Monday, July 31, 2006

The Poop On Junk Mail

This appeared in the 7/28/06: Dollar Stretcher Tips and I just had to share it. My sister is a vet tech and uses shredded paper for her cat's box and it works well but wait until I tell her this idea! For more great tips check out The Dollar Stretcher.

An Appropriate Ending

I have found a great way to recycle unwanted junk mail, credit
card advertisements and any other unwanted paper product. I
shred all of it in my paper shredder and use it instead of cat
litter. This works like a charm and it didn't take my cat any
time to get used to it. Also, I've heard the clay used in
clumping cat litter may not be good for cats. When I first
started doing this, I used 25% shredded paper and 75% cat
litter. With each litter box change, I slowly reduced the cat
litter and added more paper.

Now I don't mind the junk mail all that much. I'm saving
money, reusing material and protecting my personal information
all at once!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

More on Molasses

Barbara asked for more info about blackstrap molasses yesterday. Here's a quote from Wikipedia.

Blackstrap molasses
Blackstrap molasses is the dark liquid byproduct of the process of refining sugar cane into table sugar. It is made from the third boiling of the sugar syrup and is the concentrated byproduct left over after the majority of sucrose has been crystallized. Blackstrap molasses is mostly sugar by calories[1], but unlike refined sugars, it contains significant amounts vitamins and minerals. Blackstrap molasses is a source of calcium, magnesium, and iron. One tablespoon provides up to 20 percent of the daily value of each of those nutrients.[2][3].

As I mentioned to Barbara, I like using blackstrap molasses because of the calcium and iron. For the entire article on molasses click here

Saturday, July 29, 2006

BBQ Chickpeas

Jim has joined in on the last two morning jogs. Its no surprise but he's also faster than me. Oh well, I shall plod on with my stumpy little legs. When we started out, a trip around the lake took about an hour. Today we cut it down to 49 minutes. I guess that means I'm slow but getting a little less slow (to say I'm getting faster would just be ridiculous!)

Yesterday I made BBQ Chickpeas inspired by a recipe of the same name from the Compassionate Cook. My version was a lot quicker and it tasted great alongside a veggie hot dog and some fresh sweet corn. The recipe is a little light on the details but you'll get the idea.

Dice a small onion, place in a saucepan with a bit of olive oil and cook until browned. Add:

Enough water to cover the bottom of the pan
about 4 cups cooked chickpeas
about 1 cup of ketchup
1/3 cup blackstrap molasses
refil measuring cup with about 1/2 cup of water and whisk to get residue of ketchup and molasses out and pour this into the pot as well

The sauce mixture should just about cover the chickpeas. If it doesn't you may need to add a bit more ketchup or water. Bring this to a boil. Lower to a simmer and let cook, uncovered about 15 minutes. We all thought it was delicious.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Places to Find New Veg Recipes

I've come across some new places to find recipes. Checkout these links:


Meatout Mondays
There's a recipe for Nutty Flax Granola in the most recent Meatout Mondays newsletter that I'm itching to try.

Robin Robertson's Sample Recipes

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Family that Exercises Together...

...smells bad together! Although that's not untrue, its not the point I was hoping to make. This has been the summer of family physical activity so far. My seven year old son has joined Tasha and I on our morning jogs around the lake. He's so much faster than I am, its really embarassing.

On the days we don't jog, we do a yoga or pilates video and the whole family has been joining in. Its been a lot of fun to see everyone gather together like this. I'm sure if anyone peeked in our windows they'd think we were nuts but that's ok.

The kids also take several bike rides, roller blading and scooter trips everyday as well. Jim and I join in when we can. I really love the way we've built exercise into our daily life even without me going to the gym.

All this talk of exercise has made me hungry! The goal of Wednesday's meals is to cleanout the fridge to make room for the veggies that Jim will be bringing up from the CSA tonight. That means tonight's meal needs to include beets, turnips, kale stems, and beet greens. The beets and turnips will be cut into strips, sprayed with a bit of olive oil and roasted in the oven. They'll resemble French Fries when they're cooked. I think this is the most delicious way to enjoy beets and turnips.

The kale stems need to be cooked a long time to soften them up. They work best as a substitute for celery in stews, soups or chilis. I'm still on the fence about what dish I'll use them in. Whatever it is will be going into the slow cooker. This same dish will probably wind up with the beet greens in it as well.

Viola, lots of room for the veggies Jim's bringing up.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Who Knew Figs Could Be So Tasty?

A few months ago, I got some dried figs from our food coop. A fellow member was looking to split 25 pounds and I agreed to take some. She extolled the virtues of the mighty dried fig; excellent source of dietary fiber, has some calcium and iron. Getting the figs sounded like a good idea, but they looked so shrively and unappealing that no one wanted to touch them.

Thanks to The Garden of Vegan by Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer, this is a problem no more! Their recipe for Raspberry Fig Breakfast Bars is out of this world. I made it for the second time yesterday and served it to my parents and aunts while they were visiting. Now perhaps this is an unfair test since my mom and her sisters had a fig tree in their yard growing up, but they all loved it. My kids all loved it as well.

Its a little sweet for my taste so we cut the sugar from 1/2 cup down to a little over a 1/4 cup. Also the original recipe calls for using an 8 x 8 inch pan but I had good luck doubling the recipe and using a 9 x13 inch pan. This time I cheated and used store bought raspberry jam but last time I made my own raspberry jam using the strawberry jam recipe I mentioned back in June. I just substituted raspberries for strawberries.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Cooking on a Rainy Day

Saturday was a chilly, rainy day. The kids had a day of movies and playing in the garage. Jim dove into putting up the ceiling fan in our bedroom. I headed to the kitchen to get a little cooking done.

I made Gluten Roast from VegWeb. I hate getting my hand all gooky mixing this recipe but my kids think its fun. I doubled the recipe and made it in a 9 x 13 inch pan. Since the pan was shallow the cooking time didn't change. Everyone in my house loves this concoction. In the interest of less gooey fingers, I'd like to try mixing the all the ingredients, except the vital wheat gluten, together first and then adding the vital wheat gluten. I just always accidentally add the water first and then remember that I want to try this.

I also made Chikin Nuggets, another VegWeb Recipe. I'm not necessarily recommending this recipe but I think it makes a good springboard for kid friendly vegan finger food. I've tinkered with this recipe to the point where I like their texture and the way they hold their shape but the taste is still bland. A little ketchup or barbeque sauce makes this a fun treat for the kids but it still needs work. Here's the version I made yesterday, in case you feel like experimenting:

1 cup tvp
1 cup water
1 Tbs vegetable broth powder
2 tsp vital wheat gluten
1 heaping Tbs flaxseed meal

Combine the tvp and water, let sit until water is absorbed about 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Combine:
1 Tbs cornmeal
1 Tbs nutritional yeast

Drop tablespoon size amounts of the tvp mixture into this and roll to coat. Flatten on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, turn and bake another 15 minutes.

I want to try this recipe without rolling it in the cornmeal mixture. Its just too dry and gritty. I suspect you could just add the nutritional yeast to the tvp mixture and it would work just as well. I'd like to perfect this recipe and then make and freeze a ton of them.

I also made Cindy O's "Chicken" and Rice Soup for the Soul and Matthew's Spicy Tomato Peanut and Kale Pasta from La DOlce Vegan! by Sarah Kramer. These were so simple and so delicious!

Today was a nicer day and since I cooked so much yesterday, I spent much less time in the kitchen. Jim also got to take home a real variety of foods for his bachelor meals. That's a nice reward for installing the ceiling fan, don't you think?

Friday, July 21, 2006

Baked Chickpea Snack

Vivacious Vegan asked how I baked the chickpeas. I thought others might be interested, so here it is. I first saw a recipe like this in How It All Vegan by Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer. It was called Chickpean Nibbles. It didn't sound like anything I'd want to try.

One day while talking to my very carnivorous brother, he mentioned that he was baking chickpeas. It turns out, he and his wife love these. That really peaked my interest. I had to try them!

I grease two large cookie sheets so I can make two different flavors but that's really up to you. The measurements are approximate. You want to wind up with a single layer of chickpeas that covers the entire bottom of your cookie sheet. Here are our two favorite ways to make these:

3 cups cooked chickpeas
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp cajun spices


3 cups cooked chickpeas
2 Tbs tamari
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Combine, spread on greased cookie sheet and put in preheated 400 degree oven. I bake them about 15 minutes, stir and then bake another 15 minutes. You may want to bake them a little longer if you prefer a crispier snack.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

What I Brought Home from the Coop

Our monthly food pickup from the cooperative was yesterday. Here's what we bought and why:

25 pounds baby lima beans
These are creamy and delicious, nothing like those nasty, starchy things you remember from the frozen mixed vegetables we had as kids. Everyone in my family loves these.

25 pounds bulgur
This quick cooking grain is great to use in the summer when you want to minimize kitchen time. I sometimes use it in place of rice.

25 pounds chick peas
Chick peas are so versatile. We love them cold in salads, pureed in hummus, baked as a snack, the list could go on and on.

case silken soft tofu
We need this to make our vegan ice cream. I have used it to make a quiche like concoction in a pinch but its not my tofu of choice for anything other than ice cream.

case of Light Life Jumbo Smart Dogs
Its summer time, the kids wanted veggie hot dogs and these seem to be about the best tasting vegan hot dogs I've found.
Warning to new vegetarians/vegans: Veggie hot dogs are a pale imitation of traditional hot dogs. They may look like a hot dog but that's where the similarity ends.

cashew butter
We got this to give a bit of variety from our usual peanut butter. We love almond butter as well but we only buy it on sale because its so pricey.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Best Vegan Milkshake I Ever Made

Yesterday was so hot that when we tried to make ice cream, we couldn't. The gel filled container was defrosting faster than the ice cream mixture was freezing. This left me with the unfrozen ice cream mixture and four sweaty kids who had been counting on ice cream. I put a tray of ice in my blender, poured the ice cream mixture over it and gave it a whirl. The result was essentially a thick shake and it was delicious.

We skipped the chocolate chips added a few other things to the recipe this time just for the sake of variety. I tossed in 1/4 cup carob powder, a handful of chopped walnuts and a few sprigs of mint. The mint really gave it a refreshing taste.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Our Day at the Tag Sale

Our day of tag saling is as much about what we didn't buy as it is about what we did buy. Jusy to give new readers some background, there is an annual craft fair and tag sale held this weekend every year. Many of the town's residents hold there own tag sales the same day. This year was no exception.

This was the first year that my sons really had an understanding of the event. My 7 year old son bought his very own pup tent for a dollar. Its currently pitched out in the yard and he's thrilled with his purchase. My 6 year old son bought a batting helmet and a mini bat for ten cents and he is equally thrilled.

There was a cub scout troop that was selling games and puzzles. We picked up Yahtzee and Mickey Mouse Yahtzee, as well as a puzzle. We actually took Yahtzee to the beach with us this afternoon. I think we're becoming Yahtzee addicts.

The library book sale is always the highlight of the day and this year was no exception. Its always like a treasure hunt finding new books and authors to explore. We walked away with two very full bags spending a total of six dollars.

The girls are always good at picking out a few bargains. They got a lovely table lamp for their bedroom free. They also chipped in and spent two dollars on a pair of roller skates. (They wanted to see what it was like when I was a kid.)

I love cast iron and I found a decorative cast iron utensil set that will look great in my kitchen for two dollars.

Our final stop was at an old camp (for those of you not familar with this term, its a summer bungalow) that had just been sold with its furnishings. The new owners were selling the entire contents because they were planning a major renovation. I was really looking forward to this sale. It had all the makings of a treasure hunt. Instead it turned out to be the great dissapointment of the day.

First of all, nothing was priced and I really hate that. Secondly, the presentation was terrible. There were piles and piles of linens that reeked of mildew. There were mattresses that were mildewy as well. Half broken kitchen and household items littered the floor. All were "for sale" as the new owner kept pointing out as she followed Jim and I around. "Does she think we're going to steal something?" Jim asked me when she finally left us alone to follow someone else.

There was a piece of furniture that had potential as a small bookshelf but it needed work. I was prepared to offer her $5 when she said she'd let us have it for $20. Thats when I knew I was ready to leave.

"I'm throwing everything that doesn't sell in the dumpster," she told us repeatedly but the prices she quoted were not in line with this. It seemed to me that she would have done a lot better to lower her prices since she was planning to throw the stuff out anyway. As we walked out the dumpster was being delivered. I'm sure it wound up being filled to the top.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

We Did It!

Tasha and I jogged around the lake the last two mornings! I just had to share our little victory. Jim, on the other hand, took a tumble while roller blading and is currently nursing a sprained wrist. Poor guy, he was really doing great and now I doubt we'll get him up on blades again.

Today was the the big tag sale day in town. I'll share our finds tomorrow.

Friday, July 14, 2006

French Dressing

This recipe is based on the Sweet Tomato-y French recipe from The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyzyn. Some of the changes I made were based on taste (using garlic powder instead of minced garlic, onion powder instead of minced onion and less sugar), others were made because I was out of an ingredient (white vinegar instead of red wine vinegar.) One change was made just because I forgot to add an ingredient (I forgot the canola oil.) This has become a family favorite. Its another example of a condiment that's vegan without being in your face about it.

I make this in an old ketchup bottle. To cut down on waste and mess, measure 2/3 cup water and pour it into the empty ketchup bottle. Put your finger at the spot the water comes up to or draw a line on the outside of the bottle. Pour out the water and fill to that spot. Viola, you've measured your ketchup without trying to figure out how to get it all out of the measuring cup.

Katie's Catalina Dressing
2/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder

Combine in an old ketchup bottle, cover and shake well. Refrigerate.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Rainy Day Fun

Yesterday it was pouring rain. This worked out well because we had some errands to run. One of the errands was to pick up a microwave from our local freecycle group. Like so much of the stuff we've given and recieved on freecycle, it was in beautiful shape but no longer useful to its previous owner. Since our microwave died (it had been a wedding present in 1990), this was quite a find.

On the way home we got stuck in traffic and discovered a new thrift store. Leenie found a pair of inline skates that were my size and begged me to get them so she could teach me to skate. My skating skills are limited to roller skating back in the early 80's but since the skates were only $5 I decided to give it a try.

When we got home we cleared out one side of the garage and spent the rest of the afternoon skating around the garage. I'm still quite unsteady but it was a great way to spend a rainy afternoon with the kids. We often use the garage like this on rainy days. Its a nice change from watching movies, which we also did.

Today, Leenie is trying to convince Jim to try skating with his inline skates, which were a freecycle find. I guess I'll give it another try as well.

On the food front, Jim joined us last night bringing several huge bags of veggies from our CSA. We spent the evening getting these stored away. We have a very small fridge here so this can take quite a bit of creativity.

To maximize space in the fridge, we chopped and froze the garlic scapes, scallions, cilantro and the fringy part of the fennel. We also shredded the zucchini and froze it in 4 cup portions since this is the amount I use to make zucchini bread. All of these foods can be frozen without cooking. Although, they work best in cooked foods because once they are defrosted, they get mushy. Since they are already cut they make cooking go much more quickly.

Leafy greens deteriorate the fastest, so we'll try to use them today and tomorrow. The other veggies like cucumbers, kale, beets and turnips are more durable so they'll be used later.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Missing Granola Recipe

I'm not certain what went wrong with the granola link yesterday but here's the recipe it should have linked to. It combines my favorite elements of several granola recipes. The most important bit of wisdom that I've gleaned in my years of granola making is add dried fruit to the granola at serving time, NOT before cooking.

In a large mixing bowl combine the following:
1/2 cup brown sugar (although lately I've been using only 1/4 cup and increasing the molasses)
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup blackstrap molasses

Stir in:
5 cups uncooked oatmeal
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1 cup sunflower seeds or chopped walnuts
1 cup shredded coconut

Spread onto greased pan and bake at 300 degrees for 25-30 minutes stirring occasionally. We enjoy this with raisins, dates or cranberries and soymilk.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Reheatable Meal Ideas

With Jim in one place for the first half of the week and me in another, there are some unique cooking challenges to be overcome. Despite my best intentions, I've found myself in the same predicament as last year with no neatly labeled meals in the freezer. To combat this, I take a serving from each meal I make on the days he isn't here and freeze it. When he leaves us, he takes the frozen, single portion meals with him.

He also leaves with premade breakfasts. Last week he had homemade granola. This week he took home banana bread. In the past he's taken home pancakes and vegan French toast, which reheat nicely in the toaster oven.

This basic concept could be useful to people in other situations as well, for example people who work opposing shifts. (I know several people who work shifts opposite their spouses to avoid day care costs.) Sometimes its just so convenient to have a ready to heat meal. Why shouldn't the frugal among us, who haven't mastered the art of once a month cooking, enjoy this convenience as well?

I'd love to give once a month cooking a try, not because I want to eat from the freezer for a whole month but because the convenience of having reheatable meals. I haven't been that thrilled with the recipes I've found so far. Check out this post to see some examples. One of my summer goals is to organize the pile of recipes that are in a pile and the ones that are shoved (barely) into a binder. I'll be looking through these recipes with an eye on ones that would be suitable for freezing. It should be an amusing task since some of these recipes date back to my earliest days as a vegetarian.

If you're new to freezing foods, check out the current issue of The Home Economiser newsletter. There's a great article on freezing food that explains the hows and the whys of it all. I really recommend this newsletter. I think Annette & Steve pick up where Amy Dacyzyn left off.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Simplest Vegan Ice Cream Ever

This recipe was shared on the Vegetarian Resource Group's list back in August 2003. Its our family's favorite.

Here's the original recipe:

Chrissa's Very Vegan Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

1 pkg mori-nu soft silken tofu
1 cup vanilla soymilk
1/2 cup oil
1 cup sugar
1 Tbs vanilla extract
dash of salt
1/2 to 1 cup vegan semi sweet chocolate chips, finely chopped

Combine all ingredients, except chocolate chips, in blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Freeze. Blend again until smooth and add chocoalte chips. Blend until mixed and refreeze.

If using an ice cream maker, pour blended ingredients in but wait until last five minutes to add chocolate chips.

Here's my version:
Katie's Very Vegan Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

1 pkg mori-nu soft silken tofu
1 1/2 cup vanilla soymilk
1 cup sugar
1/2 to 1 cup vegan semi sweet chocolate chips

Follow the above directions. I use an ice cream maker to make mine.

Here's an explanation of the changes I've made, in case you're wondering how my mind works. First of all, I eliminated the oil because I saw no need for it. Who needs the extra calories anyway? To make up for the lost liquid, I increased the vanilla soymilk. Since we were using vanilla soymilk, the vanilla extract seemed redundant and needlessly expensive, so I eliminated it. I don't chop the chocolate chips because it just makes a mess, no matter how I do it.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Fitting in the Morning Jog

I've been jogging most mornings with my oldest daughter in a desperate attempt to stay in shape while not teaching this summer. So far so good. We started out mostly walking and we've gradually improved to mostly jogging. My daughter is much faster than I am but she likes the company so we continue to jog together.

Its so hard to get my behind out of bed in the morning to do this but once I've done it, I'm glad I did. Its also helped get our day started much earlier than we otherwise would. I know I've said it before, but I'm really not a morning person. The extra morning hours have helped us feel less rushed about chores and allowed us to better enjoy our leisure time though.

In an attempt to maximize our exercise time, we've added chore trips into the town onto the end of our jogs. Two days ago, we jogged/walked to town hall to pick up the dump pass. Today, after our regular jog, we headed to Stewarts to pick up orange juice (I know its not organic but you have to compromise somewhere!). We carried it home in our canvas bag, which got a strange look from the cashier or maybe she was just overcome by the sight of two smelly, sweaty women buying orange juice at 9:15am.

I force my daughter and myself to stretch when we get home. Its so important to stretch after exercising. We've done some standard stretches and some yoga. I'm pushing for more yoga since I'm planning to start working towards my yoga certifications soon.

Tomorrow, we're planning to jog all the way around the lake. Its a little over three miles. I know my daughter can do it, she's run two 5K races already but I'm a little concerned that I may make a fool of myself. Keep your fingers crossed.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Vegan Peanut Butter & Carob Frosting

Kyle's 6th birthday demanded some extra creativity. He wanted a cake with "good" frosting. He's not a fan of the powdered sugar based frosting that I grew up with. Actually, neither am I. Talking about it now, I can almost feel the sugar headache coming on.

The other challenge in creating a frosting recipe is that chocolate doesn't agree with Kyle. This fabulous frosting had to be carob instead. The nail biting began early for me. Thank goodness it was only for immediate family or the stress would have been unbearable!

Using Lorna Sass' Carob Frosting recipe from her cookbook The Complete Vegetarian Kitchen as a template, I came up with this recipe. The kids all loved it. I thought it tasted a bit like the peanut butter cups of my youth.

Vegan Peanut Butter & Carob Frosting
Put 1/2 cup natural peanut butter in a measuring cup and let warm up to room temperature. Add:
3 Tbs sugar (I use turbinado sugar)
3 Tbs carob powder
about 3 Tbs vanilla soymilk (I ended up using a bit more than this. The soymilk is what makes it spreadable so you may need more or less.)

I mixed this by hand using a heavy spoon but if you prefer you could use a food processor to mix it. I just hate cleaning the food processor if I don't have to!

I served this on top of a Devil's Food Carob Cake recipe from the same cookbook. Kyle was thrilled with the results. If it tastes good second day, I may make another batch to serve to company this weekend.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Gardening News

My youngest son Kyle, ratted me out yesterday. He told the life guard that I make ice pops out of leftover juice, like watermelon. I'm sure the life guard is trying to figure out where one purchases watermelon juice to make these ice pops. Not to worry, its only a matter of time before Kyle tells him that the juice comes from the bottom of the bowl of watermelon after all the pieces are gone. Kids, you've got to admire their honesty, no matter how much it makes you cringe.

The boys have been helping me a lot with my gardening. I've transplanted some of my container plants into the ground here to see how they fair in the shadier, more acidic soil. I've attempted to make the conditions more hospitable using compost from our very busy worm bin. Its truly amazing how quickly the worms create useable compost. I've also moved some of the plants still in containers to different locations to see how they do as well. I'm hopeful that I've found a permanent location for my strawberry bed but only time will tell.

I have really begun to enjoy having fresh herbs at my fingertips. The purple basil is the most exciting herb that I'm growing but I think that just because I started it from seed and it actually grew.

My collards have been under attack from some green worm that I assume is a cabbage worm. Picking the nasty little things off the plants and scraping away what I think are the eggs, has become a daily event. It seems to be under control now. Whatever the little things are, they have no interest in my swiss chard, beet greens or turnip greens.

The boys have both been helping me create borders around some of these gardening spots with bricks left over from an earlier project. Its funny how adding a simple border can give a project a finished look.

Jim's having some gardening adventures of his own in Dutchess. He just informed me that some of the Jerusalem Artichokes are now taller than he is. We planted three varieties and the favorite will be planted up here next year.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

When Frugality and Safety Collide

Today we took the wooden swing set apart. Tomorrow, its going to the town dump. First, I have to stop at town hall and pick up a dump pass. You know you're not in Dutches County anymore when you ask what proof of residency they need to see and they simply say, "Well, where do you live? That's all you need to tell us." Truly nice people confuse me sometimes, especially early in the summer.

So why is the swing set going to the town dump rather than being repaired? Aside from being in really sad repair it was made with pressure treated wood, which is scary stuff indeed. Although we could have repaired it and probably made it last another year or two, we couldn't get past the health risk of it. We did salvage the wavy slide, although I'm not certain what we're going to do with it. For frugality to be successful it has to take long term costs, like health, into account.

Another area of safety that I've been ignoring, is the cracked handle on my pressure cooker. I know its dangerous and I've been using it anyway. I'm finally going to let Jim toss it before I wind up with burns all over my body and food all over the ceiling. He'll be thrilled, he spends the first few days we're away cleaning up all the mess that I never seem to get to. This fits right in with his "its broken, its in my way, its not mine, therefore it must be garbage" summer policy.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Sweet & Sour Coleslaw

I made this today and recieved mixed reviews, the kids loved it but Jim hated it. Then again, Jim only likes cabbage after its been boiled down into a limp, lifeless mass. He's never been a coleslaw fan.

I like it because its a different twist on coleslaw that doesn't rely on mayo for flavor. Its vegan without being overtly vegan, if you know what I mean. I'm not certain what newspaper the original recipe was clipped out of but I suspect it was from Jean Carper's USA Weekend column back in the mid 90's. As usual, I've tinkered with it a bit.

1 large head of cabbage, red or green will work

2 large carrots

Combine the cabbage and carrots in a large bowl with a tight fitting lid. Sprinkle the following over the cabbage and carrot mixture:
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp celery seed

Cover bowl and shake to evenly distribute sugar,salt and celery seed. Place in fridge for at least an hour. The cabbage will leach out a lot of liquid. If you don't like your coleslaw watery, you can place this mixture in a colander inside the bowl before placing it in the fridge so the liquid drains away. I can't stand to dirty any additional dishes if I don't have to, so I skip the colander.

Before serving stir in:
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar

Serve along with your favorite veggie burger, oven baked fries and crock pot baked beans. That's what we did.

I used the veggie burger recipe from Vegan With a Vengeance today. They were delicious despite my last minute substitution of shredded zucchini for mushrooms. Don't report me to Isa, I love her recipes too much for her to know that I tinker with them too!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Settling In

We're getting adjusted to life in the slow lane again. Its a good thing. Last night, we met up with some summer friends and went to their house for an impromptu bonfire.

It was the ultimate frugal get together. We sat around the bonfire which burned wood gathered on their property, our coffee mugs rested on end tables made of logs, also from their property. Everyone brought snacks to share. The kids, there were 10 all together ranging from 5 to 14, played outside together at a variety of invented games, basketball and skateboarding.

Its amazing how much fun you can have with so little preparation and expense.