Friday, May 16, 2008

'Kay bye!

It's been love-hate with you Blogger, and it's finally time that I move on.

Although I have NO IDEA what I'm actually doing, I moved my blog to my own domain and switched to WordPress. I'm only going through with all this because two nerds promised to hold my hand.

The party's this way --->!

Monday, May 05, 2008

At home

So. I've officially been telecommuting and homeschooling for two weeks. My mission has been to be prepared, not planned. It appears as though this simple approach was the best choice I could have made.

On the work front, I'm keeping track of all my projects diligently with a neat to-do list, arranging schedules so that I can get to meetings and communicating efficiently with all my awesome coworkers. On the homeschooling front, we're enjoying a decompressing "de-schooling" period, stumbled onto a fun homeschoolers gym class at the Y and are realizing just how many in-real-life learning opportunities happen every single day.

We're also still struggling a bit to find that work/school/home and family/alone time balance, we've gotten on each other's nerves once or 30 times and we're a little bit more disorganized that I'd like us to be.

But, overall, the good keeps getting gooder and the bad is so far straightening itself out. I feel incredibly blessed that I was able to do this for my family. Especially for Sir Azrielle McPurrsons, aka Tubby, Tub, Tubblies. How did he LIVE WITHOUT ME during the days?!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Frankenstein food

With May looming, the anticipation of our CSA subscription and our own garden planting (that's some of the seedlings, above) is killing me a little bit. I just adore the simplicity of going out to one's backyard or to the farmer's stand up the street to pick up meal ingredients for the week. In stark contrast to that simple is best philosophy, some recent why-is-food-so-complicated discussions:

1. I just got this email from my sister:
OK, to two of my favorite label readers…I’m munching on some yummy Grape Tomatoes for a snack and this is what I read:

“Coated with food grade vegetable, petroleum, beeswax and/or lac-Resin based wax or resin to maintain freshness.”

So – either I have petroleum on my tomatoes or my tomatoes aren’t even vegan since beeswax or lac resin which is from the secretion of the lac bug are both animal byproducts.

I’m still going to eat my tomatoes, but how t weird could our food get?
So, two things. First: I immediately responded, "Yet another reason to purchase your food from local farms," to which she said, "They are local -- Four Seasons Produce in Ephrata." Dang. And Second: Wtf? Tomatoes, a natural whole plant food, not suitable for a vegan? Has anyone heard of such a thing? I know to avoid shiny apples and waxy cucumbers, but grape tomatoes?

2. On MotheringDotCommune, someone posted a link to this document titled, Guidelines for Feeding Broiler Litter to Beef Cattle. Apparently, feeding cows corn isn't cheap enough, as farmers have been recommended to add this collection of chicken "bedding material, manure, wasted feed and feathers" to their diets. Hilariously, there is quite an emphasis on using the correct mixture of dry materials with the bedding as feed in order to avoid mold. You know, so the cows won't get sick.

3. In vitro meat. I am not even kidding.

Seriously. At what point did our food become so complicated and weird?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Cooking together: Cashew Curry Caserole

Although our original virtual cooking date plans were ambitious, it had been six months since Kelly Ann and I had our first cooking date when we recently logged on for date number two. We went back and forth between a few recipes before finally landing on Urban Vegan's Cashew Curry Casserole. It turned out to be a perfect choice, quick and simple, for our weeknight date.

I went to the market after work, then assembled the ingredients, plugged in the laptop and opened a bottle of local Chaddsford wine.

The recipe called for broccoli and tomatoes (I used ones I jarred over the summer), but recommended mushroom, bell peppers and squash as options. I just love to see color in my food, so I added yellow squash, orange pepper and red pepper preserved last season from Del Val College:

Urban Vegan suggests serving the casserole with a whole grain; I went a coconut-lime brown basmati rice. I replaced the water with a half coconut milk and half coconut water mixture, then mixed in some lime zest at the end and topped it with toasted shredded coconut. At first, I was just going to make brown rice, straight up, but I'm so glad I took the extra time to make this instead. The flavors were a perfect compliment to this fabulous creamy curry dinner.

The casserole recipe is simple to prepare, depending almost entirely on inexpensive whole foods, and is chock-full of nutrition. It's basically two mixtures, one of the veggies and chickpeas, the other of the sauce, combined then baked. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

Somewhere, at some point, Kelly and I became un-synced. My rice took longer than I thought it would which was actually a good thing because so did the baking of the casserole. This all can be contributed to the fact that I have a bizarre, innate compulsion to cook for 12. I must have had eight kids in my previous life. Or worked in a school cafeteria. In any case, I doubled this recipe, as I do most, yet neglected to adjust prepping/cooking time. I'm slick like that.

Kelly's a fabulous friend though, and hung in there as long as she could. We chatted online about world peace and astrophysics (or boys and hangovers), checking in on our dinners and sipping our drinks. Eventually, we had to disconnect so she could feed herself and her salivating boyfriend. My monster also got sick of waiting and came into the kitchen to make himself a PB and J.

When everything finally came together, it was pretty incredible. The creaminess of this meal is not-to-be-missed. Seriously. The textures are a great marriage of crunchy veggies and soft chickpeas, the spice is nice and flavorful, but it is the creaminess of the cashew butter mixture that makes this meal. This would be a perfect answer to a cheese craving.

So, our second virtual cooking date was a definite success! In addition to "hanging out" with one of my favorite people EVER, the night resulted in leftovers that served as several dinners and lunches for Jase and me. I'm excited for our next one... which, according to the standards we've now officially stated, should be sometime soon!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I heart maps!

I heard on BBC this morning a piece about a new wiki, The site was created by Professor Vasco Furtado from the University of Fortaleza in Brazil with the intent of addressing underreporting of crimes:
"We have a problem in Brazil, in that crime data is a monopoly of the police. There are a lot of debate if there is a manipulation or not of the data." -- BBC article
Like all wikis, the site relies on the integrity of its reporters. For some reason this just feels like a bigger issue than it does on say, a wikipedia article about Britney. Still, I love the integration and juxtaposition of technology with real-life street-level reporting. I mean really, who can have too many stand-up-to-the-man movements?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Simple is best.

One of my 43Things is to kick ass at work. This particular goal has become more important recently as I'm preparing to move to a four-day-per-week telecommuting schedule. My new hours will begin next week, and so have been on a mission to get my desk cleared and to-do list to-done ;) I’m really excited to start this new phase, even though I have no idea what to expect. In fact, I believe that it’s somewhat because of the unknown that I’m excited.

Against my Virgo nature, I’ve decidedly not gone the way of plans and schedules, and instead have embraced the change as it’s been occurring. I know that if I stay on top of things by simply keeping track of my to-do list in a notebook, this transition will be fine. This is not the time to tie myself down to complicating tracking systems or always-on-call expectations. Simple is best. Right, kah ;)

And by reminding myself of that and the fact that I will be in the office at least one day a week, I’ve been able to actually experience this transition as it unfolds another layer each day.

Go, me!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


My monster turns 11 today. Eep! Of course, I can hardly believe it.

He brought in fruit kabobs for a class snack, and we put together favors for each of his classmates that includes a pencil case, some tchotchke and a party invitation. He was going for a penguin/sports theme, but alas, we were hard-pressed to find any skateboarding penguin pencils. Shocking, I know.

Tonight, we're off to a Sixers game, to which he we told him, he could invite a friend. We also invited that friend to sleep over. That's right, ON A SCHOOL NIGHT. Because we're awesome like that.

Sunday, we'll do the traditional dinner, gifts and cake at my mom's house. By the way, despite the awesomeness we JUST acquired with the school night sleepover, we're actually really mean because he has to wait FOUR WHOLE DAYS for his gifts. Poor baby.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Sasha & Digweed

My brothas' from anotha' motha', Sasha and Diggers. Uuuhn, so tasty!

The crackcrew was well-represented at the show by Mikey, Jess, Justin (who gets the I'm-old-and-leaving-REALLY-EARLY award), Brian, ChrisLe, Leah and L (who was imported especially for the occasion). I also ran into a blast from the past (always interesting), was totally impressed with the light show, and realized that I had not been to the TLA since a Violent Femmes show in like, 1994.

And listen, I know everyone everywhere should already know this, but on occasion a reiteration is in order:

L + M = awesome

We danced our totally sober asses off for nearly five hours, and were among the last to leave.

God damn... why exactly did we stop doing this every weekend?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Friday, April 04, 2008

MLK <3

Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time; the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.

Photo via

I got an email from a friend today, in remembrance of Martin Luther King, Jr.:
Forty years ago today, Martin Luther King Junior was assassinated. I remember growing up and wondering what the world would have been like if he hadn't been. He would have turned 79 years old this year. In remembering him, I want to share with you one of my favorite quotes of his: "Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are seeking forget the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others."
Amen, sister. Here's to happiness :)

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Last winter and early spring, after my first year with a CSA, I determined that my goal for the upcoming growing season was to put a concentrated effort into food preservation. I felt a little overwhelmed by the amount of food we were given at each pickup, and having absolutely no previous knowledge of canning, freezing and drying food, each week was a kind of trial by fire with researching, buying freezer bags, trying to remember what needed to be blanched, what should be shredded, what couldn't be jarred, etc. That, on top of my eyes being larger than my family's collective bellies (sure, we can eat two pounds of greens, sixteen tomatoes a bunch of basil and a twelve summer squash in six days!), meant that a little bit too much of our bounty ended up as compost fodder.

I had tried my hand at canning a jar of tomatoes the previous summer, mostly as an experiment, but it was enough to instill confidence that I could do it on a larger scale. I also knew from previous experience, that during the height of growing season, when I'd be bringing home gobs and gobs of veggies from Blooming Glen on top of harvesting our own garden, I needed to leave my pickup day open. Taking a couple hours on that day to sort through the produce, make a decision as to what I'd be likely to use before the next week and immediately preserving the rest was something that I'd have to commit to, as well.

Overall, I'd say I did pretty well. I had several canning days at my dads, during which we canned straight-up-'maters, spaghetti sauce, salsa and applesauce. I committed to memory what veggies didn't need blanching and would therefore be the quickest to get into the freezer. I I learned how to dry herbs. I stocked up on freezer bags and even received a FoodSaver as an early birthday gift, making preservation that much easier.

Yes, last season, I was a produce-preserving queen. How I loved stacking jars of tomatoes and applesauce on the cellar shelves, lining them up like little soldiers, their brass rings gleaming like a sergeant's stars. Putting onions and potatoes to bed, covered with cloth and tucked into a quiet corner. I'll even admit to "checking in" my preserved veggies and fruit, opening the freezer door simply to admire the piles of vacuum-packed bags, each filled with bright green broccoli, vibrant red peppers and glowing orange butternut squash. As one might imagine, this attachment to preserved food has a predictable downside: I don't actually want to use anything.

I realize this is a problem, especially now, on the cusp of a new CSA and garden season. I've begun to force myself to plan meals around the food we have stocked. Most recently, I added some spicy vegan sausage to a sauce made with the tomatoes, thyme, basil, onions and peppers pictured above, and served it with rice. The meal was fresh and fabulous -- a fact that I'm hoping to parlay into more using of the preserved food in my house. Fingers crossed!

> Cross-posted at

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Hello mikaela danielle!

Your Quit Date is: Wednesday, November 28, 2007 at 12:00:00 PM
Time Smoke-Free: 118 days, 16 hours, 59 minutes and 21 seconds
Cigarettes NOT smoked: 356
Lifetime Saved: 2 days, 17 hours
Money Saved: $110.13

Hard to believe it was four months ago :)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Brunch for Daddy-O!

My sister and I had a birthday brunch for our dad. It was fun, stress-free (thanks to The List and Jase), colorful, yummy and filled my house with love. If only all Sundays could be so lovely :)

The details, menu list and more photos are on the flick'r album. Happy birthday, Daddy-O! <3 <3 <3

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tofu Challenge: Lemon Pepper Pasta

I think that this Lemon Pepper Baked Tofu is my favorite Fresh Tofu variety. The flavor is light and crisp with a little bite, and like all of Fresh Tofu's baked varieties, the texture is sublimely dense.

The subtleties of this lemon and pepper tofu can get lost in some dishes, so I usually eat it as simply as possible. Diced into tiny cubes, it's perfect for a lightly dressed salad, where the taste can shine. For dinner, they blend perfectly in lemon pepper pasta.

I use a pretty basic and quick recipe; the ingredients are simple and it's easy to time everything to finish up at once. That, combined with a barely one-dollar-per-serving price, this dish could easily find it's way into your weekly menu plan.

Lemon Pepper Tofu and Pasta
serves 6

1 lb. angel hair pasta
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 lemons
1/3 cup chopped parsley
2 teaspoons plus a dash black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Lemon zest for garnish
Parsley for garnish
Cut lemon pepper tofu into 1/4" cubes. Heat tablespoon of oil in a frying pan, add tofu and sprinkle with a dash of pepper. Allow to brown over medium/high heat, tossing often. Right before removing from heat, squeeze juice of 1/2 lemon into pan, toss and cook for 30 to 60 seconds. Keep warm.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for three to five minutes, or until done; drain.

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup olive oil, juice of one lemon, parsley and black pepper; stir well. Toss with pasta.

Serve pasta with tofu cubes on top, garnish with parsley and lemon zest, pepper and salt to taste. Serve hot or cold.
Many lemon pepper pasta recipes call for basil rather than parsley, which I plan on trying this summer when the basil comes in from our CSA or garden. I'd also love to try this tofu over VeganYumYum's spicy lemon pepper fettuccine or with this lemon pepper cous-cous. Any non-local veggies you find in lemon pepper recipes could easily be replaced with seasonal ones. Except of course for the lemon. Maybe Nicole's Tuscarora Organic Growers Co-op will come through with some lemony citrus for us?

And now, all this light and airy lemon pepper herb talk has got me jonesing for spring something fierce. Drool!

Posted for:

> Cross-posted at

Choo choo!

At the bottom of my street, there are tracks that run a freight line.

When we were little and heard the whistle, my sister and I would grab pennies, nickels and even quarters if we were desperate enough, and run down the street at top speed, hoping to place them on the tracks before the train came by. I loved the feeling of the smooth, warm, flattened metal on my fingers.

Today, I still have the urge to run down and check out the gigantic machines as the roll by. Only now, I bring my son instead of my sister.

The sound and size of these trains are truly unreal.

It's also nice to get a little graffiti fix. Of course, there are the usual throw ups, but occasionally, I'll see something that catches my eye -- a little something clever, creative, different or just really good. This time, we saw some sweet death skulls. Rawk.

When my family first moved here over 20 years ago, they ran SEPTA on these lines, too. Now the train station is a little restaurant called The Caboose Grille. At least weekly, I wish they'd bring the R5 back. What the world need now, is more public transportation, right? :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Due to an unusual series of events, I've recently found myself in the company of three lovely credenzas. Actually, I suppose they're dressers, but I'm re-purposing them as credenzas. Specifically, I plan on re-purposing *one* of them as a credenza for the dining room in my small rowhome, but I'm not sure which one.

Ironically, this all started as a decluttering challenge at MotheringDotCommune. Yet somehow, I've managed to clutter my living space like never before.

I've set each of them up, snapped photos, asked the boyfriend and the son their opinions and considered each piece's pros and cons. And what do I have to show for all this effort? Confusion and doubt. At this point, I'm at credenza saturation.


Update Feb. 28: Check out the opinions at Apartment Therapy!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Tofu Challenge: Baked Tofu Sandwich

Like just about everyone else I know, I was recently hit with a nasty cold. Working outside of the home and doing the mom thing while miserably sick means my kitchen (and gym!) get a break. For meals, quick and easy have been my MO, with a little bit of spice to alleviate the sinuses. I've had lots of soups and sandwiches, including this yummy creation of Fresh Tofu's baked tofu, Blooming Glen onion, spinach, roasted red peppers, homemade hot pepper spread, hummus and refried beans:

Because this tofu is already seasoned and processed, there's no reason to press, drain or marinade. Each package comes with four mini blocks, each of which I simply sliced "open" and heated in a non-oiled pan. I also grilled the bread, complet from Bakers on Broad, using a light coating of olive oil. There was no method to the rest of the ingredients -- I just scavenged the refrigerator. I'm pretty sure you already guessed that, though ;) The result was a filling and flavorful meal that, most importantly, didn't require too much strain on my foggy brain.

Although I prepare Fresh Tofu's baked tofu fairly often, this was the first time I added it to a sandwich -- something I'll definitely do again. The texture is perfectly dense, and the flavor very mild with just a hint of sesame, making it a perfect addition to just about any meal. I absolutely recommend also using it as salad topper; cut into tiny cubes and crisped in a dry frying pan, they provide a fantastic protein punch with great texture and taste. It's also great in stirfries, either sliced into strips or cubed.

Posted for:

> Cross-posted at

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Why vegetarian?

Reason # 4,689:

As my friend Justin says, "I'm sorry, this is news to some people?"

In other cow news, this one and her little friend nearly killed me:

Eee! :)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Home fries!

This eclectic collection of Blooming Glen Farm potatoes served fabulously as a yummy breakfast treat on a chilly weekend morning.

So often, I get a little panicky at the thought of actually using my preserved food. I'm pretty sure I get this trait from my dad. He recently admitted to buying canned tomatoes from the market. An appalling revelation due to the fact that a quick look in his pantry reveals oh, approximately four hundred quarts of garden tomatoes he jarred this summer.

I know. I don't understand it, either. I mean, I get it, I know what he's thinking -- because I'm thinking the same thing -- but, it's still completely illogical. I see Nicole mentions the guilt of using frozen veggies in a previous Farm to Philly post. That's encouraging, because surely we're not the only ones... right?

Anyway, somehow I managed to let it all go, and use some potatoes I've been hoarding from last season's CSA shares. I even broke out some frozen peppers and greens, too!

Home fries
Serves 4

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 sliced onion
2 cups julienned peppers (use your preferred combination of mild-to-spicy; bell, poblano, jalapeño, et. al.)
1 packed cup sliced or torn-up greens (kale, spinach, collards)
3 cloves chopped garlic
1 tablespoon paprika
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute until soft. Add peppers and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add paprika and cook for 1 minute. Add potatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook until almost cooked through. Remove cover and continue cooking for 5 to 10 minutes until golden brown.
These are great sprinkled with some fresh chopped herbs right before serving, I just didn't have any on hand.

Note too, especially as we find ourselves merely days before Farm to Philly's exciting and sure-to-be-thrilling Tofu Challenge Month, that these 'taters are great served with tofu scrambler. Either side-by-side on a plate, or as companions inside a yummy breakfast burrito :)

> Cross-posted at

Monday, January 21, 2008


I just uploaded my desktop capture for Mighty Girl's tiny project. It was wicked easy and I'm loving everyone's submissions. God, I love the internet :)

Friday, January 18, 2008


(Photo of guilty flip flops by victim, Kerry Stiles.)

Big surprise here, right? Cheap shoes bought at Wal-Mart were poorly manufactured, resulting in chemical burns to several wearers. That's terrible for the consumers and luckily no one has lost limb or life. I think we're kind of missing the point here, though.

The real question is, do we actually think that we can buy a pair of shoes for $2.44 with no repercussions?



If I am spending less than three dollars for flip flops, I can bet someone somewhere is paying the true cost for me. It's only news in this case because consumers in the USA are suffering, not just some nameless foreign worker.

So, this woman's feet are burned, now imagine the burns the workers who manufactured the shoes must've received. And the pollutants caused by that manufacturing. And the energy used to package, ship and distribute the flip flops. All so we could save a few dollars on some plastic shoes?

And why the hell are we wearing plastic shoes to begin with? I'm pretty sure that we've all received the memo on plastic, right? The one that says plastic is not so good for oh, any living anything on the planet? Human, bird, tree, ocean or otherwise?

Do we really think that a company can turn a profit humanely and safely by designing, producing, distributing and then selling shoes for TWO FREAKING DOLLARS?


Whether or not these flip flops caused physical injury to the end user is so not the point. Even if they hadn't, the damages and costs associated with their creation, sale and disposal are the same.

Externalized cost. Embodied energy. Think before you consume,!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Spiced blueberry pancakes

Over the holiday break, my son had a friend who, last time he was over, I promised blueberry pancakes for breakfast. The blueberries I had on hand were of the preserved Delaware Valley College grown organic sort. Lucky us!

During the spring and summer weeks, I usually make it to The Market at DelVal College once every week or two to stock up on locally-grown fruits and veggies. Although some of what I purchase on these trips supplements my CSA produce for meals, I mostly go with a mission to find foods that I will preserve. Berries and peppers are ridiculously easy to freeze, so often I'll search for them first.

Choosing foods that are easy to put up makes the weekly chore of preservation simple and fast. Of course, simple and fast means that my chances of burning out halfway through the season are lessened. I like the efficiency of this system :)

The blueberries I used for the boys' pancakes were purchased in June, on sale for $2.99 for two pints. Taking them out of the freezer, I remembered just what a fabulous idea it was to stock up on six pints of these organic, locally-grown dark blue lovelies. They were absolutely divine, literally bursting with flavor inside the piping-hot pancakes.

Spiced Blueberry Pancakes
Serves 4 (eight pancakes)

1 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons canola or safflower oil (plus some for pan)
1/3 cup water
1 cup plain rice or soy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons real maple syrup (plus some for serving)
1/2 - 3/4 cup blueberries (plus some for serving)

Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Reserving the berries, add all other remaining ingredients in a separate bowl. Add to the wet mixture to the dry mixture, taking care to not overmix. Let batter sit for ten minutes. Stir in berries. Using a ladle, pour scoops of batter into a preheated, well oiled pan or skillet. When the pancakes start to bubble (about three or four minutes, depending on their size), flip and fry the other side for a minute or two. Stack pancakes and top with all natural maple syrup and whole blueberries.
In my kitchen, making pancakes is reserved for the less-scheduled and less-rushed weekend mornings. I usually double or triple the recipe however, so we can eat homemade pancakes during the next couple school/work days. You know, that way we at least have the illusion of calm and leisurely mornings. Enjoy!

> Cross-posted at