Sunday, September 21, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

The ribs and bubble and squeak recipes from last week were amazing. The ribs tasted a little funny, but I think that's due to the BBQ sauce I was using and will definitely be making them again after I make up a big batch of my homemade BBQ sauce. This week the meals will be quick, easy, and mostly comfort food since I have a Chemistry II exam on Friday that I am completely not ready for.

Breakfasts this week: will be oatmeal with apples and walnuts (a favorite), blueberry muffins from the freezer, smoothies, or soy yogurt with berries and nuts (I've also tried the company's coconut milk yogurt, which is very good, but just doesn't have the protein that soy yogurt does).

Lunches: No-tuna melt (another favorite)/salad or dinner leftovers

Monday: Taco Casserole (a new recipe but a dish that we both like), spanish rice and salad
Tuesday:Vegan Mac n cheese - study food (not sure if I'll use my quick and easy recipe or try a new one)
Wednesday: Leftovers or something simple, I won't be home until 7:30
Thursday: Cuban Style Black beans and Papas Chorreadas (potatoes with tomato-cheese sauce)-- crock pot recipes
Friday: Lasagna Rolls, bread, and salad
Saturday: Curry with tofu, cauliflower and random veggie scraps over rice

Weekend Days

Yesterday was spent down at the beach with the Oceanography Society picking up trash for International Coastal Clean-up Day. We first stopped at a beach that already had five crews working on it, so we cleaned up in the dunes for a little bit (lots of bits of rope tangled in the grasses), then headed to a popular bonfire/party beach and spent two hours digging nails and broken glass out of old fire pits. We also found a large iron pipe of some sort and a wheel.

After I got back, David and I headed down to the North Country Fair on the Arcata Plaza, a two day festival started in 1973 to celebrate the diversity in our area and the beginning of fall. There are tons of art/craft, food, and information booths, and there's always live music playing somewhere in the plaza. We're planning on heading back down there today to maybe pick up a couple of things we saw yesterday for Christmas gifts and to enjoy some more music.

But since yesterday was spent away from the house, there's also the weekly cleaning, homework, laundry, menu planning, grocery shopping, and making pickles to take care of. I like trying to get most of the chores and homework done on Saturday so Sunday is left free to do cooking, canning, knitting, reading-for-fun (there's other books besides textbooks?), and spending the one day a week together that David and I both have off.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Most of the meals this week are quick and easy ones that David and I both enjoy. Be sure to head back over to Menu Plan Monday to see what everyone else is cooking up.

Monday: Pasta and Spicy Sausage, salad, whole wheat bread.
Tuesday: Ribs with bubble and squeak
Wednesday: Spaghetti and meatballs
Thursday: Baked tofu and left over bubble and squeak
Friday: Leftover veggie/tofu/whatever stir fry
Saturday: Leftovers/take out/whatever didn't get made during the week

After watching Fast Food Nation, David's given up red meat (I'm hoping he'll give meat up all together, but I'm just going to wait and see what happens), and is more open to vegetarian dishes, so meal planning has become easier. That and he works four nights a week, so I can save meals he won't like for those nights.

Busy and Relaxing Day

Last night I went to bed around 10, and didn't wake up this morning until 9. I was hoping to be up earlier, but I figure my body must have needed the sleep, and I didn't have any pressing plans for today, so it really didn't matter.

I got up and got dressed, and spent an hour knitting (well, most of it was spent taking out a couple of rows so that I could do them over again correctly) while reading blogs. Then I emptied the dish washer, ate leftover almond tofu for breakfast, loaded up the dishes that didn't get done last night, and ran the dishwasher.

After I got the kitchen all cleaned up, I dumped everything needed for a loaf of whole wheat bread in the bread machine and got that started, cut up and salted cucumbers and onions to make bread and butter pickles, and made a batch of watermelon raspberry lemonade to freeze for later. David and I sat down and made a grocery list, then he left for the store, and I've just now finished up the pickles and am waiting for them to finish processing in the water bath. I made three pints and a quart out of about 10 or 11 medium cucumbers. They taste so yummy though, so I might need to pick up more cucumbers next week at the farmer's market and make another batch.

Once David gets home, I'll start making pineapple zucchini bread and blueberry muffins. We're having pancakes and eggs (tofu scramble for me) for dinner tonight, so I plan on making up a bunch of extra pancakes and freezing them for quick breakfasts later this semester. My poor little freezer is packed to the rim, so after getting all the bread, muffins, lemonade, and pancakes in there I'll probably be done squirreling away food until we use some stuff up.

I have to admit, it's a little weird now opening my cupboards up and seeing things I've made myself and ingredients to make things, but nothing to eat right now (except fruit). I'll need to remedy that soon, and at least stock up on a few things that I can make a quick lunch or snack out of when I'm busy with school, but I like knowing that most of what I'm eating now is homemade and/or local.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Trying New Food

Since going vegan I've ended up trying lots of new food that I never thought I would, like tofu, seitan, tempeh, soymilk, and nutritional yeast. All of which I've come to love now. I've also tried many new fruits and veggies like leeks, parsnips, and kombucha squash. Some highlights were:

Cherimoya. A white fleshed fruit from South America, it tasted something like strawberry-banana yogurt with an almost pudding like texture. Not bad, although the big seeds were a pain to constantly spit out (maybe I was eating it wrong?). It's also called a custard apple.

Picture from Cook's Thesaurus

Kiwano Melon
. The inside was bright green and was similar to jello. Tasted like a mix of lime, kiwi, and cucumbers. I won't be having this again, although Sarah loved it and just about ate the whole thing in one sitting.

Dragon Fruit. Very pretty fruit from South America (this particular kind with the purple flesh is from Costa Rica). It tasted like peppery kiwi, and all the little black seeds made it feel like kiwi as well.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

With last week being so stress filled, and this one not looking much better, I went with mostly comfort food this week.

Monday: Baked penne with zucchini, mushrooms, and olives with some Teese vegan cheese on top.
Tuesday: Orange Tofu, brown rice (making extra to freeze and use as quiche crust next week), steamed veggies.
Wednesday: Late school night, so probably leftovers or something quick and easy like spaghetti
Thursday: Seitan Stroganoff over brown rice
Friday: Almond Tofu (yes, two Asian tofu dishes in one week, but what can I say, it really is my comfort food!)
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: Leftovers or simple throw-together dinner. Baking muffins and making one or two quiches for breakfasts over the week.

Head over to Menu Plan Monday and see what other people are making this week. There's so many tasty looking ideas out there, I'm bummed that there aren't more days in the week (weekend days of course, so I wouldn't have more school....)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

School Life

Last week was a stress filled and busy one, and while I'm hoping that the semester gets better from here, I'm having my doubts. What's worse is that Monday was labor day, so my week wasn't even as long as it could have been.

The week started out OK on Tuesday, with Physics and Biological Oceanography (bio ocean) and bio ocean lab. Nothing too bad here, just three hours at a microscope cataloging and drawing different diatom and dinoflagellate species (such as these guys; aren't they cute?).

Both of these pictures belong to the Center for Integrated Marine Technologies since I didn't get any good pictures through my microscope.

Wednesday, however, found me a basket case as I went through work and chemistry lecture a nervous wreck due to a chemistry quiz and oceanography speech on the plastic in the North Pacific Gyre. I won't know how I did on the quiz until tomorrow, but I don't have high hopes. And I'd love to say that I needlessly worried about the speech and pulled it off wonderfully, but I really can't say that since I BLACKED OUT and have no recollection of the speech at all. I remember the guy going before me sit down, and the guy going after me standing at the front of the room starting his speech, but between that is just a vague memory of staring at my cue cards wondering what the heck language they were written in. Talking with a classmate later, I seemed to have done OK, since he said my speech was the most coherent and informative of all the other speeches. I'll take his word for it, at least until I go over the speech with my professor (and chair of the department and former boss) and get my grade sometime this coming week. David was fantastic and just held me while I cried and slowly calmed down after getting home.

Thursday was a little better, with mostly a repeat of Tuesday. My bio ocean professor (and faculty advisor) has offered me a job monitoring harmful algae blooms off our coasts as part of a statewide study. I would love to take it, but am going to wait until I know a little more about what the job requires. She is also going to help me turn the job into my senior research project that I must complete before I graduate, so that's a big bonus. And it's much closer to my field of interest than the PG&E sampling is, so unless the hours are crazy I'll probably end up taking the job. After class I headed over to the Oceanography department mixer, which was fun, but I don't do too well with lots of people. I'm glad I went though, since I'm now signed up with the Oceanography club and talked to many people about the PG&E marine sampling project and hopefully some of them will apply.

Friday I muddled through physics lab and a chemistry lecture and headed home. I don't think I've ever been more glad for a weekend. I didn't get much of anything done (like housework or canning pickles), but I've spent a lot of time relaxing and detoxing from my week, and I have my homework done, a weekly menu planned for next week, I started knitting a washcloth (and have restarted it 4 times already), and have started reading Diet for a New America, which is turning out to be very good in a kind of depressing way....

I'm off now to do some more knitting and am hoping next week will be better.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Ups and Downs

The stress from school and work is already getting to me. I woke up this morning feeling cranky and just generally depressed. Poor David was tip-toeing around all morning before he went to work trying not to set me off. Hopefully this is just a short term thing, and in a day or two I'll be back to normal.

We went to the farmers market today and picked up lots of goodies. Flowers, cantaloupe, blackberries, raspberries, apples, peaches, cucumbers (for pickling), grapes, plums, and asian pears followed us home today. I'm going to make some bread and butter pickles and possibly try to make some apple-plum butter, and once the peaches ripen completely I'll peel them and freeze them for smoothies or pie.

Now that I have my computer back, I can also show you some pictures of what's been going on over here:

Freshly canned tomato sauce.

Picking blueberries at the local pick-your-own

Getting roses from David

Monday, September 1, 2008

Much Needed Rest

I'm so thankful today in Labor day and I don't have classes or work. Saturday and yesterday were spent climbing over rocks and getting drenched by incoming waves, and crawling through stinky Humboldt Bay mud. But everything is taken care of now (except some paperwork, which shouldn't take too long and I'll probably do tonight), so with the exception of two lab write-ups (mostly finished) and physics homework, I have the day to take care of housework and to just relax and possibly start some knitting.

Menu for this week:
Today: Make chili con "carne" (from Vegan Lunch Box) in crock pot, make a loaf of bread, and bake potatoes for tomorrow. I'll be freezing most of the chili and using some for dinner tonight and lunches throughout the week.
Tuesday: Baked Potato Soup (from Veganomicon) with homemade bread
Wednesday: Leftovers since I won't be home until almost 7pm
Thursday: The Oceanography Mixer is tonight so I'll be eating there or eating leftovers when I get home.
Friday: Pasta Primavera with Miso Dressing
Saturday: South of the Border Couscous salad
Sunday: Homemade pizza/calzones

Lunches (and snacks) from last week:
Monday: 4 "ham" roll-ups (veggie ham spread with vegan cream cheese and rolled), 1 plout, 1/2 nectarine, sweet potato fries, peanut butter oatmeal cookie, and one rice cake with peanut butter.
Tuesday: Slice of veggie meatloaf, colcannon (kale and mashed potatoes), mushroom gravy, granola bar, 1 lemon drop, an apple, and some carrots.
Wednesday: 7 pieces veggie sushi, 1 cup edamame in shell, soy sauce, apple, carrots with peanut butter, 1 lemon drop
Thursday: Slice of veggie meatloaf, colcannon (kale and mashed potatoes), mushroom gravy, 1 C blueberries (picked locally), granola bar
Friday: Didn't eat lunch (bad!), had a granola bar and an apple.