Monday, February 28, 2011

The Daily Navy Wife, Volume 5

While Jason is out to sea, I frequently e-mail him pictures of home. More specifically, I send him pictures of myself--one every day, without fail. I want him to have a daily reminder that I love him, that I think about him constantly, and that he is my reason to smile.
Here are the wives of February, in which I may or may not be wearing pajamas.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Foodie Friday: A Family Affair

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.
You got a peek at one meal that I had with my sister last Friday, and this week I have a few more to share.

I continued my trend of making Aarti Sequeira recipes, tossing together a batch of the massaged kale salad that I love so much... and now sisterpants does too. I also tried out Aarti's pumpkin oatmeal for breakfast one morning. The base of the recipe is already vegan, which made it simple for me, and only requires basic pantry ingredients, which means it is cheap. It was a huge hit with both of us--the pumpkin and spices gave it that little something extra that takes breakfast from a necessity to a pleasure. And my goodness, did it ever smell good.

For our last dinner together Tuesday night, I made a pot of hot (in both temperature and flavor) soup to sooth our sore throats with warmth and clear our stuffy noses with spice--curried pumpkin soup from 1,000 Vegan Recipes. Coconut milk makes it oh-so-smooth, and fresh ginger and curry powder give it spice. Heaven in a bowl, sick or otherwise! I had mine with parsley and pita bread, and she added some pepitas to her bowl for a bit of crunch.

For a sweet treat one night, we made strawberries dipped in chocolate from Party Vegan. I added coconut to a few for a little variety. They didn't last very long.

Be sure to come back next Friday--we're going to talk about waffles!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I'm driving a plank.

Despite us both being sick for most of her visit, I had a great week with my sister, laughing until we cried coughed and having the kinds of times that become inside jokes (like the one in the subject line). I had tears in my eyes as I dropped her off and drove away from the airport this morning.

I feel like I haven't had nearly enough time with her. I miss how it used to be, always having her in the next bedroom and doing everything together. It makes me sad that it'll never be that way again. I guess that's part of growing up.

Her leaving today reminded me of that other separation in my life right now. While I do not mind being alone--and truly enjoy it most of the time--it stings a bit to go back to being on my own after having my very best partner in crime by my side for a whole week. Jason has been gone for 87 days. That's 7,516,800 seconds during which I haven't heard his voice or seen his face. Yes, I get e-mails regularly, and I am very grateful for that. I know that not everyone gets that privilege. But still, it's hard, and I was feeling sorry for myself.

When I stumbled across this video tonight, it reminded me that I can do this. I can endure. This song carried me through a rough patch a few years ago when some haters called my fitness as a wife into question (which was seriously uncalled for and had more to do with their prejudices than it had to do with me). Although this version is instrumental, the lyrics still ring as true to me now as they did back then.

If anyone ever surprises me with a string quartet, I want them to play this.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

No doubt a reaction to Big Ten officiating

If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, then you are already aware that I am a massive fan of Michigan State and of college sports in general. So when my sister and I watched the MSU basketball game earlier tonight, I was thrilled for the much-needed win, and I squealed with glee to see my boyfriend Tom Izzo in this ESPN ad:

And then I got to the part at 15 seconds in.

This is Bo Ryan, coach of the Wisconsin men's basketball team:

This is a spider monkey:

I'm just saying.

We've been laughing about it all night.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Foodie Friday: I'm writing this with my pinkies extended

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.
As part of my Christmas gift, my dad and stepmom sent me a box of gourmet food goodies from I knew right away that I would save many of their interesting selections, like vegetarian caviar, for an occasion when I could share them with someone who could appreciate them with me. So, now that my sister is here, we're eating like vegan royalty, and not only do I have someone to eat with me, I also have someone to cook with me. (Verdict on the caviar: the sturgeon flavor is a touch too fishy for me, but the spicy chili variety is sublime.)

Tonight we decided to use the preserved lemons. I had never used preserved lemons before, so I fired up the search engine and picked out two recipes that called for them: Pine Nut and Preserved Lemon Couscous (in which we also used another part of the gift, whole wheat couscous) and Roasted Zucchini with Preserved Lemon and Oregano. I added a Gardein Chick'n Scallopini to round out the plate. It was a light, lemony, and satisfying meal.

For dessert, my sister selected pastry-wrapped bananas foster from Party Vegan. I'll be honest, I probably never would have made this on my own, but now that I know how delicious bananas foster is, I'll certainly be making it again. The brown sugar and rum glaze added a decidedly adult flavor, and some nondairy vanilla ice cream gave just the right amount of creaminess.

Mmmm, I should have visitors every week.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

he came through

I wasn't sure what to expect on Valentine's Day. Jason is riding the waves in the Arabian Sea, and sappy cards and tooth-rotting treats aren't exactly the foremost things on his mind.

Nevertheless, he apprised me that I should be on the lookout for a surprise to appear on our doorstep on Monday. As a result, I spent more time gazing out the window willing the delivery truck to roll up than I did doing my job. (Oops.)

The hours ticked by and by 3 o'clock, I was convinced that I was that unlucky girl whose bouquet had toppled off the back of the flower truck, never to be seen again. But just when I had lost all hope, I heard the screech of the screen door opening and the thump of a box against the front door. I ran as fast as my sock feet could slip across the vinyl flooring to snatch my prize.

And what a wonderful surprise it was:

But he wasn't done. Tucked inside the box was this note:
To the love of my life: I am thinking of you every day, and I can't wait to come home to you. Happy Valentine's Day!

Love, Jason
Even the kitties found something to enjoy.

Well played, sailor. And if you weren't totally won over by him already, here's the clincher. It took him an hour of his precious free time to place the order online. Now that's devotion.

In other special deliveries, my sister will be rolling up in here tomorrow night. If you hear hysterical giggling from the west, do not be alarmed; that's just how we do. It'll be just like when we were little, except that our mom won't be here to separate us so we can calm down.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Foodie Friday: Cookbook Giveaway Winners!

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.
Happy Friday, friends! As promised, I'm here to reveal the winners of my Vegan on the Cheap/Party Vegan giveaway.

First, I have to thank the author of the books, Robin Robertson, who posted about this giveaway on her blog and shared links on her Facebook and Twitter accounts. I'm sure that's how most of you got here! I'll be honest--I was pretty starstruck when I saw that the Robin Robertson was sending people to my little blog!

But let's get to it, the reason you're here--the winners!

The lucky winner who'll be the hostess with the mostest with her new copy of Party Vegan is... Teslaca!

The lucky winner who'll be eating great without breaking the bank with her new copy of Vegan on the Cheap is... Sabrina!

Teslaca and Sabrina, I've e-mailed you--check your inboxes!

Thank you to everyone who participated, and special thanks to Jana at John Wiley & Sons for so graciously making this giveaway possible. Finally, thanks to Robin Robertson for making vegan living soooo delicious!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

In case you needed another reason to enter my cookbook giveaway

via Mercy for Animals

Enter here to win a copy of Party Vegan or Vegan on the Cheap.

For information about making a positive change for yourself, the environment, and animals, go here, here, and here.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Foodie Friday: FF turns 1 (plus a birthday giveaway)

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.
Has it really already been a year since I wrote my first Foodie Friday post? The calendar says yes, and my waistline agrees. it has been a year of expanding my palate, my pantry, and yes, my pants. Although I'm trying to work on that last one a bit, most of the expansion has been for the better. I've worked with new-to-me ingredients, I've learned how to use new kitchen tools, and I've become an overall more well-rounded cook.

To celebrate Foodie Friday's first birthday, I made some tasty treats from two recently-published books by my favorite cookbook author, Robin Robertson. The books were graciously provided to me by their publisher, John Wiley & Sons, which offers a wide variety of culinary and hospitality titles, including three of Robin Robertson's cookbooks. The two that I consulted for this bloggy shindig are Party Vegan and Vegan on the Cheap.

Both books are exactly what they sound like. Party Vegan features 25 different menus for holidays, special events, ethnic-themed meals, and just because gatherings--this month, the Super Bowl party and the Valentine's dinner for two menus would come in handy if I had anyone other than myself to entertain (and heck, being alone is not a good reason not to treat oneself, so I'll probably make myself something). Inexperienced and veteran party throwers alike will benefit from the planning guides and timelines included at the beginning of the book. Having worked as a chef and caterer for many years, Robin knows her stuff!

Vegan on the Cheap is your guide to vegan cooking on a budget. It makes use of simple, affordable ingredients without downsizing on taste or quality. If you thought that being vegan required splurging on fancy foodstuffs, step into Professor Robin's classroom, because you're about to get schooled. The book starts out with a section of cooking, shopping, and living tips, and includes a list of staples to always have on hand, as well as instructions on how to make some of the basics right at home. Each recipe costs no more than $2 per serving, and some include a "splurge a little" suggestion to try when you have some extra pennies (check the couch).

But enough talk. Words don't sell me on cookbooks and I doubt that it works on any of you, either. For me, seeing is believing, so feast your eyes on our birthday party treats:

chocolate chunk blondies from Party Vegan - I saved a sliver for myself and sent the rest off to my poor deployed husband, who I'm sure will waste no time in devouring them

chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting from Vegan on the Cheap (less than 50 cents per serving) - I inhaled two of these as soon as they were done, and then shared some with my friend, who did the exact same thing

Now you're probably wondering how you, too, can have such delicious, animal-friendly, and affordable vittles at your fingertips. Well, it is a birthday party, after all, so I have gifts! I'm giving away a copy of either Party Vegan or Vegan on the Cheap to two lucky winners. Just leave me a comment below telling me which book you'd like (if you don't specify, I'll be forced to choose for you) and why you're interested in giving vegan food a try (or, if you're already vegan, tell me for how long and why you made the switch).

You also must give me a way to contact you, such as leaving your e-mail address or Twitter username in your comment or having comment replies enabled in Blogger. If I can't contact you, you'll be automatically disqualified. Entries are due by 6 pm ET/3 pm PT on Friday, February 11 and the winners will be announced that night.

I'll use to select a winner for each book--one book per winner. The chosen two must provide me with a mailing address; I'll be passing it on to my partners in foodie glory at Wiley so that they can mail out your book. If you're not cool with giving me or Wiley your address, please don't enter.

Happy birthday, Foodie Friday! What a nice one-year-old you are, sharing your presents with friends!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Quotes from the Boat, Volume 4

My husband says funny things. Funny things that often become even funnier in the voiceless environment of e-mails sent amidst the chaos of deployment on an aircraft carrier. In my Quotes from the Boat series, I'll be sharing select gems plucked straight from my e-mail correspondence with the king of the cruise himself. From funny, to touching, to just plain weird, these are Jason's musings from aboard the "big metal city."

We all have the same things in mind: food and beer.

I miss Biggie.

The towel, of course, was not mine.

Cruise is starting to go by faster. The days are just flying by. I can’t wait to be able to live life without wanting days of my life to just fly by.

I trust no one.

There were no evil powers that made me want to marry you.

In front of the factory, they have the world's largest beer mug which is made completely of pewter.

I think this year is the year of the bunny for Asia. There were many bunny signs, paintings, and statues strewn about everywhere we went. I took pictures of them for you, because I know how much you love bunnies.

I'm excited about our taxes.

Even though I'm surrounded by 5,000 people, I can't help but feel like I'm all alone out here at times.

I guess next time I’ll use my mind reading powers.

I was able to install Halo 2 on everyone's computers out here and now we can have geeky LAN parties.