Sadly, this blog is a bit sleepier than I'd like these days. Pop over here if you'd like to know why.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Au Revoir Homestead

Moving is such a bummer. Especially when it throws your life into some topsy-turvy times. But it's really a bummer to leave a great house and an even better friend behind. Not to mention an endearing town and a bountiful garden. Favorite (recreated with photoshop, thanks Kevin!) moment at The Homestead:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Vegan Zucchini Brownies

When some people are out running 5ks and other such vigorous activities... I sometimes prefer to nap and eat brownies. Specifically, these brownies:

Vegan Zucchini Brownie

I've made these brownies twice in the past week and a half. (Not just for me! I always share!) This is the recipe. (Note: The frosting is not vegan unless you make it vegan.) It's a good excuse to use up zucchini from the garden... which is abundant! If I had considered the amount of squash one zucchini plant produces each season... I probably wouldn't have planted four. We have a lot of zucchini over here...


Monday, August 18, 2008

Taune's Tomatoes

Taune's Tomatoes

So... I didn't grow these tomatoes. But I did get to harvest them! I was plant-sitting for a friend and these tiny baby tomatoes were ready!

They are roughly the size of a gobstopper, maybe smaller.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Blog War: Cut-Offs

Reduce, reuse, recycle is all the rage right now. As an environmentalist, feminist, handicraft-er, and human being… I’m all for that. But let it be said that some items should not be reused. The first that comes to mind being toilet paper, tampons… you probably get the idea.

A non-reusuable that is less obvious but still poses as great a health/safety risk? Cut-offs. Yes. Cut-offs. Pants cut into shorts and most commonly with the frayed threads still hanging.

Cut-Offs as Health/Safety Risk Reason #1:

Say you get it into your head that cut-offs are a good idea. Say you decide to wear said cut-offs to work. Say your profession falls outside the category of landscaper or exotic dancer. Management might not be too thrilled with your fashion sense, especially if the big boss comes around. Being someone who was already clever enough to cut your pants into shorts, you think of a quick remedy. Why not just staple those frayed ends up? It seems like a good idea until shortly thereafter when you’re bleeding from the thighs. You silently pray your tetanus booster is up to date and curse your now bloody cut-offs.

Cut-Offs as Health/Safety Risk Reason #2:

Say you are an innocent young shoe salesperson (who happens to hate feet). Say a man purposefully makes his way to you. You can tell he’s on a mission and quickly take in his details sensing a full description will somehow be necessary. Thick glasses, long wavy sandy brown ponytail fastened at the nape of the neck, white muscle tank slightly stained, gold chain hanging to the base of the ribs, and… cut-offs. Breathing heavily, he quickly explains he’s shopping for his girlfriend and inquires as to “which shoes will make a clicking sound when you walk?” Assuming he finds that sound annoying you point out all the shoes that will not slap the bottom of the foot. Wrong. Apparently, the more clickety-clackety… the better. You’ve been on the verge of repulsion but finally dive in after a special request: “You are my girlfriend’s size. Will you walk around in these shoes so I can hear how they will click?” With a quick glance to the groin and a wave of nausea you know walking in those shoes is the last thing you’ll ever do. “Um… we don’t do that here!” Essentially you’ve just learned a lesson…cut-offs = perverts.

Cut-Offs as Health/Safety Risk Reason #3:

Say there’s a heat wave. Say half the male population sheds their shirts. The only appropriate bottoms to the absence of a top? Cut-offs. They zip up their cut-offs then head down the streets. Distracted driver upon driver are perplexed over a seemingly unreported shirt caper while simultaneously squinting to read denim labels. Car wrecks are nobody’s friend (excluding auto body shops).

Clearly, the health and safety risks associated with cut-offs are far greater than the reward of feeling as though you temporarily saved spaced in a landfill. Environmentalists take note: In this instance, it is far better to toss it than to cut it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Vegan Carrot Potato Soup

Hey. I used this... turn these...


...into this!

Vegan Carrot Potato Soup

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I Didn't Think I Liked Blueberries

Blueberry Picking

Apparently, I do. I headed back to my favorite family owned berry farm a few days ago to take advantage of the bountiful blueberry crop. I didn't think I really liked blueberries. I just couldn't imagine letting a harvest go by without taking part.

Blueberry Picking

The berries were gigantic and basically jumped into my bucket... which helps to explain how I ended up with 5lbs.

Blueberry Picking

What I can't really explain is where those 5lbs went over the course of 3 days. By the time my roommate came back into town, I found there were only a few berries left to spare and I didn't have a very good explanation. It seems that a day spent knitting and watching Planet Earth leads to the disappearance of blueberries.

Of course I did bake these lovelies, but they only required a cup.

Vegan Blueberry Muffins

Saturday, August 9, 2008

When The Raspberries Came to Town: Jam & Pie

The raspberry craze continued at The Homestead, only it got a little crazier.

A co-worker gave me about 2lbs of raspberries in addition to the berries I picked myself. It's not like berries last forever so a serious "housewife" day was in order.

First up was jam. We decided to use this recipe from this cute little blog, Laura Rebecca's Kitchen. It was a fairly fast concoction considering it was freezer jam and not the full-on cooked variety. We strained as many seeds out of the crushed berries as we could while still having enough berry mixture, and I'd recommend it. Seeds can be so irritating. After letting the jam sit for 24 hours it was ready to be taste-tested. Super sweet but excellent with Earth Balance on baguette. Behold.

Housewifery Out of Control Jam

Up next came Raspberry Nectarine Pie. Wow. I think this might be my favorite pie of all time. Tart and sweet and beautiful colors. The crust was perfect and not overwhelming. I was actually sad when I opened the fridge and found an empty place where the pie had been. In the spirit of Waitress we named it "Housewifery Out of Control Pie."

We used this recipe from this other cute little blog, Participation Breeds Revolution, and this recipe for the crust. We made two pies at once...Molly on one, and me on the other. One went straight to our tummies, the other to our neighbors as a "thank you" for being vigilantes about our chickens and caterpillar invasion, in addition to just being cool laid back neighbors.

Watch the process.

Housewifery Out of Control Pie Crust

Housewifery Out of Control Pie

Housewifery Out of Control Pie

Housewifery Out of Control Pie

What else was there for us to do but fully take on the role of housewife?

Housewifery Out of Control

Housewifery Out of Control

(more Housewifery-Out-of-Control photos here)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

When The Raspberries Came to Town: Muffins

Having approximately 5lbs of raspberries in the fridge of course prompted "Raspberry Baking Day." My friendly friend, Taune, came over for a few flour flying hours of putting our raspberries to good use.

She decided to make this little number. I can't really tell you how well it turned out... there was a mishap with the baking time and my sample was actually raw. But... I was told that an extra 25 minutes in the oven produced delicious cake-like White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Bars (not vegan).

I opted for raspberry muffins. Finding a recipe was surprisingly difficult. I decided to use this one, with a few changes (soymilk for milk, egg replacer for eggs, Earth Balance for butter).

I liked the result, but so did the fruit flies.

Raspberry Muffins

Sunday, August 3, 2008

When The Raspberries Came to Town: Picking

Raspberry Picking

Raspberry season took my house by storm this year. Lucky for me I work near a berry farm and have a friend who will pick me up at 3pm and take me out for some berry picking. Picking your own berries is clearly the superior choice to buying your berries at the supermarket. You can support your local farms, have a fun experience with friends, and pay about half as much as you would at the store. Nice deal. I think I picked about 5lbs this year.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Blog War: Milk Duds

Milk Duds are gross.

Milk Duds are gross. Like I needed to tell you that.

It was in childhood when I first made the fatal mistake of ingesting a Milk Dud. I’m almost certain it was under the care of my aunt who regularly shoveled us full of Little Caesars Pizza, macaroni and cheese, and in one undocumented circumstance, grass from the backyard. (Was it any wonder vomiting almost always concluded our visits?) Plunking the chocolate coated caramel in my mouth I anticipated the sweet crunch of the all too similar in appearance yet not in taste Whopper. While my young mind was thinking, “Who the hell orchestrated that trick?” my young mouth uttered a succession of confused whimpers. I never made that mistake again.

Approximately 19 years later I find myself sitting next to a box of Milk Duds. Despite the encouraging claim on the box, “35% Less Fat Than the Average of the Leading Chocolate Candy Brands” I find that I am unable to even pull back the perforated flap. Is it possible for a candy to make you sick via proximity alone?

What about this candy is appealing to people? The name alone implies failure. This is America and Americans don’t like failure, right? Well actually… the original plan was for Milk Duds to be perfectly round (like the Whopper!) but that was impossible. The candy was dubbed a “dud”. But that didn’t stop Philo J. Holloway. So technically what we have here is a good ol’ American tale of slapping a clever name on a disappointing product and hauling in currency.

But let’s take it down to the ingredients. I’ll waive the sugar, corn syrup, dextrose, and remaining list of sweeteners. It is candy after all. My real problem concerns the basics: chocolate and caramel. Let’s take a hideous, goopy, sticky substance and cover it with chocolate so the unsuspecting child won’t know what she’s really dealing with here, Aunt Jeanie. Just like cement is the adhesive that holds together our civilization, caramel is the cement that holds together Candyland. And who the hell wants to eat cement? Chew a Milk Dud and your jaw is firmly locked for a good second or two. If you manage to swallow the glob, the residue still lingers. Hello tooth decay and a life riding the city bus. (Being a city bus rider myself, I can confidently claim that tooth loss and bus passes are a natural pair, but don’t ask me to explain it). Moving beyond the obvious perils, it’s just not all that creative, is it?

Let’s consider a few alternatives:
Raisinets… practically a health food!
The Butterfinger… if it’s good enough for Bart Simpson…
Fun Dips… hours of sticky sugar filled fun, and cheap too!

No, there’s no reason one should ever resort to Milk Duds. And don’t let this guy tell you otherwise. Ok, there may be one circumstance where Milk Duds come in handy, but I’m fairly certain the candies ended up in the bin.