Month: April 2011

really easy vegan pepper steak stir-fry

The other day, I tore through my kitchen looking for something to make for dinner. Found some veggies that needed to be used up, check. Found a random bag of 10 minute rice, check. Found a package of Vegetarian Plus vegan black pepper steak, check. This is the easiest recipe you can make and you can utilize whatever veggies you have in your fridge.  It is so fun to make elaborate vegetarian or vegan meals, but sometimes we just need a quickie.  This is the fav weeknight dinner of our household. vegan pepper steak stir-fry ingredients 1 onion, chopped in large pieces 1 red pepper 2 stalks of celery 1 tsp sesame oil 1/4 cup cashews white or brown rice (enough for 4 servings) any other vegetables you have such as broccoli, carrots, whatever 1 package of Vegetarian Plus vegan pepper steak (found in the freezer aisle, most often in the natural foods section of your grocery store) Start with your rice and cook it as indicated on the package.  This literally is the lengthiest …

a week of spring: lilac

Saturday I came home feeling under the weather yesterday, so I wasn’t able to post.  I’m sorry for missing a day of my “week of spring!” This last picture of the week is of a little lilac bush that is less than one foot high, but full of new growth. My vegetable plants are important because I spend so much time growing them from seed and I enjoy the harvest so much. My perennial flowers are enjoyable because they brighten up my home and it feels like finding secret treasure when they bloom. But I do have an emotional attachment to some of my plants, this lilac included.  It made a long journey to Boston from Windsor, New York.  When my parents decided to sell the home I grew up in, I took a few bits of memorabilia: -a forsythia bush I gave my father one year for his birthday -an indigo I gave him for father’s day that I had purchased from The New England Wildflower Association -a lupine, because my mother and I …

a week of spring: forsythia

Thursday I really do despise television.  I’ve been called pretentious for saying those words but I can’t help it.  Sometimes I do watch old episodes of Law & Order or CSI (I’m a crime novel junkie, so these shows do appeal to me).  If I’m ill, I’ll watch really terrible Lifetime made-for-TV movies with the hope of falling asleep.  Normally, TV just makes me feel like I’ve wasted time and I’d honestly rather listen to music.  The last time I really got into a TV show, it was The Pillars of the Earth miniseries, which is based on one of my favorite books. Whenever people are talking about new TV shows, I usually glaze over…until my mother somehow recently got me hooked on American Idol.  Tonight, I found myself asking Chris to take a break from his hockey game so that I could see who got kicked off Idol this week.  He did it with a faux scowl (and all the sports-loving men reading this probably think I’m horrible) , but who can argue with …

a week of spring: garlic

Wednesday I just got back from dinner at La Siesta.  I am happily full of a vegetarian burrito, tortilla chips, salsa, and of course SANGRIA (so pardon any typos). It was so nice to have a little impromptu date with Chris. In honor of Mexican food, date night, and a little spice, I’m sharing a photo of my sprouting garlic.  Honestly, the garlic wasn’t in the plan because I didn’t think it would come up.  However, I’m so excited at the prospect of having my own fresh garlic this summer because we will definitely use it and love it.  We use garlic in just about everything.

a week of spring: daffodil

Tuesday Today, I did something really indulgent and unplanned after work.  I got a facial.  Let me tell you, it was heaven.  We have to remember to be good to ourselves.  That could be reading a good book with a glass of wine to sip, taking a bath with lots of candles lit, going for a power walk on a sunny day, cooking a new vegetarian meal, taking a yoga class, going on a hike, writing in a journal (or on a blog!), or whatever it is that makes you happy and relaxed.  I’m just listing the things that make me happy of course. My face feels bright and sunny, so I’ll share a photo of a daffodil outside that is radiant.  I just planted daffodil bulbs last fall for the first time, so this is truly my very first one to bloom ever. A poem by Wordsworth dedicated solely to this lovely flower: Daffodils I wander’d lonely as a cloud That floats on high o’er vales and hills, When all at once I saw …

a week of spring: tulip

Monday I walked in the door tonight and dinner was made!  I have to confess something and you can’t tell my parents:  I love brussel sprouts.  Add a little olive oil and some creative spices (Chris used a spice mixture from Oleana, the most amazing restaurant ever), and these little nutritious bundles taste so delicious (and load you up with Vitamin C, A, B6 and other great stuff). Today (ahem–meatless Monday might I remind you), I would like to share with you a photo of one of my revered tulips.  It is oh so close to blooming, yet beautiful even without the color.  Tulips are like graceful sculptures with their long, sweeping leaves.  Their colors are dramatic and, sadly, short-lived.  I think this is what makes them special and what makes us enjoy them so very much.  They are little reminders to enjoy the important moments in life, even if they don’t last long.

a week of spring: primrose

Sunday I just spent the last five days in Stoddard and Lebanon, New Hampshire, where the weather can turn from calm to angry in a matter of minutes.  If you can drive there this time of year, you can drive anywhere. In the past few weeks, I’ve experienced getting stuck on a hill after a heavy snow (and driving white-knuckled down steep Pitcher Mountain), driving 40 miles an hour on 89 because of blinding fog, facing both hail and sleet head-on, and inching my way home through a rain storm that my wipers could barely keep up with.  There is still snow on the ground there and little vegetation to speak of.  I pulled into my driveway last night and couldn’t believe what I saw.  Even at night, I could see my forsythia bush blazing and the grass looked lush and green.  Spring, my friends, literally began while I was away. Today, I wandered around my yard to see what plants were coming back to life.  Joyfully, I see nearly everything peeking up with the …

Grow Great Grub

If I ever meet Gayla Trail, I might just have to hug her to show my gratitude.  I found myself in a hospital waiting room with my father pacing…anxiously…and ready to crawl the walls.  We found little ways of getting each another through those 5 hours, one of which was thumbing through this wonderful book together to pass the time and think happy thoughts. If you thought you were a plant geek prior to reading this, brace yourself.  You’ll be dreaming of warm summer days, tomato sandwiches, and ways to fit in a few extra pots for herbs you may never have even heard of yet (Shiso? Count me in!). Seriously, Gayla Trail has a very approachable way of introducing her readers to container and small-space gardening.  Mark my words, she really knows her stuff.  From inventive ways of starting your seeds to growing your favorite flowers, herbs, vegetables, and fruit (ranging from pest control to companion planting), you’ll be so ready to go when your last possible chance of frost passes.  Aside from legitimately solid information and …

heartstrings to seedlings

I’m sure you can tell by the weeks that have passed without a post that something has been going on.  I don’t have the courage to write about everything just yet, but let me just say it has been the most intense and scary few weeks I’ve had in all of my 32 years thus far. Life has a way of organizing and prioritizing your time and energy for you. A few weeks ago, after I read this article, Chris and I sat down to list out some changes we wanted to make.  It is true, you have to make time to make changes. From which credit card to pay off first and how often we’d actually sit down and eat at the dinner table together to where we’d go on vacation this year and how we could afford to start an organic veggie farm in 10 years, we hashed out a real plan of change.  Two days later, I got some news that threw every possible plan out the window.  When something big happens …