing around and I'm dying laughing.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Next on the surgery roster is...

...Poor Jasper, who had a bad reaction to the feline leukemia vaccine he had last month, and now needs to have the resulting lump removed from the injection site on his leg.

As if twice-daily insulin injections for diabetes, sunburn, prescribed starvation, a bladder infection, explosive diarrhea, food allergies, rugburn, and a broken claw haven't been enough... And that's just in the past two and a half years (he's five).

We're pretty frustrated. Did Jasper, the sweetest cat you could possibly imagine, do something bad in another life to be dealt the crap hand in this one? Eternally bad karma or not, we have to get the lump removed and biopsied. It'll cost a few hundred dollars, but leaving it on him is not an option, since it could be cancerous.

Jason will drop him off at the vet in the morning, and then we wait... and wait... and wait for them to call us to pick him up.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Although there is a lot that I dislike about living in Lemoore, one thing that I do like is living near a drive-in movie theatre. They show a double feature every night and it only costs $8 per car. That's right: an entire car-full of people (and homemade snacks) can see two movies for what one single ticket would cost at many regular theatres.

Last night we packed up some drinks and a batch of chocolate chip cookies, picked up some sandwiches from Subway, and took our little picnic down the road to the Kings Drive-In in Hanford. We saw The Town and Resident Evil: Afterlife.

Bem Affleck is in fine form in The Town, which he also directed. And by fine, I mean check out those washboard abs! There's just something about a Boston boy (see also: my infatuation with Jason and New Kids on the Block), so I knew going in that I would like this movie. I also learned something useful for my potential future career as a bank robber: no one will recognize you if you wear a uniform for a profession that isn't yours.

I've watched Jason play all the way through two of the newer Resident Evil video games and dabble in a few of the older ones, and I've seen bits and pieces of the other Resident Evil movies. I'm always up for a zombie movie, so having Afterlife as the closing pitcher last night was icing on the cake. Plus, it was fun seeing some of the video game characters fleshed out (literally).

You can find a listing of drive-ins by state here. The site seems to not have been updated for a few years, so some of the theatres listed there might have closed down, but if you can find a theatre near you that is still open, it's a fun and cheap thing to do with your sweetheart, your kids, or a group of friends. Go now before this part of American culture is gone!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Foodie Friday: If the commissary doesn't have it, I'll probably want to cook with it.

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.
It has been three weeks since my last food post and I only have two things to share... eek! But, between the parental visit and my arm doctoring, I've just been focusing on other things.

As you already know, I love Aarti Sequeira. So when she made an already-vegan coconut toffee on her show, I knew I had to try it out.

The recipe calls for unsweetened coconut, but our commissary doesn't have it, so I had to use the sweetened variety. As a result, my toffee came out way too sweet. But! I dipped the remaining pieces of toffee in some melted down semisweet chocolate chips and allowed the chocolate to harden, and that cut the sweetness to a manageable level. It made a tasty snack for the drive down to Disneyland.

Although our weather is supposed to be back up into the 80s this weekend, we had a couple of cool days during the week. I took the opportunity to turn off the air conditioner and try a new soup recipe, greens and beans soup from 1,000 Vegan Recipes.

It's a tasty medley of flavorful broth, fresh greens, and hearty kidney and white beans. The recipe calls for Swiss chard and kale, but I used all kale because (surprise!) the commissary doesn't have chard.

Cue my stepmom e-mailing me to tell me that they have SO. MUCH. CHARD! left over from their garden this summer.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

the results of going under the knife

I got my stitches out on Monday, sans any further loss of consciousness (go me!), and I removed the last of the bandages today, so here's photographic evidence of the whole ordeal:

The offending spot, post-spot removal bloody mummy bandages, and what it looks like today.

All that's left is some funky bruising and some flaky skin at the incision site. My doctor said that it looks great and that the scarring will be minimal. Hooray!

Tonight we're preparing for a basewide power outage that's happening tomorrow. Everything will be closed, so Jason has the day off, as do all of the other sailors. In my mind it's going to be like sailors gone wild around here.

Since I won't be able to work during the day, I'm planning to get up at 4 a.m. to squeeze in an hour of work before we lose the juice at 5:30. I know, I'm so dedicated. After that, though, I'm probably going to go straight back to bed.

So far, my list of preparations includes getting my car out of the garage so I don't get stuck, eating up the refrigerated foods, unplugging the appliances in case of a surge, and charging my cell phone and iPod. I can't think of anything else. I have a stack of magazines to read and an off-base doctor's appointment in the afternoon, so I should be able to keep myself occupied. I just hope the power comes back on before TV time so I don't miss anything. I have my priorities!

I've made some progress in my continuing quest to find food items that inadvertently resemble every part of the human anatomy (see previously my mushroom, my carrot, and my chip) The other day I found... bun boobs!

I made Jason a sandwich with them.

They're no Grilled Cheezus, though: