13 February 2011

Good grief.

It's been a challenge, the last couple of weeks. Last week in particular, we were *very* short-handed at work, and as the office's "utility player," that meant some very long days. I managed to go to the gym every day, as usual, and cook proper food at home most nights, but beyond that? NOT MUCH.

I have just been modifying my order for the week from Full Circle Farm.

Here's the content list for this week, with my substitutions in parentheses:
Avocados MEX
Russet Potatoes WA (Red potatoes, as I don't intend to bake or mash them)
Spinach CA
Cilantro CA (Red onions--I'm low on onions, and would have a hard time getting through an entire bunch of cilantro)
Broccolini CA
Arugula (Greens) CA
Romaine Lettuce CA
Rainbow Chard CA (Green kale, because I love it so much)
Navel Oranges CA
Mangos PER (Chioggia beets, because I haven't yet used the 2nd mango from the last order)
D'anjou Pears WA
Braeburn Apples WA (Cremini mushrooms, still have apples left from last time, too)

And here's what I'm thinking of making:

Burritos with avocado slices
Tofu scram with red potatoes & mushrooms
Big salad – romaine, arugula, mushrooms, beets, pears & chickpeas
Kale, broccolini, mushroom stir fry over rice or quinoa
Red lentil & spinach curry

There is a writer who blogs for the farm, and though he is not vegan (or vegetarian, for that matter), his writing is thoughtful, and his posts are nicely photographed. Check it out here.

30 January 2011


On Friday, I was able to log in at Full Circle to see what our first Produce Box would contain. Here is what we'll be getting:

Celery, Organic - 1 each
Rainbow Carrots, Organic - 1 bunch
Broccolette, Organic - 1 bunch
Shallots, Organic - 0.7 pound
Green Beans, Organic - 1.25 bunches
Cremini Mushrooms, Organic - 0.66 pound
Red Leaf Lettuce, Organic - 1 bunch
Red Chard, Organic - 1 bunch
Navel Oranges, Organic - 6 each
Mangos, Organic - 2 each
Golden Beets, Organic - 1 bunch
Gala Apples, Organic - 5 each

The only change I made was to substitute Golden Beets for Red Pears. When not in use, the kitchen isn't the warmest room in the house, so ripening pears is a bit hit and miss. Also, I prefer veggies to fruit, for the most part, and if the beet greens are in good shape, I can use them in addition to the beets themselves. I thought about subbing kale for the chard, but I do like chard well enough, and part of this experiment should be about being creative with what we are provided with in each order.

Yesterday was Vegan Pizza Day, but after work I did some errands I hadn't been able to do during the week, and didn't get home in time. Therefore, today was Vegan Pizza Day Observed. I made the crust, used some homemade pesto I'd frozen at the end of summer for the sauce, sliced up and sauteed a couple of homemade vegan sausages from Vegan Brunch, and topped it with Daiya mozzarella style vegan cheese shreds. Judging from the crowd reaction, it was a home run.

29 January 2011

Orange Eyed Orange Kitty

I am not normally tempted to kidnap animals I encounter on my mail route, but hey, orange kitty, let me know if you need a new home. You would put us over the official city quota, but no one needs to know, right?

26 January 2011

Lone wolf.

Last week, at the gym, attempts were made not once, but twice--in the same day--to entice me to attend the "fusion fitness" class happening upstairs.

Oh, my dear, dear people. No, not me. For I am 1) an introvert who works as a public servant and 2) comically uncoordinated. No, I'll be downstairs with earphones jammed in and the volume loudish, running by myself on the treadmill, and lifting weights. By the time I swipe my gym card at the reader, I have exhausted nearly all of my public self. I know you mean well, but no, no, no.

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23 January 2011

Part of the family.

We were all upstairs watching the Season 3 premiere of Parks & Recreation, and two of the cats and the dog were with us. The kid looked around him and said, "I'll be right back. I'm going to go get Spritey so that the whole family will be here." (Just for reference, the part of the room that isn't under the dormer ceilings is about 5' x 8'.)

When people ask me why I'm vegan, they usually ask whether it's because of the animals or for health reasons. I've been vegetarian for over twenty years, and vegan for the last two, and I'm disinclined to make too many harsh pronouncements about other people's choices. But at the same time, I really do believe what I believe, and my choices about food are not casually made. When I first stopped eating meat, it was because I was cutting up a chicken breast for a stir fry, and I just couldn't do it. I don't remember whether I finished making that meal or not, but I knew I couldn't eat meat any longer. It was the late 80s, and while there were some vegetarian resources out there, the realm of veg cookbooks looked nothing like it does today. There were the Moosewood Cookbooks, Laurel's Kitchen, and Diet for a Small Planet. The latter influenced my early thinking on the subject almost as much as that first visceral rejection of the chicken. When I finished reading the book, I was fairly well persuaded that a meat-based diet was a terribly inefficient use of the planet's resources. It seemed pretty clear that you could feed more people, well, by emphasizing plant foods than by feeding those plants to animals that would then be slaughtered for their meat. So that was one thing.

And the animals. Yes, absolutely. I don't happen to believe that there is anything but an arbitrary distinction between pets and "food animals," so if I can feed myself and my family without harming them, that is what I will do. For a long time, I viewed eggs and dairy as acceptable food choices because the animals producing them weren't killed directly. But the more I knew about commercial egg and dairy production, the less sense it made to me to eat those products. I do think it's possible to obtain eggs and milk that have been produced in a fairly humane way, but it doesn't seem worth the expense and effort.

That leaves health. I think it is possible to be a healthy eater of almost any diet, as long as your food choices are broad enough and are processed as little as possible. For me, being vegan puts the focus on the best foods I know of: fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, & seeds. I have seen improvements in my respiratory health since I eliminated dairy from my diet, but I know that not everyone experiences the problems I did.

Today, we spent part of our morning with members of the local Orthodox Christian Mission. Part of their spiritual practice includes fasting from meat, fish, dairy, wine & olive oil for various periods of time during the year, which can add up to nearly six months, all told. After the service, I was talking with an Orthodox friend who had prepared chicken for the meal, and he was telling me about its source. I smiled and said that I would take it on his authority, and he worked out that I am vegan. He made a reference to my being "strong" in that, and while there is a way in which that may be true, I definitely don't experience being vegan as any sort of ascetic triumph! I don't experience any deprivation, really. I like the things that I eat better than their non-vegan equivalents!

What it comes down to is this: my goals with respect to food choices are to eat the best quality food I can cook at home, and to treat the earth's fellow creatures (human and non-human) with respect. Within my personal ethics, a vegan diet represents my best chance of achieving those goals. I'm not missing out on anything. I'm really not.

22 January 2011

Look down.

I started writing a blog post last night, but was so very tired, it devolved into incoherent rambling. Quite unlike a typical post!

I just enrolled in a CSA (Full Circle Farm) which will provide a generous organic produce box every other week for $41. (Sample list of contents for a smaller size box is on this page.) We have to pick up the food from a centralized location about an hour away, but we are joining a group of six other families who participate, so we'll only have to make the trip once every few months. I'm familiar with this farm's produce, as they have been one of my favorite vendors at the Roslyn Sunday Market in the past. And to make it all even more awesome, you can *customize* your order: there is a three-day window after the week's box contents are announced where you can request substitutions. I'm excited--but then, I'm the sort of girl who gets excited about vegetables.

Currently reading: A Little Princess, by Francess Hodgson Burnett. Along with The Secret Garden, this was one of my favorite books as a child. It's in the public domain now, so I'm reading a free version on my Kindle. And I love it just as much. The protagonists of these books are written with such sympathy--I wanted to know them when I was a little girl, and I still do.

(Update: we finally got the pilot light re-lit, and so have had heat. It's a bit of a recurring theme, so we are still going to have it checked out.)

20 January 2011

Okay, rainbow, DELIVER.

Seriously, enough with the sisyphean tests, 2011. My family's health and happiness is my primary concern, but I wouldn't complain if all of the household appliances just WORKED properly. It feels like a track of dominos lately.

(Currently: no pilot light, therefore no heat.)

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