Friday, February 29, 2008

Yogurt, Socks & a Scarf Rescue Tutorial

I seem to have overcome my mental cooking constipation. I tried Melanie's yogurt recipe and am delighted to report, it worked! It was so exciting to take the cover off the thermos and see yogurt. It's a little tangier than the store bought Silk yogurt but that's ok by me. I packed some in Jim's lunch today with dried blueberries stirred in. I'm anxiously awaiting his report.

I'm on day two of my latest batch of sprouts. This go round I'm sprouting alfalfa, mung beans, broccoli and red clover. I've taken to using less seed than recommended and letting my sprouts get a little bigger instead. It makes them seem like a more substantial food source to me.

I meant to mention that I had tried using half the amount of sugar in the carob banana muffins that I made a few days ago. The results were good. Sure the muffins aren't as desserty but why do they need to be? If I were making them for company I would probably use more sugar but for us in everyday life, I think health should come first and that means using less sugar.

I've finished the first sock of Tasha's pair!

I'm am so excited! The sock could be tighter around the ankle but she didn't seem to notice and I have no plans to point it out. I'm going to check my gauge. I suspect smaller needles will solve my problem on future pairs. Fortunately, when I bought these needles off ebay I bought them as part of a set. I now have double pointed needles in all sizes 10 and under so no trip to the store is required.

Here's a little tutorial on how to give new life to a favorite scarf that's gotten raggy around the edges. Jim's had this scarf as long as I've known him and, though it pains me to admit this, I met him 20 years ago this past December. Jim loves this scarf but it looked like something had taken a bite out of the edges in several places.

I thought about just folding the edges under and stitching but that would create a right and wrong side which didn't seem like a good idea. I mean we casually through on scarves and wear them as they fall, how goofy would big seams look if the wrong side was facing out?

Instead I opted to fold one side in.

Next, I folded the other side in to create a finished edge. In the interest of keeping the scarf with two right sides, I brought this edge over the the other edge I'd folded. This meant folding the scarf essentially in half, which most people do when they wear it anyway.

Once it was pinned, I ironed the edges to make them flat. The I made four seams to hold everything in place. One seam needs to run along the finished edge that you've created. Another two need to run along the pieces that were folded under. The fourth one is to hold the two sides of the scarf together without creating a bubble at the edge.

Here's Jim modeling the finished product.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Abracadabra, Watch This Lid Magically Reappear!

I found the missing thermos bottle lid. I can't even take credit for it. When I went out into the kitchen to look for it, it had magically appeared on the counter. I swear it wasn't there when I left the kitchen. Gremlins? Children? Early onset Alzheimers? You decide because I wouldn't even try to guess at this point.

No matter how the lid materialized, the fact that it did means I can try my hand at yogurt making tonight! I am psyched! I'm going to hedge the bet and use vanilla soymilk for my first batch. I'm thinking of it in much the same way as sourdough starter. If I can get a successful batch going, I should never have to buy yogurt again, not even to use as starter. More on this tomorrow.

Speaking of sourdough, that's something I'd like to revisit in the future. I like the idea of never needing to buy yeast again. I mean what could be more local than the spores floating around your own home? (Eww, that doesn't make sourdough sound very appealing, no matter how technically correct it is.) For now, I have a huge amount of yeast in the freezer so its a down the road project.

I did make a several batches of carob banana muffins with walnuts yesterday. I also mustered up the energy to make split pea soup, biscuits and burger patties out of leftover sloppy joe but that's pretty much where my energy ran out. On tonight's agenda is French Onion soup along with Cajun black eyed peas and collards. I still don't feel like cooking but I also don't feel like spending when there's tons of food options in the house!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

See My Sock!

I have to confess, my cooking has been rushed and unimpressive for the last few days. I feel like the creative cooking portion of my brain is hibernating. I was able to rescue a miso soup that went horribly wrong last night. I grabbed what I thought was celery out of the freezer and tossed it in the pot with some onions. It turned out it was basil, so the miso soup I planned to make became a tomato soup instead. It came out fine but I really hadn't planned on serving tomato soup with sloppy joe. Its just too much red in one meal.

Over the weekend, I made Fig Not Ins from Vegan with a Vengeance. They were very good. I don't know what it is about figs. It seems lately no matter what recipe we try them in, we like it initially but grow weary of it very quickly. Its odd but the fig stash is beginning to dwindle so its becoming less of a problem.

I'm hoping to wake my brain back up today because I have a lot I want to accomplish in the food department. I want to make bread, muffins, granola so breakfasts and lunches don't continue to be the confused hell that have become in the last two days. I also need to set up more sprouts. Plus, I'm on a quest to find the missing thermos bottle lid that is preventing me from trying Melanie's yogurt recipe. Honestly, where could a thermos lid go?? If I can't find it myself, I'll offer a $1 to the child who finds it first. You'd be amazed at how quickly my sons can find things when there's a monetary value attached.

I've decided that my boxers for the boys project will be a summer project. My goal is to make each of my sons 8-10 pairs of boxers before school starts this fall. I'll begin saving material for this task right away. I think the paper bags that the bulk flour I buy comes in will work well for making the boxer pattern, although I'm not going to do any measuring until June. My sons grow too darn fast. For now, I'll just save the bag to use later.

Then there are the socks...

I'm really psyched about the way they're turning out. The color pattern is dictated by Tasha, she wants funky socks. I'm also working on a scarf with pockets for Leenie. She wants pockets so she'll never have to worry about losing her gloves again. That's pretty good logic for a 15 year old. Thankfully, I really love knitting. There's something so therapeutic about it.

I leave you with these thoughts...
Why Knitting Is Easier Than Raising a Teenager
1. Knitting never talks back.
2. Knitting always shows progress.
3. In knitting, when you screw up you get to go back and fix your errors.
4. When your knitting pisses you off, you can put it in a bag and walk away - it won't follow you and continue to badger you.
5. Your knitting will never tell you your music is awful and beg you to change the station.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Meet Gilbert II

Check out Gilbert II, Leenie's marshmallow popcorn snowman. Just for the record, Gilbert I is her cellphone. The popcorn balls we made with the vegan marshmallows were great for molding into balls but a little too sweet to enjoy eating. (That assessment came from Leenie and I, Rob and Kyle had no complaints. Personally, I'd stick to the caramel popcorn recipe in the Tightwad Gazette.)

I'd Rather Be Cooking or Knitting Anyway!

If you step outide my front door, see that its snowing and shake your head from side to side, here's what you'll see.

The pictures don't show it but the snow is still coming down. No school for my kids today and my job will likely close as well. Looks like we'll be hanging out in the house today. I think we'll make some popcorn balls with the vegan marshmallows I got from Pangea. Did you know they sell the funny looking ones at half price? I figure the fiber of the popcorn will negate some of sugar shot of the marshmallows. If that fails, I'll send them all out to shovel the driveway!

Speaking of expensive treats, soy yogurt is so expensive that I rarely by it. Plus, it has always irritated me that yogurt cups aren't recyclable. That having been said, there are times when yogurt is the only thing standing between you and your upset tummy, like when you're on antibiotics. Jim's the patient. He's taking antibiotics as he awaits a root canal appointment Monday. Doesn't that sound like fun?

In the interest of his decreased stomach pain, I've had to suck it up and buy soy yogurt. I've been buying the 32 ounce containers of Silk Vanilla yogurt to minimize my cost and plastic waste but everyone keeps eating the yogurt like its some rare delicacy, which, around here, I guess it is. As a result we're going through a lot of yogurt.

Because of this, Jim and I were toying with buying a yogurt maker until I came across this post from Melanie over at Bean Sprouts. Thermos bottles I have, so it seems all I really need is a food thermometer, which I really should have gotten years ago anyway.

Now for a puzzle. What's this she's so bravely knitting with double pointed needles?

Why its the first sock from the very simple sock pattern I mentioned here. This pair is going to have wide stripes per Natasha's request.

Later on we'll snuggle up with a movie and I'll sneak in a little more knitting. I'm starting to be known as the lady who knits by the other swim team parents. It's an obsession! BTW, for anyone keeping track, I bought all the double pointed needles a girl could want or need in a lot on ebay last week.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Can I Talk Briefly About Boxers?

Crunchy Chicken mentioned Frontier House on her blog a while back. The concept sounded intriguing, could modern families live like they did on the frontier in 1883?

I took it out from the library and we watched it this weekend. On the one hand, the quibbly, reality show, talking to the camera stuff puts my undies in a twist. (Here's a tip to all omnivores, don't whine about protein in the presence of vegans. It makes us twitch!) On the other hand, if you could look past that, the lifestyle and the skills needed were very interesting.

Watching the show sparked a lot of great conversation. We really pondered the "how would you do..." aspect of a ton of situations. One of them was keeping the family clothed. Of course there was mending but how would you make clothes? Where would you get the cloth? What about clothes that were worn out? What new life could a worn out shirt have? Would you be as quick to put something in the rag bag when your resources were so immediately finite? When you begin to think like this, it reinforces the need to really get all the use out of any given item that you can. Which brings me to boxers.

Many of us will admit to drawing the thrift store clothes buying line at underwear. Chile pointed this link on making your own undies out of t-shirts a while back. I haven't tried it yet but I'd like to. However, because they're fitted, it sounds like I need to be more precise in my sewing. This scares me a bit.

On the other hand, if I was making boxer shorts for a little boy (or two little boys as the case may be) an imperfection here or there would be less noticeable since these are loose fitting by nature. They could also make use of t-shirts or even the flannel shirts that my hubby wears out at the collar and cuffs but no where else. What about bed sheets that get worn out in the middle but no where else? The list goes on and on!

Check out these links for ideas:

Underwear Sewing - ideas for everyone and free patterns

Free Needle - links to many free sewing patterns

Women's Boxer Pajamas

Techniques for making your boxer shorts the best they can be

ThreadBanger Blog's Boxer Pattern

Making Boxers for Old Pillowcases - also from ThreadBanger Blog

In fact, just go over and see the ThreadBanger Blog video

Monday, February 18, 2008

Do You Need a New Sole? A Slipper Refurbishing Tutorial

Kids are hard on clothing but my boys beat their clothes to death. I never knew how destructive kids could be until these boys became mobile. Knees on jeans, sleeves on shirts, you name it, its all fair game. They play hard. They even wear out the bottoms of their slippers! What good are slippers when the bottoms are a holey mess??

I just got through making new bottoms for Rob's Scooby Doo slippers but sadly I didn't document my work. Too bad because it would have made a great tutorial. I'll try to do this without benefit of pictures.

I started by gathering raw materials. To rescue a pair of character slippers, or any kids soft bottomed slipper, you'll need:

an outgrown winter jacket
a worn out pair of jeans
some worn out sweatpants or similar fabric (I had worn out fleece sweatpants)

The jacket I was using was fairly small, so I started by cutting off the sleeves. I then cut the sleeves down the side seam to give me a flat piece of material. Since the jacket had an inner layer, middle layer and outer layer, I pinned then together to prevent shifting.

Next, I traced each slipper twice, two were on the two sleeves and the other two were on the body of the jacket. Before cutting, move your pins inside the lines you've traced. Cut all four out and set aside.

Now, you're going to trace each slipper on the jeans. Instead of tracing right against the slipper add about an inch all around.

Now its time to put together the new bottom. Take two of the jacket cut outs and one of the denim cut outs. Place the jacket cutouts on top of each other. Center them on the denim cutout and fold the edges of the denim cutout over and pin to create a finished edge. Repeat with the remaining pieces. You should have two new soles for your slipper. Sew the layers of each of these together.

You have created the bottom (denim) and the cushion (old jacket) but you need something soft and warm to have against your foot. This is where the old sweatpants comes in. I pinned my sole to the sweatpants and cut out the inner sole. You could also just trace and cut if you prefer. I sewed this inner sole in place on both soles. Now you are ready to attach your new sole to the slipper itself.

I cut the ripped portion of the slipper bottom off leaving about a half inch all around the edge. I pinned the sole, which was slightly bigger than the original one, in place and sewed it in place. You need to use a longer, heavier gauge needle. I find a hand quilitng needle works very well for this.

The end result is no money spent and a happy 8 year old! I used this method on a pair of my daughters slippers 5 years ago and they lasted several years, long enough for her to outgrow them.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

It's a long weekend and I'm taking a break from the internet until Tuesday. So while I'm sleeping in, sledding with my kids and watching movies with my hubby, you have fun in cyberspace without me.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Don't Cry Over Spoiled Soymilk!

Last week while visiting my local natural food store and stocking up on soymilk for the week, I discovered Organic Vermont Soy, a locally produced soymilk. Maybe I should say a more local soymilk, since its made in Vermont and I'm in New York. The soymilk does come in plastic bottles which is a bummer, but as they point out here, its locally made and 100% recyclable and the aeseptic containers don't recycle well anyhow.

I bought my usual stash of Silk plus a bottle of chocolate, plain and vanilla of the Vermont Soy, which was more than $4.50 per 1/2 gallon. I had high hopes. Here's the real bummer, 2 out of the 3 flavors were sour and slightly curdled. I don't blame the company, things happen but I sure didn't have the time or energy to devote to another trip to the store. What good is spoiled soymilk?

Actually, it's really good for most baked goods. Everytime you make a recipe that requires you to add vinegar to soymilk, you've created the same thing that was mocking me in my own fridge. With that in mind, I worked through my personal distaste and made a batch of chocolate chip pancakes. I told no one but Jim about my covert operation because everything grosses out kids, especially teenagers.

No one noticed a thing. In fact, the teenagers slept in and never got a taste of the chocolate chip pancakes because their brothers ate them all. "They were fluffy," one of the boys informed me. Aha! Clabbered soymilk (the fancy name for soymilk with vinegar in it) is supposed to do just that; make a lighter, fluffier product. My little experiment worked!

Since then, I've snuck the soymilk into the corn muffins and a few other recipes with very good results. So the next time your stuck with spoiled soymilk, give it a try. BTW, it works with cow's milk as well.

I'd like to try Vermont Soymilk again so I've sent an email to the company about my problem. I wonder what their customer service department is like?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Freezer Diving Isn't for the Fainthearted!

The weather is miserable here in NY but we're keeping warm with some corn muffins I made yesterday. Jim had a hankering for "real" corn muffins so I opted for a recipe from the Simple Treats cookbook. True to their description, they do taste just like the Jiffy muffins of my youth. Jim was tickled. Personally, I like Ruthie's cornbread recipe better but some days you can't compete with nostalgia.

In my freezer diving, I came up with what I thought was frozen parsley, although it did look a little thick. Turns out it was really skinny celery and it didn't taste so good in the tabbouleh I added it to! Lesson learned, let's all say it together. I hereby promise to label EVERYTHING that I put in the freezer! I really mean it this time! A few shakes of real parsley, all right a boatload of real parsley, and the flavor of the tabbouleh was back on track. Making broth may be the only safe way of dealing with the remaining mystery herbs in the freezer.

In a more successful freezer dive, I combined frozen eggplant, chopped fennel (I chop the whole thing - fringy stuff and all), the last of the garlic scapes and a half can of tomato puree (my daughter had used the other half and left this uncovered in the fridge...Grrrr). I also added some red lentils and a bit of water, brought it up to a boil and then let it simmer for about 30 minutes. Before serving I added this vinagrette to it and served it over whole wheat couscous. This was a big hit.

Now I'm off to catch up on laundry and hang out with my kids who have no school. I might try to do a little sewing too.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Stuff I Want & Stuff I Don't Want & Amazing Vegetarian Sausage!

Somewhere, perhaps in one of the many blogs I peruse or one of the lists I belong to or perhaps it was just in conversation, it was said that so much stuff is bought by people whimsically that the rest of us should never have to pay full price buying anything new again. I agree, I agree, I agree!

Sure there are some things that are so specialized, or personal like underwear, that buying new is necessary. Although, check out this link Chile showed me a few months back before committing to the underwear portion of the statement. I haven't tried making undies yet but this summer, when I have time on my hands and nothing to do except embarass my teenage daughters, I will do it!!

But I digress, in our area we have craigslist as well as several on line tag sale sites and of course freecycle, Reuse it network and freesharing too. Ebay is an option too. You can keep it local by narrowing your search by zip code. Of course your local thrift store has even more to offer.

We wanted a car top carrier to make the car a little roomier for trips upstate. We found one for less than half of what we'd have paid new thanks to a little sleuthing on our local craigslist.

We also wanted a covered litter box for the hurricane that is Otis.

He looks so cuddly innocent but he routinely causes little to fly around the room and scrapes the walls in an effort to cover his extra smelly poo. I was able to find a covered kitty box on our local ecycle (like freecycle but our group is no longer part of the freecycle network) list for free.

Now, I'm on the lookout for some double pointed knitting needles for a really easy sock pattern I just found in the book Kids Knitting by Melanie Falick. This pattern is called "Magic Spiral Tube Socks" and makes a chunkier sock with less shaping than traditional socks BUT it uses worsted weight yarn (read: easy to find in thrift stores or to unravel a sweater and recycle) and gives instructions for using up your scrap yarn to make stripes! I don't think you need to buy the book. I'd suggest taking it out from the library instead.

Our ecycle group lets us put out wanted posts which can make the process of finding things so much easier. What about you? Have you tried getting what you want from places other than the store?

Let's not forget, all the above resources are great places to rehome your unwanted stuff. Kids grow and tastes change. There are plenty of useful things that take up space in my home because they no longer fit or no longer hold a place in my heart. (Am I the only one who no longer cherishes the Precious Moments figurines that I just had to have in the early days of my marriage?) Purge your space while making someone elses day.

In food, we had an amazing success making Spicy Vegetarian Sausages. This was a huge hit among our family and our non-veg dinner guest this weekend. I didn't want to use the aluminum foil, so I tried using cheesecloth instead. Don't do it! We were picking strings out of the sausage for quite a while. Also, my steamer wasn't big enough and it ran out of water making a gunky mess. I wound up baking them, covered in the oven at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. In spite of my cooking disabilities that day, it was delicious!

In a less successful food venture, I've come to the conclusion that cardamom tastes and smells like the Lemon Pledge of my childhood. It tainted some apple muffins I made this weekend, not enough to make them inedible just enough to bother me.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Are You Ready For a Change?

After as much procrastination as one human could muster, I held my first yoga class in my home yoga studio Monday.

Its a small space but its a clear space and its my space. All you parents out there know how hard that can be to come by. BTW, check out the rolling grocery cart that I use to bring my yoga mats to the kids classes I teach at a local school. What a convenient way to tote my mats, blankets and cd player without looking like a circus juggler. I got the idea while spending my week in NYC training.

The days leading up to it had me totally stressed. The nice thing about working at the gym is, if something is not right in the building (ie. too hot or too cold) its their fault, not mine. No such luck when its your own studio. I consoled myself with the thought that this weekly class was a freebie required by my yoga teacher training. It is meant to be part of the learning process and therefore mistakes would probably be part of the package. Besides, how pissed could anyone get when it was free??

All things considered, it went very well. Only 1 out of 5 people showed up which was a bummer but the weather was bad so I can't mind too much. Next weeks turnout should be better. The woman who did come sent me a lovely email afterwards with a subject line that read "yoga class rocks."

There were problems that I need to work on before my next class. The room was too cold, the dogs were barking (why did the UPS man pick that time to deliver?), I forgot to bring my cd player down so there was no music...but none of the problems were earth shattering. I already feel more confident about teaching my next class.

So why am I telling you this? I'm not looking for praise, instead I'm pointing out that if I can do this, you too can start making your dream a reality. When I bounced my idea off another person who attended the yoga training with me, she told me her mom started her yoga studio the same way. She used an empty bedroom in their house and now she rents a fairly large space to accomodate the growth of her business. The lesson here is start small.

Next, you've got to generate interested. When I decided to try teaching before school yoga to kids with special needs at the elementary school level, I offered a four week free trial session. Of the five kids that came to the trial session, four signed up for the follow up class.

Similarly, when I work privately with autistic children, I do a minimum of two free sessions. These free sessions allow me to build rapport with the child/children and to make my mistakes on my dime not my participants'. It gives me a chance to show the benefits of yoga to my potential clients. I've done free sessions with two kids and both have become regulars. I have to make it relevant and useful for my clients.

Finally, I always do my best to be attentive to my students whether adult or child. It sounds goofy but its true. My students (and/or their parents) aren't coming to hear me complain about how tired I am or what ever is going on in my life that's less than smooth flowing. They came for themselves or their kids. It's about them, not me. My role before and after class is often that of listener rather than speaker.

I don't pretend to have all the answers but this is what's been working for me as I slowly grow my yoga business. Its been so fulfilling that I wanted to share in case anyone else out there is on the cusp of career change but still scared into inactivity. You can do whatever you want to, especially if it improves the lives of others.

What are thinking about doing?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Somethings Got to Change

Pepper, the 300 pound wonder cat, is watching you! Ok, he only weighs about 25 pounds but I swear he's crossed with some larger cat (like a panther??) He's like the mayor of our street, he knows everyone and everyone knows him.

Although I love my kitty, the greater point is that almost all the snow you see in that picture is gone, it's 44 degrees outside and its been raining for two days. This is not what February in NY is supposed to be like.

Its time to take some action. Not sure where to start? Check out these 8 Easy Projects for Instant Energy Savings.

Lets not forget about the other things that make a difference like planning your errands to avoid unneccesary trips. What about within the home? Are you using everything completely before discarding it? Can that old, holey shirt or sock be a rag or part of a rag rug? (I just got the rug book I mentioned here out of the library, I can't wait to share ideas from it.)

What's your favorite way to reuse something that others think of as unusable?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Squishy Banana Conundrum Solved!

Kyle wanted tacos last night and he wanted to help in the kitchen. I took a break from my freezer diving activities to accomodate him. Since, seven year olds aren't the most efficient kitchen helpers, we kept things simple.

For the taco filling we diced some onions, grated some carrots and sauteed them both until the onions were limp. We added in some tvp, water, crushed tomato and taco seasoning (recipe courtesy of The Complete Tightwad Gazette) and let this all simmer while I tried my hand at making something resembling a tortilla.

I used my favorite crepe recipe as a jumping off point because all the tortilla recipes I found said you had to let the batter rest a few hours. I substituted cornmeal for 1/2 the flour but discovered after pouring my first one out that I needed some kind of binder to hold the wanna-be tortilla together. I added in 1/4 cup flaxseed meal and this solved the problem nicely.

We rounded out the meal with Spanish rice. Kyle was tickled and I even was able to sneek in some garlic scapes from the freezer.

Yesterday after school I was presented with the squishy banana conundrum yet again. For those of you without kids, this occurs when your child brings home a throroughly beat up banana he/she no longer wishes to eat. I try not to send bananas in for precisely this reason. But yesterday I had a stroke of genius and solved the banana conundrum once and for all. Gather round moms and dads, this one will make your day.

I announced that the banana in question was perfect for banana pudding. I had my son peel the squishy banana into a bowl with high sides and smash it the rest of the way with a fork. We added a tablespoon of carob powder and a tiny drizzle of maple syrup (you don't really need to add this but it adds "oo.." value from a kids perspective). Once my son mixed these in, we added 6 dark chocolate chips (I don't know how we arrived at 6 chips, I just didn't want to give him a lot and when I offered 6 he agreed). Viola, banana pudding!

Its definitely a hit because its been made three times since yesterday. How's that for a simple desert?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Successfully Using What's in the Freezer

Here's the ultimate tightwad, no additional energy expended way of keeping your coffee warm on a cold winter day.

But what, you may ask, is your coffe mug sitting on?

The wood stove of course! A girl's got to keep her coffee hot. BTW all you tea drinkers, I've put my tea bag into a mug of water and heated that here as well.

I thought I'd take a few moments and give a run down on how my efforts to use what was in the freezer were going. Before getting started I have to confess, I bought onions, carrots and four tomatoes.

I'm really pleased with the fig spice cake and the healthy fig date cookies that I made. The recipes were simple and everyone liked them. I'm itching to try Chile's fig butter recipe. It was in Thursday's comments but just in case you missed it, here it is. (And go check out her blog, NOW!!) Thanks for the recipe Chile!

Chile's Fig Butter

1/2 pound ripe figs
1 1/4 cup water
1/2 c water
1 1/2 c sugar
3/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp each: allspice, cinnamon, cloves
2 tsp vanilla

Wash figs, de-stem and quarter.
Simmer in water until soft.
Puree in blender.
Return to saucepan, using additional 1/2 c water to rinse out blender and add to pan.
Stir in sugar and dry spices.
Bring to a gentle boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

I loved the sweet and sour bean sprout recipe from the NY Times Natural Foods Cookbook. We ate it first as a side salad. The next night, I drained off the liquid, the sprouts leach water overnight like fresh cabbage in coleslaw, and used it to season some tvp. I served the tvp with the sprouts inside a crepe. It was easy and delicious. For family members who thought the combination of seasoned sprouts and seasoned tvp was too intense, I gave the option of using unseasoned sprouts.

Today I'm trying the broiled sprout patties. Overall, I'm thrilled with sprouting! It's easy to feel like you have a green thumb this way! If you haven't tried it, what are you waiting for??

The plethora of parsley in the freezer found its way into the vegetable broth recipe from Vegan With a Vengeance. It lends a buttery flavor to the finished broth. Of course, I used the veggies I had and left out the ones I didn't. I also left the veggies in, mashed them with a potato masher and served this as a soup with rice. Then I used the leftovers in split pea soup. Both were excellent.

But there was still more parsley in the freezer, so I made tabbouleh. Hence the four out of season tomatoes I bought which I fear I'm going to eco-hell for buying. The recipe I used called for pouring boiling water over the bulgur and letting it sit 45 minutes before draining. I had never done this but it worked perfectly. That's an energy saving cooking method I intend to use again. (BTW, on a similar not, Chile's method of letting steel cut oats soak overnight and then cooking only briefly in the morning is so superior to the crock pot method I've used. You really must try it.)

The tabbouleh was delicious as well. I served it with Navajo Fry Bread topped with sprouts and homemade hummus from the Vegan Lunchbox Cookbook. Its a slightly milder recipe than others out there but my family loves it.

Now to dig a little deeper and see what else is lurking in the freezer...