Sunday, July 10, 2011

The weekend has been a gift

Yes, if every weekend is special, this one has been particularly special. I used to be one of those people who worked in stores, always dreading the Saturday crowds, and never appreciating the weekend. Times have changed. And if every weekend is a delight, this one was truly a gift.

You see, originally I had planned to go to Philadelphia this weekend. I was going for a job-specific purpose, and that changed. Alex is always happy to go back to his hometown as frequently as we can, so he planned to tag along. But our Thursday night flight was delayed, and ultimately canceled.


I can’t help but be a little happy. After all, his mother had just finished with some pretty high-maintenance company, and my job thing had been rescheduled. So getting a refund on the tickets was quite a treat. This was worth the several hours in the airport, I think, to return home by 10:30 on Thursday instead of 5:00 on Monday.

I didn’t do much with this extra time. My fridge was bare, so I went to the grocery and the Farmers’ Market. I also went to The City Flea, which was about as small as I guessed it would be. I did get an idea for my next blender: the blender bike. If I’d been hungrier, I would have loved to hop on this Fender Blender and pedal my drink to blended bliss.


Back at home, I cooked some easy meals, but I also got into “cooking” mode and have plans to make something really incredible. For now, I took a cue from a restaurant we visited recently. It seems like when anyone learns I live in Ohio, they tell me to visit Northstar CafĂ© in Columbus. Well, I went. It did not live up to the hype.

Thankfully, Alex’s sister wanted to go – otherwise, I’d be embarrassed to have suggested such a mediocre place. However, I did glean one bit of goodness from them: broccoli with peanut sauce. We’ve all seen broccoli smothered in cheese, or broccoli in curry sauces, but this one was simply broccoli with a side of peanut sauce. I decided to recreate that at  home. Mine isn’t as thin as the stuff in the restaurant, but it was really good, and very different for me.


Peanut sauce: vague mix of peanut butter, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, water, rice vinegar, ginger, crushed red chili flakes, and agave. Thinned with water. It was delicious on broccoli alongside the farthest thing from a stir-fry: sloppy joes and mashed potatoes.

Oh, and the best part about not being in Philadelphia on Friday? I was home for the delivery of Quick and Easy Vegan Celebrations, which I won from Food Feud’s giveaway. Thanks, Maud!

Now my faithful partner Alex has seen two blog-related mailings lately, and he’s informed me that it’s time to host my own giveaway. When I asked him what I should give, he offered a night with him – a tofu-cake (not beefcake). He’s given me permission to post half-naked photos of himself on my blog, but I’m not sure I’m ready for that.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Leftovers across state lines

Quick supper solution: eat your leftovers. I am sometimes good about eating leftovers, sometimes bad about it. I do think my folks would have finished off the stewed zucchini and tomatoes we made during our visit, but I snatched more than half of the leftovers and carried them home in our cooler.

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The tomatoes and zucchini were stewed with some pre-mixed Cajun seasoning and were spicy! but perfect, and at home I served them over some brown rice and with a generous side of black eyed peas.

We’d also used a block of frozen tofu as an ice pack in the cooler, fully expecting to need to eat it on our trip, but instead I toted it home and cooked it last night. I dry-fried it and seasoned it with Bragg’s and more Cajun seasoning. Perfect, quick, and easy!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Visiting Back Home–kind of

I think I’ve gone back to visit my parents for Independence Day for the past four years. At least the last three, and I was there right after the 4th five years ago. Anyway, it’s a fluid tradition.


We bought watermelon, tomatoes, squash, and red cabbage. Some of the vegetables came from a small farm where the family was selling boxes of tomatoes from their backyard, and the melon was from Marie’s Produce, which is set up in a gas station parking lot at the intersection of two small roads. Some of the tomatoes looked really, really ugly, with scars and bruises and other serious imperfections, but once that was cut away they were still one thousand percent better than what I get at the grocery store and two hundred percent better than what I get at my farmers’ market.


We played with the dog.


I took photos of my folks.



This visit, I really wanted to stick around their place more than we have in the past. This is the first trip back with no grandparents in town to visit, and the drive to Memphis and back feels pretty long. We did go out to brunch at Three Angels Diner, where I ordered the tofu scramble. I didn’t take a picture because I thought it looked like barf, but it looked just like this photo posted on Yelp. It did have chunks of portabella and red bell pepper, but it was just a lot of one thing on a plate. At least I was hungry for supper three hours later!

We went to a great little fireworks show in the small town they live near, ate veggie dogs and red cabbage slaw, and generally had a good time.