Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"We have bags for our bags!"

Well, it finally happened. I actually agree with something Howard Stern has to say:



Tuesday, September 25, 2007

CSA crop share 2007 18

Autumn is here. Happy fall equinox!

Is that an amazingly colorful and diverse share, or what?

> Cross-posted at


I need your help!

My coworker-slash-friend, LM, surprised me with a bouquet of herbs from her garden this morning. Of course, they've totally livened up my office, both visually and nasally:

Spearmint, sage, tarragon, rosemary, thyme. Can you help a sister out? Any suggestions as to what to do with it all? If I have to preserve some, which ones preserve the best? Should I freeze or dry? I don't want to waste a single leaf :)

> Cross-posted at

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The sunshine of my life

I asked around about that sunshine winter squash I got in the CSA share a couple weeks ago, and the overwhelming recommendation was to roast it. Even in the recipes I was given, roasting the squash first was part of the directions. I decided to simply roast it this first go around, figuring it would give me the opportunity to get to know the flavor.

I cut it in half, then put in the oven at 400 degrees for an hour, in a shallow pan of water. Looking back, that seems like an obscenely high temperature. That's because I didn't read the directions completely. I had about five things going on in the kitchen, preserving some fruits and veggies (more on that later), and I just wasn't paying close enough attention to the recipe. Turns out, the 400 degrees instruction was for a roasted soup. I ended up with a side of roasted sunshine squash mash (I only added a bit of water, no Earth Balance, butter, etc.) - which was actually really tasty.

AC came in the house after a long day at school and several hours skateboarding, famished, and immediately pointed to the bowl on the counter, asking what it was. I told him to taste it and, in spite of me it seems (after what I said), he grabbed a fork, took a bite and announced that it was, "really good."

Another bite.

"This is better than really good, it's excellent!"

Another bite.

"It tastes like sweet potatoes!"

Ah, the power of the sweet potato... I had to hold him back from devouring the entire bowl, and so I busied him with making a veggie burger for himself while I scooped some onto his plate as a side. While he was eating, I decided to savor-up the squash a bit for myself. I added salt, pepper and sauteed leeks.

To balance out the sweetness of this side dish, I made a quick spicy marinade. Using an immersion blender, I mixed tamari, garlic (turned into a paste using a microplane), Jason's homemade hot sauce, liquid smoke and pureed tomatoes, and poured it onto slices of wild rice tempeh.

A couple hours later when I was ready to eat, I warmed up the sunshine squash in the microwave. In a frying pan, I steamed chopped leeks for few minutes, then added the tempeh (including marinade from the container) and cooked it at a high heat for bit. A little side salad of cherry tomatoes and lettuce splashed with Bragg aminos rounded out the plate.

Everything is local, minus the tamari, salt, pepper, liquid smoke, aminos and tempeh. The tempeh easily could have been local (Cricklewood Soyfoods makes fantastic tempeh in Mertztown), but with that whole fruit and veggie preservation thing I mentioned before, I'm on a mission to get the freezer cleaned out. I found some errant tempeh packages from my co-op in the depths.

As a winter squash, the sunshine has tons of vitamin A, is good for B6, potassium and fiber, and is alkaline - it's totally a keeper in this house. Actually, it's a keeper because it tastes like sweet potato :) I'm particularly excited about that point because it positively reinforced the ten-year-old monster when tasting new veggies. As much as I love my greens, this squash has done more for me than kale ever has!

Next up is a Kabocha (aka Bon Bon) squash. Same advice you think? Just roast it?

> Cross-posted at

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

CSA crop share 2007 17


Aren't sweet potatoes the best? I'm always on the lookout for high alkaline veggies that my son likes. Who am I kidding. I'm always on the lookout for any veggies that he'll even tolerate.

He's the king of broccoli, he loves steamed carrots and can knock back quite a bit of raw red peppers and cucumbers with some hummus. All of this is great, but when it comes to switching things up and trying something new or different, he uncharacteristically hesitates.

This is the same child who will, and often does, skateboard off flights of stairs.

Sweet potato was one of the surprises that came with our CSA subscription last year. It's certainly not an uncommon vegetable, but, like leeks, it was one that I never really considered while shopping at the market. Hm, and I wonder why my son won't give kale a chance? I suppose we're all creatures of habit to a certain degree.

Lucky for both of us, Blooming Glen introduced our kitchen to the sweet potato. This root vegetable is high in fiber, vitamin B6 (especially nice for a vegetarian or vegan) and potassium, and is a very good source of vitamin A, vitamin C and manganese. And better than all that? It's dang tasty and can be prepared quickly.

Certainly there is much more exotic produce a CSA will bring into your home, but it seems that simple and everyday once again reign supreme in the local diet :)

> Cross-posted at

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Have you seen me?

I have a couple thoughts regarding the whole momma thing...

One, my monster shaved his head:

Two, he's now in fifth grade and wearing deodorant.

I think these things, along with the gf, can be connected, yes?

Eep. I am so not ready for this.

May I have my child back?


Thursday, September 13, 2007

The best.

There are a bunch of photographs in flick'r land (from L, Jamie and me) from my birthday weekend, but I'll post a few that I think sum things up pretty well.

My birthday actually officially began when L came into town on Thursday.


She flew all the way from Portland to celebrate. I don't even know what to say. She's pretty incredible :) Jason offered to give us some bff time and stayed away for the night, so L and BG (via phone) were the first to welcome me to 30, at midnight.

The next day, L and I volunteered in the snack stand at AC's football game then headed to my mom's, The momma held the traditional family birthday dinner, for which I chose vegan tacos as the meal. The birthday person always gets to make the food choice and my decision is completely predictable. It's been tacos since like, 1985 or something. Mom always kicks ass at preparing dinner, but this year she *tewtally* raised the bar with a homemade vegan lemon cake, including real lemon icing. As if that weren't enough, she covered the table with a Crayola color book cloth and cups of crayons. It's like she KNOWS ME.

Brookie, John, Brenden, momma, Mike, Jason, Avery and Zakrey and I set out to eat 30 tacos, and I'm pretty sure we managed. Later that night, L and I attempted to complete my origami bird project. We didn't finish, but we had fun anyway.

Saturday, L and I picked up BG who flew in from Raleigh. When we got back to Souderton, we headed over to the Univest Grand Prix with Avery, and made plans to meet my mom, sister and Jason there.

We weren't gone long when I got a text from Jason, saying that a friend stopped over. Within a couple minutes, he texted me again saying that a couple other friends stopped over with their kids. It seemed that everyone was out for the race and considering we only live a block away from the main area, everyone was stopping by. Fun! We headed back home where I thought we'd hang out for a bit, then head back out.

But, once we got home, more people started showing up (including my dad's chiropractor?) and a reverse surprise party unfolded. It was so, so fun and I was completely surprised. There was much blanket-sitting, Strongbow-drinking, and good time-having going on.

And, apparently, Justin got in BIG trouble.

Um. I don't think he cares?

Also, I lit the candles to my own cake. But that was okay because it allowed me complete control over a chocolate covered strawberry chocolate sheet cake from Vegan Treats. Zomg!

My pops made the most yummy food, including his rockin' world famous tabouli, and everyone brought a donation for The OneWay Gallery to benefit the Waterkeeper Alliance. Jason, Avery and I became aware of this group when we visited the gallery in August and saw Magmo the Destroyer's brilliant SAVE OCEAN exhibition. I can't say enough about the art and its mission. Please, visit the links! Oh, and I also got some donations for my camera fund :)

Chris Le played his computer (formerly known as "spun some records") and we kicked it old school style, dancing around the living room. Around midnight, a few of us headed to the Reliance to dance to sneakers-in-a-dryer horrible music. We took one for the team and made the best of it.

L and BG left the next day and Jason and I bummed around the house, cleaned up and ate leftover tacos and cake. I'm not sure if I ever apologized for getting upset with him on Friday night. He showed up late to the birthday dinner at my mom's house. Of course, I didn't know he was running around getting things ready for Saturday. Oops. Thanks baby - and Laura - for everything :)

Now, in case having the most amazing friends and family IN THE WORLD wasn't enough, when I got back to work, there was this:

That was on Tuesday. My coworkers are notoriously late with my gift each year and so when I came back from a meeting on Wednesday afternoon, there was this:

Inside of which was this:

That, is a recycled wine barrel rain barrel from Master Garden Products. I am not even kidding. My coworkers friends are really quite phenomenal, are they not? Of course, they topped it all off with a homemade vegan coffee cake and a sweet card.

So that's it. The big three-oh is OVER. I'm here! And it's been great!

And I'm exhausted!

I just cannot believe how lucky and blessed and completely overwhelmed I feel. I've been blown away by the awesomeness of the people around me. And really, isn't that the best gift anyone could ever have? :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

CSA crop share 2007 16

It's mid-September and so the board list is getting shorter:

Congratulations and celebrations to Blooming Glen founders and farmers, Tom and Tricia, who are getting married this weekend. Lots of love and peace to you both! <3

> Cross-posted at

Friday, September 07, 2007


Because she's the most wonderful best friend EVER, L came all the way from Portland to celebrate my 30th birthday with me. She got into town last night and we sat on the porch, talking and drinking Strongbow until one in the morning.

Of course, we had lots planned for today, but due to the aforementioned Strongbow, we're still in bed. Heh.

I encourage everyone to gorge themselves on vegan cake in my honor today. (We can all use an excuse to eat more cake, right? ;) )

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Fellow Frank Lloyd Wright fan and vegan foodie, Ms. Vegan Diva, recently bestowed upon me a pretty pink badge of rawk:

And so, in return, I am rocking out with these fine ladies:
Now hop to it, ladies! Go tag some Rockin' Girl Bloggers!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

CSA crop share 2007 15

"No more flowers :( " says Tricia.

Please advise! Anyone have any idea what to do with that funky sunshine winter squash?

> Cross-posted at

Sunday, September 02, 2007

OLS dinner 2007 10

Ta da! One Local Summer 2007 has been successfully completed!

One Local Summer 2007, Dinner Menu 10
  • Homemade whole wheat pizza (McGeary Organics/Annville Flouring Mill - 94 miles) with tomatoes, onion, yellow and red bell peppers, garlic (all from Blooming Glen Farm CSA crop share - 5 miles), basil (Bux-Mont Hydroponics - 5 miles), white sweet corn (Lancaster - 84 miles) and cherry bomb hot peppers (our garden - 0 miles). Nonlocal ingredients used: yeast, olive oil, salt
  • Red and yellow watermelon (Blooming Glen) and peach (New Jersey - 40 miles) fruit salad.
  • Proprietors Reserve red wine (Chaddsford Winery - 48 miles)
I absolutely considered going all out with several recipes for the last meal, but thought this simple meal was much more representative of the spirit of OLS. Simplicity in making big changes with little effort. Simplicity too, in finding joy in small things; like cutting open a watermelon and discovering buttercup-yellow flesh instead of the expected pink.

Hm. Actually, now that I think about it, this dinner wasn't exactly simple. I'd never made pizza dough before. Not that it was complex, but there's a little bit of a learning curve to work into the math there :)

And that's what OLS has been for me these past ten weeks: doing things that I never before had an excuse to do. Making pizza dough and tortillas, going to the Skippack farmers' market and discovering artichokes, finding several local vegan protein sources - shit, me just purchasing flour to bake was an unthinkable prospect before this summer. I mean, really... I look at this and am just plain surprised with myself:

As much as I love to cook, and love local foods, I can truly say that never would've made a pizza from scratch had is not been for the challenge of OLS. Nor would I have considered using corn as a topping. But! These were all good decisions!

Thank you, Liz! You are amazing and inspiring and fun.

With the the picture-taking, planning, deadlines and posting, I'm happy to have a short break from these meals each week , but I'm sure local-specific meals will maintain a somewhat regular appearance here until OLS 2008. I'm interested to see what I can some up with say, in February. Stay tuned!

> Cross-posted at