Monday, November 19, 2012

On Cake

I'm about to get seriously snobby up in this hizzouse.

I love cake.  Chocolate cake, vanilla cake, banana cake, whatever.  I will eat any vegan cake you put in front of me, and even some not vegan cakes.

But you know what kind of cake is just worthless? Refrigerated cake.  If you can't eat it fast enough to prevent it going bad, then share.  In my experience, cold cake is dry and all the flavor has been sucked right out.

Some exceptions might exist- perhaps freshly baked cakes that have been refrigerated a very short time and then are brought up to room temperature before serving might be okay.  I understand that we're supposed to refrigerate things for food safety purposes, but I'm willing to risk my life for fresh, room temperature cake.

That is all.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sicky Soups

Meeting new people can be dangerous when you're getting over a cold.  Last night I met a new friend and we spent about 3 hours talking at a friend's wedding reception/party.  Last night I sounded like I'd been smoking for 30 years (I must have started young).  Today I can barely talk!

My only (inaudible) question for today is: Which soup should I make?

Here are my top 4 favorite soups to eat when I'm sick, in no particular order:

A gingery-lemony-spicy lentil rasam

Seitan noodle soup

Meemaw's potato soup

Lemongrass Pho

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sweet, sweet victory

My garden carrots may not be the biggest carrots ever, but they are the sweetest.  I planted lots of Yellowstone carrots this year, not my usual varieties (Scarlet Nantes or St. Valery).

They're just lil' guys, but they pack some serious flavor, color and sweetness.  The carrots' inaugural dish was a stir fry packed with lots of broccoli and green onions coated in a lime-tamari glaze and served with udon noodles.

What is it about udon noodles that is so comforting?  I think it's something about how puffy they get compared with regular ol' Italian style pasta.  Or that they're often swimming in savory broth.  Anyhow, I ate an extraordinary amount of this meal.  I ate an entire head of broccoli.

I highly recommend keeping some dry roasted sliced almonds around the kitchen so that you can sprinkle them on top of dishes like this.  It doesn't take much, and the nuts really bring out the earthiness of the sesame oil in the glaze.  I also like to grind up some salt with a dried Thai chile to sprinkle on top.  Just remember to clean out the mortar and pestle afterwards, because it is SPICY!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

My Breakfast Routine

I've been eating the same thing for breakfast for months. You'd think I'd be bored by now, but I'm not.  I'm sure it'll happen eventually, but for now I love my routine.  Here are all of my favorite parts of this breakfast routine.
Great meme a friend "pinned".

Favorite Breakfast Smoothie
Super simple. Super easy.  Virtuous, but tastes like a shake.)

1 ripe fair trade, organic banana, peeled
1/2 cup plain, unsweetened organic yogurt (Wildwood soy or Kalona Supernatural full-fat dairy)
1 heaping spoonful of fair trade, organic baking cocoa (Equal Exchange is my favorite)
1 cup organic milk (Blue Diamond almond is my favorite)
1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed (Bob's golden is my favorite)

Blend.  I blend it right in the wide mouth pint jar that I drink it out of using my immersion blender (Cuisinart stainless is my fave).  It's important to drink this with a straw. That's part of what makes smoothies so fun and convenient for breakfast. I love these stainless steel straws the best.  And I love that this smoothie is kind of tart- it's only sweetened by the banana and milk.

I couldn't drink my usual smoothie this morning, though, because my dog Hannah ate all of my bananas.  It was the largest bunch of bananas I've ever seen at the co-op.  The cashier and I marveled at how huge they were and then 24 hours later, Hannah ate every single one.  She didn't feel very well.

I figure that this deserves her very first entry into

Sunday, November 4, 2012


I admit to half-assing my gardening this year.  I was ambitious in my initial planting, as usual, but didn't follow-through with successive plantings.  After my cucumbers failed, I just left my bed sitting empty for the rest of the summer.  Sometimes it's good to let the soil rest, though.  And I needed to rest, too.

No fun being strapped into this.
I was just opening a can of tomatoes for some enchilada sauce when the lid sliced into my pinky finger.  What seemed like a fairly bad cut that probably needed stitches ended up being a really bad cut that required surgery to repair the flexor tendon in my finger.  And my right hand was stuck in a splint for 6 weeks, with strict orders to not use that arm for anything.

I've been lucky enough not to have had too many major set-backs or medical issues in my life, and this injury just showed me how lucky I've been to be so able-bodied.  All the things I love to do in the garden, the kitchen, on my yoga mat, around the house and at work took five times as long to re-learn with my left hand- if they were possible at all.

Without the ability to quickly whip up some homemade soup, cookies or even a fresh garden salad, I lost my appetite and my motivation to do just about anything.  I watched a lot of New Girl and read a lot of books (even reading a book is more challenging with one hand).  Luckily my sweet partner Mike took care of me and discreetly asked my friends to come check in on me.  I even had friends come over to help harvest my garlic and elderberries and weed my garden back from a jungle-like state.

I ended up learning to do just about everything with my left hand, as I accepted the fact that it would just take more brainpower to do things that I used to do without thinking.  I learned to tie my shoes and put up my hair with one hand. I watched YouTube videos to figure out how to get toothpaste on my toothbrush.  I even canned a batch of pickles!

Turning my half-splint into a hand puppet helped.
Now my hand is working pretty well.  It's been 3 months since I injured my finger and I have re-gained most of my hand strength.  My pinky finger is still struggling to bend fully or straighten fully- and I can't move it at the first knuckle, but I do my finger exercises every day and see my physical therapist every week.  They think that within the next year I should regain the full range of motion.

So long, tomatoes!
I can do nearly everything I used to do now, except reach the far-right keys on the keyboard, hold small things like vitamins or beads in my right hand, stir thick batter with wooden spoon click the end of a click-pen while holding it or hold a toothbrush without looking like I'm having a tea party. I'm still struggling in my yoga practice- I can put weight on my right hand, but holding adho mukha svanasana for more than about ten breaths is pretty painful.  On the upside, I have gotten a LOT of practice on my standing asanas lately!

Yesterday I worked in the garden like nothing ever happened.  I pulled baby trees that tried to sprout up on the strawberry patch, trimmed the blackberry canes & elderberry shrubs, composted the tomato remains and put away all the cages & supports.  Besides being a little stiff from the cold and switching to my left hand for any challenging tasks, I'm back in business.

Pinky is just a little wonky now...

Saturday, November 3, 2012

My Hobbery

I've been thinking about this little blog lately.  You might not think so from the lack of posts, but it's true.  I wish I could say that I stopped blogging for some good reason.  I'm still recovering from a hand injury that left me unable to use my dominant hand for about two months, true.  That's a pretty super excuse.  But I stopped writing well before that.

I think I just lost my motivation for telling other people what I'm doing.  I just wanted to do and not to tell.  This blog has brought me a lot of joy and introduced me to new friends.  But it's also been an obligation to some extent and for a while I just wanted to let go of all my non-necessary obligations.

I got a good deal of release and relief from letting go of expectations from myself in regards to cooking/blogging/household crafties.  But I also lost some of the joy.

Last night I was having trouble sleeping, so I wandered downstairs and contemplated doing some writing to give my mind something to focus on.  Instead I surfed Pinterest.  But what's really cool is that I got this comment from a reader at about the same time I was thinking about my next steps for this blog.


Surely I'm not the only person who has missed you! If your blog is done that's fine. You've given me tons of juicy tid-bits by which to live and eat. I'm a carnivorous eater here in mid-Missouri and I've loved going through pretty much every single page of your blog. :) But if it's done, can we at least have a closing post? Hope your garden was great this year! 

Thanks, Yoakumputer, for your comment.  I've been struggling to figure out why I should keep blogging when there are thousands of other bloggers out there writing about very similar topics.  It was really nice to hear that my writing was missed.  

I think I'll give this a shot again.  Food Snob for life.  It's just time to make it my Hobbery again.