Monday, January 25, 2010

The love of my life hates presents

T hates registering for gifts. Since we are getting married in August, we must register. I tried to get him to help me by starting small and looking online. All I got out of him was silverware and plates. Don't even start with the cups! I plan on forcing him to the *gasp* mall soon. Wish me luck (with the gifts and with professor PP).

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

F the Shop

We have a shop. It is here:

Sometimes I called it the shed. But the shed is here:

For the sake of the posting, I am talking about the shop, not the shed. Got it? Good.

I f-ing hate the shop. It is dark, dirty, cold, loud, and not a place for girls. At least not sissy girls. A sissy girl is someone who does not want to look at the mouse nest inside the idle Bronco chillin' in the shop. Or a girl who thinks she will for sure, most definitely fall from the homemade (before us) ladder that has loose steps and is coming loose from the wall. Seriously. This ladder is approx a 70 degree angle to the wall and it has no rails or support. I pretty much crawl up the thing 15 feet to the top and then when I have to come back down, with a cat carrier, skis, and/or Christmas decorations (that is what we keep up there...only things I need apparently) I stand at the top for a good 2 minutes debating how I am going to get down. Can I throw the skis to the ground and carefully, one step at a time/two feet on the same step-type walk back down? No. I must carry this, sometimes 8 lbs, object from the top to the bottom. I sweat. I almost cry. I usually end up going backwards like a sissy and try hard to hold onto my object. I fret with each step swearing the nails will not hold. I swear to jesus, one day, they will NOT hold. Mark my words.
Of course T walks up and down this ladder like he is Jesus (or walking gracefully on water. He even walks down facing forward with something in his arms and doesn't even look at each step. He WILL fall. Mark my words. Wait...don't.

When we first moved in, I avoided the shop like the H1N1 virus (and shot). T had mentioned he found a dead rat/squirrel/hairycarcass in the corner and hadn't cleaned it up. When I was forced into the shop I avoided all eye contact with any corner. I did NOT want to catch a glimpse of that thing. Seeing it would make the dead thing real and I would never ever want to return. Even if I really needed the cat carrier. I would let Sam roam the car on the way to the vet, even if that meant him getting on the dash and REALLY wanting to sit right in front of my vision to be pet. At least that would be precious and less dangerous than seeing a dead animal!

Not to mention, the Bronco is in the shop. Not running. Duh. The bronco in itself is scary. Did I mention the mouse nest in the engine? The former bee hive in the engine? The poisonous mold growing on the seat covers? The fact that T used to love that hunko'junk more then me?

Needless to say, I don't go into the shop regularly, and I break out in a cold sweat if I have to go in there myself. When I unlock the door and open it, I swear a raccoon will come running out with his rat and mouse buddies. They will mow me down because they are so hungry. They would have already eaten all the foam out of the Bronco's seats and drank all the pop out of the Big Gulp "thermos" that has been sitting in there for 3 years. Oh god!

So I hope you get an idea of how hard it is for me to appreciate the shop. Everyone in the county has one though. You have to have one. It stores all your shit. Obviously. Oh yea, I almost forgot the spiders. I am sure there are big brown spiders in there too, everyone has them in their shop.

With that said, we have decided to use the shop as our "dance barn" for the wedding. Slap your leg and call me silly. Nice, huh? After all that, how could I let my pretty white dress in that shit hole? After making Tyler scrub it WITH SOAP and decorate it with lights, that's how. It must be free of all scary things, maybe the ladder too? Oh god, please the ladder. An escalator would be nice in its place. (Installed after the wedding of course, there wouldn't be enough dancegetyourfreakon room with an escalator, der!)

I think it will work. I think I can do this. But I figured I should give you just warning.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sweet and Sour Seitan

I talked about it, now I choose to write about it.
First, a little info on seitan. Seitan is a meat substitute because it has the texture of meat, without all the tendons and fat. (haha) It is 1g fat and 18g protien. Seitan is really just soy sauce and wheat gluten boil together, vaguely speaking. To obtain seitan, you can buy the ingredients and make it yourself, or buy pre-made seitan at health food stores, co-ops, or other good food stores. Top Food and Haggen do not count.
I love seitan. It soaks up juicy flavors you cook with and has a good texture. I like it much more than tempeh, which is what the following recipe originally called for.

Sweet and Sour Seitan (pronounced say-tan..short a sound. blogger doesn't let me do the short "a" symbol)
adapted from Vegan Fusion

ingredients -
about 4 - 5 oz seitan
3T sesame oil
1 small onion chopped
2T ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 red bell pepper diced
3/4c water
9 - 11oz apricot preserves (I get mine at Trader Joes but I think you can find some in the jam section at any store)
2T arrowroot powder (or corn starch if arrowroot powder sounds crazy), dissolved in 1/4c cold water
5T soy sauce
2T apple cider
1T miso (which I rarely have and leave out most of the time)
1T sweet rice vinegar
2t cilantro
1/4t red pepper flakes

method -
1. Heat 1T sesame oil in skillet. Fry seitan on high for about 2 min. Put on a plate and set aside.
2. Heat 2T sesame oil in skillet.
3. Add onion, bell pepper, and ginger. Stir fry for 3 min.
4. Add water and apricot preserves, simmer for 10 min, stirring occasionally.
5. Add arrowroot (or cornstarch) mixture, stir for 2 min.
6. Add remaining ingredients except seitan.
7. Cook for 3 min. Sauce should be somewhat thickened. If not, add more arrowroot/water mix.
8. Add seitan and cook for 3 min.
9. Top with cilantro and enjoy!

Don't forget to serve over some brown rice!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Picture Perfect 2009

2010 should be a great year with getting married, running another "race", and going to the happiest place on earth and the most relaxed place on earth. I am looking forward to all those things!
However, I have to give props to 2009. It was a big year with us buying a house and getting engaged and all. It was awesome so I feel I need to pay tribute to it. Here are some pics to sum up my 2009 (minus all the important, interesting blogposts of my exciting life. You can explore those another time to refresh your memory).

In Jan and Feb we went on our first and second snowshoeing trips

April we bought a house
Then we had a work party at our new house

Sam and Stan both enjoyed the new house outdoors

Camping essentials during the one camping trip this summer...disgraceful!

We got engaged on this camping trip on the Entiat River

Then we went to Sun Lakes for a Herold/Marrs family vacay...

....where we did a lot of synchronized diving

T bought a Gibson tractor

We had a beautiful autumn

And a fun Halloween

Then it snowed in December

Stan wore the santa suit for the second year and loved it, obviously

A stray pointer came around. (He was eventually adopted at the Humane Society)

I stayed warm in my new down jacket from Santa

We visited Kendra and Angie in Portland on NYE

Mogi (Kendangi's pup) loved T

Cheers to 2009!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Vegan Ish

I admit, I write like I have an audience of 300 and people other than my family read my blog. I say this because, most of my family doesn't give a rats ass about vegan ish. Hell, I am not even 100% vegan but I like to explore it and the amazing food it has to offer. Mostly I just like fresh ingredients that are put together to have high nutritional value as well as taste freaking aweshum. I write about it in hopes that other people appreciate that too. So, I am posting a review of a cookbook (Vegan Fusion)/restaurant (Blossoming Lotus). Perhaps if anyone is looking for a new cookbook or is in Portland and wants something unique and delicious, they will take my opinion to heart here. You don't have to be vegan to appreciate just need to like flavorful, healthy food occasionally (because who doesn't love french fries for dinner too!?).

To continue.......

In 2008 I went to Portland for work. Before I went I researched vegan restaurants because I wanted to try one. I found Blossoming Lotus. They offer vegan and raw food options and at good prices. It was SO good that I pretty much have been craving it ever since. So, when T and I decided to go to Portland to visit some friends for the New Year (more about the holiday wrap-up later), my one demand was that we go to Blossoming Lotus for dinner one night. We did. It was delicious. I had a raw spaghetti plate that consisted of zucchini-spaghetti and pesto with a crap load of veggies....mmm. T had lasagna that was great! Not only did they have sweet-A food, they had drinks that were divine. The lavender lemon drop was to die for. One of our friends that was sick even got a "flu fighter shot" that had cayenne pepper, lemon, and ginger. After taking it, she could taste her food....a little. Anyway, I could go on forever about how much I appreciate food like this. I may be a little bias because I strive to eat/make this type of edibles but I honestly thought this restaurant was a 5 star. I am sure T thought his lasagna was good but not anything to go on and on about. However, all the other creative dishes are just that, creative. Not to mention they taste great. It just isn't something you can recreate at home every night so I like that.

Okay, now, the cookbook, Vegan Fusion. After going to the BL the first time, I came home and realized this cookbook, one I got for my bday earlier that year, was created by the guy who owns the BL. After realizing that it made me appreciate the recipes more. Actually, after this week, I am going to explore the book even more to come up with some more recipes to add to my collection. Anyway, upon first looking, this book was weird. Example: instead of "directions", it says "loving preparation". You may be thinking that is right up my alley but even that was a little too hippie, earthy for me. However, after realizing you can get some great dishes out of it, I began exploring the recipes. This book really did open my world up to protein alternatives, fresh sauces, sushi ideas, etc. Right now, my fave recipe is sweet and sour seitan (seitan is a meat alternative that looks a little like beef but it is made from wheat gluten and soy sauce). It tastes JUST like sweet and sour stuff you get at Chinese restaurants, only 100% less greasy and much more flavorful.
The recipes from this book are easy, you just need to have the drive to want to learn about meat alternatives and fresh ingredients. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to cook like that because you can definitely get some great recipes out of this!

Okay, okay. Enough. I just wanted to get this off my chest after having some awesome food in Portland this week and wanting to share my rekindled love of Vegan Fusion. Someday I will post a recipe and you can try it for yo'self.