Monday, September 17, 2012

My DMV Dilema

It’s that time again, time to renew my driver’s license and two very very important questions come to mind. First, What am I going to wear? The wrong outfit could be immortalized for the next ten years.  Way worse than frizzy hair or a kinder garden smile. The perfect outfit for your driver’s license has to say “Why, yes I am photogenic without any effort.”  

Second most important question: Do I put my actual weight or do I put my ideal weight. Yeah that is that whole penalty of perjury but really when you ask a woman her wait do you really expect an honest answer? It’s like a rule of the universe that when you ask a woman her weight you will never ever get the actual number.  She will say the number that is comfortable for her which is true to her. Sure I am no longer that 120lb Barbie doll that I used to be. But do I actually want to share my current weight? Hell no. That number is between my personal trainer and I. 

As the days get closer to Peru and the work outs to prepare get a little more intense I get a little more nervous and excited. Three days of hiking up to Macchu Picchu, some amazing tours and let me just say, I cannot wait to get my hands on some Peruvian liquor and yarn.  One whole suit case will be devoted to these items.  

Almost time for my Slow Food Barbecue, it is going to be a really great day.  Likewise I am excited about my centerpieces making their debut.  And with thanks to my wonderful neighbor, Anita, only 4 more to go! Only a privileged few know what they are. Tickets are still available so be sure to get them!

And today’s Book Recommendation:

Borgia Bride 

I am enjoying the historical fiction that is coming out about Borgia family. Many strong women and some very dirty cardinals, if I do say so myself. Plus, what’s not to love about books set in Italy??

Monday, September 3, 2012

How to Make Tile Coasters

A few weeks ago I made some coasters with my sister, since a number of people showed interest I thought I would post the incredibly simple directions on how to make them.
1     Here are the materials you will need. For the stamp ink use permanent ink, I prefer stay on brand. The other materials shown here are just your basic stamps and cork board (which can be bought by the roll at a craft store).  The tile, I like to use a pour-us tile which can be picked up at any Home Depot or Lowes.

2.       So the next step is to use your inked stamp on the tile. It only takes a few moments to dry.  So while it’s drying you can cut the cork board squares to fit your tile and then stick them to the bottom of the tile.

It really is that easy! These coasters are very effective and sturdy. 

I have been feeling very artistic lately, in the coming 
weeks I will have some more projects posted. Including the center pieces that I am working on for the Slow Food Barbeque.  I discovered the ultimate Geek Girl knitting book and have begun a super cute sweater vest and have plans to start making some great fingerless gloves. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Am I addicted to being busy??

It has been crazy busy over the last month or so (has it really been that long?). I unfortunately wasn’t able to follow up like I wanted to about the food stamp challenge. I hope to do it again with my committee at slowfood amongst other things.

What have I been doing with myself in the last month? Well it has been quite a bit of a blur. With the exception of a minor sinus infection detour I have been quite busy. As I told Becky I think I am addicted to being busy, either that or I have a very refined form of ADD.

So anyway, what have I been doing….well for one I have been on planning committees for two events in one month. One for the OCPA, on September 8th and another on September 23rd for Slow Food.  For the record, event planning, not all fun and games but when the event happens it is very rewarding. I am pretty excited about our Slow Food Barbeque for more information go check out our Slow Food Calendar of events.

Just a few weeks ago I got to work for the first time with OC Food Coalition. The organization is really unique. Basically, a property owner that has extra crops, produce, etc growing on their property calls OC Food Coalition, which comes out with a team of volunteers to pick the produce. The produce is then donated to a local food distribution center. Slow Food teamed up with the group for a very successful harvest: 1 ton of Oranges and 10 lbs of Cherry tomatoes (not including the ones that ended up getting smooshed on my jeans…) I actually look forward to working more with this group more in the coming year. 

But the biggest thing that has happened was putting the down payment on our trip to Peru.  Just a few months before we are hiking our way to Macchu Picchu. I am very excited, and just a little nervous.

I may not have ADD, but I can certainly say I am happiest when I am busy. And I might as well channel all of that energy into something positive!

With the recent heat wave I’ve decided it was a good idea to try some vegan raw recipes. I just had this lovely Watermelon Peach Salad for dinner.

The Native Star And I will leave you with this fun summer read that I highly recommend.:  

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Food Stamp Challenge

Early this week someone posted a photo on facebook that I found to be utterly disgusting. I won’t get into the specifics but the basic point of it compared people accepting food stamps to animals being fed by humans.  

The reality is that in 2010 46.9 million people in America were living in poverty.  6.7 million American households are considered to be food insecure. Food Stamps are useful supplement to those in need. In arguing against the attitude in the picture that was mentioned above, I happened upon a food stamp challenge.
The challenge inspired me. So I embark this upcoming week (starting on Monday) with these goals
       1.  Can I live a healthy plant based diet on $40 a week? (with limited processed foods. 
       2.  Though I have been pretty poor in the past, food security was never really something that I was conscious of. So I will get to see what it’s like to live on such a limited budget. 

       3.  I want to bring awareness to the fact that so many everyday Americans are going without food.  

Here are the rules for the challenge, I did tweek them slightly to account for California’s standards and to make it a little more realistic.

1.       A maximum of $40 per person can be spent on food for the week (based on California standards for a 2 person household)

2.       If possible do not use the food that you have at home, though this may not be 100% feasible given the timing of our challenge. Please try to keep these limited, herbs for seasoning and condiments don’t count.

3.       You can only buy Groceries at locations that allow food stamps this includes grocery stores, convenience stores and some farmers markets which can be found here

4.       Restaurants and beverages count in your budget, however food stamps are not allowed for use at fast food restaurants or on precooked foods (ie: those chickens you find at the grocery stores)

5.       You can buy foods for the household including;
a.       Breads
b.       Cereals
c.        Fruit
d.      Vegetables
e.      Meats
f.        Fish
g.       Poultry
h.      Dairy Products
i.          You can also buy seeds and plants to produce food.
j.        Processed foods such as hamburger helper, mac and cheese is not covered

6.       You cannot buy:  (for the purposes of this challenge these foods will be excluded)
a.       Food that will be eaten in the store
b.      Beer
c.       Wine
d.       Liquor
e.      Cigarettes
f.        Tobacco
g.       Pet Food
h.      Soap
i.         Paper Products
j.        Household Supplies
k.       Vitamins
l.         Medicines
m.    Hot Foods

7.       Keep track of everything as you go.

Today I did my grocery shopping for the challenge. I hit up a local produce stand and Ralphs. I am happy to report that as of right now I am under budget. But there is no way I can afford to eat out this week. The grocery list is as follows:

Produce Stand:
1 large zucchini $1 (this is going straight into Zucchini Bread)
1 eggplant $1.25 (a little bummed because I saw them for .99 at Ralphs)
Snow peas $.98
1 head of broccoli $1.00
1 spaghetti squash $2.33
5 Limes $1
4 heads of garlic $1
6 tomatoes $1.16
Total Cost of Produce: $9.72

1lb Polenta  $1.87
1lb Couscous  $2.39
4 Bricks of Tofu $5
1 can canned beans $1.59
Enriched wheat Bread $1.00
Brown Rice $2.69
And my splurge 10 yogurts for $5

Total cost for groceries: $32.75

I could have gone with white rice instead of brown rice, it would have saved me $1 but I REALLY don’t like white rice. It’s highly processed and tastes funny to me. The only time I eat it is with sushi.

From home I plan on using:
Wheat:  $1.00 (est. cost for 3 cups of use)
Brown sugar: $1.00 (est cost for 1 cup use)
Egg: .25 for use one egg in a recipe
Applesauce: $2.00 (If I am going to open it to use it for a recipe I might as well use the whole thing)
Baking soda and powder: we’re looking at about .50 cents worth.

Total Cost for food this week:  $37.50 (hmm, i may have some room for peanut butter and jelly  this week!)

I have a feeling that every day I am going to find something new to look into. Today’s research topic is: Why does organic have to be more expensive than the regular stuff? For example; organic yogurt at Ralph’s was 99 cents, while the yogurt I bought was 50 cents each.  Though I prefer my dairy to be organic, I had to choose did I want organic or did I want yogurt this week?
This afternoon while I have time, I will be making this zucchini bread recipe from the Vegetarian times.
I am leaving out the pecans because nuts in general were just too expensive for my budget.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Never Under Estimate the Value of Pesto and Good Friends

It’s true, the two things you should never underestimate are pesto and really good friends. The pesto comes in handy for those really busy nights when you don’t feel like cooking and the good friends can be relied on to get you through the hard times along with the fun times.

It’s been just over a month since I have been a vegetarian and I am really enjoying it. I have heard said that being a vegetarian limits what you can eat. I really haven’t found that to be the case. In fact I have found it to be quite liberating. Over time I do hope to post more recipes from my cooking exploits. The latest experiment was smoked tofu. It is really good but extremely smoky. I think I am going to chop it up and mix it with some pasta for a nice summer pasta salad or maybe warm it up with some onions and barbecue sauce with some veggie baked beans on the side…The possibilities are endless.

I found a great blog called Meet the Shannons where this couple is cooking their way through the Joy of cooking making the entire recipe collection vegetarian. It’s a great concept that is absolutely fascinating, I can't wait to try some of the recipes. The blue cheese "burger" looks very tempting and they are the ones who gave me the initial idea to smoke tofu.

I am settling into life without Ryan. I have been able to chat with him whenever he can get to a computer. The last time Ryan was overseas I was by myself in Texas. The closest friends were 3 hours away which meant that I had a lot of alone time. This time around it’s already been a lot different. I have a job that takes up 40hrs of my week, the OCPA, the so cal herp club, family and a lot of friends. Though the feeling may be weird to me now, it’s good to know that I don’t have to go far to have a shoulder to lean on.I miss him terribly but I am pleased to hear from him when I can. For those of you who don't know, he is currently working as an independent contractor with a company in Iraq. He is settling into life there as well. Though, of course, there is no place like home.

On the flip side, life has been crazy busy. It doesn’t help that traditionally June and July are the busiest times for Ryan and I. I have been so busy that the dogs have been mad at me on the sheer fact that I have barely been home. As it stands, I do not have a truly free weekend until Mid August, which I think I am going to purposely schedule nothing. This weekend though was quite nice. Yesterday I had a lovely hike with Becky. My dad suggested that we try Crystal Cove. The trail was really nice, it had great views of the ocean, beautiful scenery and some paths that though they were a bit of a challenge were still fun. Here are some pictures of the gorgeous views and the little spring where Becky and I stopped for a quick lunch of Peanut Butter and Jelly.

Today I spent with family. My dad made some of the best salmon ever for our father’s day lunch. I love Sunday dinners, I always have. There is something to be said for getting the family together for a nice big meal and just enjoying eachother’s company. You don’t get that enough in today’s world. Everyone is off doing their own thing and family gets put to the side, often considered to be a pain in the ass.

Recipe of the week: Why Pesto of course!

One package of Pine Nuts

One fairly large package of fresh Basil

One cup olive oil

Parmesan Cheese

Put the pine nuts and oil into either a blender or food processor and blend thoroughly. Add the basil and blend. Mix in Parmesan to taste. Put over the pasta of your choice.

Left overs can be frozen in sandwich baggies for individual use later.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A saturday of Vegetables and Dreamtime Stories

It’s been a week since I’ve stopped eating meat, well at least all meat except fish (I just can’t give up seafood, I love it too much). But so far I am feeling great. It was a health decision, given that I have diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease that for the most part runs on both sides of my family. I thought it would be a good time to start making a more positive choice. Likewise I am pretty much over meat.

I am having a ton of fun with the recipes though. I have been either experimenting with new foods or changing up some old favorites. Today I tried Summer Tomato Lentils. I kept mostly to the recipe but I used garlic powder and seasoning salt. Tonight I am going to make a low fat Eggplant Parmesan that I found on the vegetarian Tomorrow at a Jessica’s barbecue I’ll be trying Portebello mushroom fajitas, that one will be a recipe I come up with on my own, so I'll post it once I have it.

The little snakes are settling in just nicely. Vader is still afraid of everything. The other night he was contently being held by Ryan which is somewhat rare until I picked up a large red book. When he caught sight of it he reared back in a defensive pose. It was important for me to name Bahloo after an aboriginal moon spirit. I admire the way they look at snakes in their mythology, which is called the dreamtime, they aren’t portrayed as negatively as they are in western culture. Here are some links to Aboriginal mythology that I found:


The Australian Museum

Dreamtime Stories

Last night I got to spend some time with my sister. What was going to be just a quick little shopping trip turned into a 2 hour coffee and chat session. I love the person that she has become. I have to admit, I am going to feel a little lost when she goes to college but at least it’s in a decent driving range.

I intended the rest of the weekend to be much more productive than it has been so far. I did get some useful yoga in this morning, got almost caught up on dishes and went grocery shopping but after that….I fell asleep. I suppose that now that I am awake I should get myself back up and get some more things done on the to-do list.