Saturday, July 24, 2010

chickpea cutlets

a.k.a.  "what are you eating???"

For my birthday, my wonderful husband got me the Veganomicon cookbook.  I am really enjoying it.  I'm not vegan - I still eat cheese and sometimes eggs and other dairy stuff - but I enjoy the challenge of making things that are vegan and that taste good.  So, when I saw this recipe, my first thought was "Ew".  As in, no thank you.  But I read some reviews and everyone loves them so I thought, "Why not?"  Believe me, no one was more shocked that I liked them than me.  My meat-loving husband even liked them - he had seconds. 

The first time I made them I cooked them in a cast-iron skillet.  Pretty fast, and very good.  The second time I put them in foil and cooked them on the bbq.  It took a little bit longer, but was much easier and also very good.  (Also less olive oil and no pan to clean, so that's the way I'll be cooking them from now on).  You can also cook them in the oven.

This recipe is all over the internet.  Here's a link.  Try it.  We like ours with honey-mustard sauce.  It's also good on a bun with some lettuce.  Someone wrote a blog post about making them into nuggets - that sounds pretty good too.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mango Cucumber Spring Rolls

I adapted this recipe from the Vegan with a Vengeance cookbook.  I took out a few things (peanuts) and added a few things (carrots).  The key is the sauce.  The sauce makes them really good.  Again, I changed up the sauce by adding some mango to it.  I like it this way.  Amounts are approximate - have fun.  (The photo doesn't have carrots - the carrots was a suggestion by my friend Rob and I'm planning on adding them the next time I make these.)

Frozen cubed mango (about 8-10 oz - use the rest of the bag in your fruit smoothies)
Cucumber, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup shredded raw carrot
4 oz thin rice noodles (I used bean threads and had a lot leftover)
Package of spring roll wrappers

1/4 cup thawed mango chunks
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tsp Asian chile oil (I used sesame chile oil)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp sugar

Follow package directions to soften rice noodles/bean threads.  This usually involves covering them with boiling water and letting them sit for 10 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water.

While the noodles are cooking, make the sauce by putting all ingredients into your blender and mix.  Chill until your spring rolls are ready.

Cut the cucumber and mango and cilantro.  Have a pie plate or shallow pan filled with a few inches of warm water to soften the wrappers.  I use a cutting board for assembly.  Put a wrapper into the water until it's soft and flexible (there are usually directions on the package for this too).  Lay the wrapper on your board and put a few tablespoons (or half a handful) of noodles, some cucumber, some mango, some carrots, and lots of cilantro in the middle of the wrapper.  Fold the top and bottom and roll up the rest.  Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.  I put a moist paper towel in the bottom of a plastic container and put the spring rolls on it and they stayed fresh all day.  (They may stay fresh longer, but my friends and I ate them all.) 

Serve with lots of sauce, because the sauce is the best.

Make these with your kids - they love to help with the assembly, and watching the wrappers soften up into something you can eat is a little bit of kitchen magic.

Monday, July 12, 2010

from the California Science Center

flowers are the poetry of the earth

as stars are the poetry of heaven

garden photos

Sam and I planted late this year, but the garden is doing well.

The sugar-snap peas are growing like crazy.
(I love the curlicues)

This one is two rows of cucumbers and one of peppers.

Here's some cilantro

 This is basil (and some weeds - they are relentless this year)

The tomatoes (three plants) are growing slow, but I'm confident
that we'll have lots of fruit in August and September.
And probably October, because this is a crazy late summer.

Thursday, July 08, 2010


"My new year's resolutions for 2010 is to find a cause. I want to find something that I care about and believe in and I want to invest myself in. I don't know if it will be a medical cause, like breast cancer or leukemia or brain tumors or children's hospitals, and I'll walk a 5K (or try and run with Sally and not kill myself). Maybe it will be political and I'll find a local campaign and get involved. I don't know. Maybe it will be something smaller, something in our community. But I want a cause. I want a thing. And I'm going to take the whole first part of the year to look and listen and pray and wait." ~ January, 2010

I've looked and I've listened and I've prayed.  Several things passed by me that could have been my thing, but none of them really lit a fire in me.  But then, about six weeks ago, I checked out a book called "Raising bookworms : getting kids reading for pleasure and empowerment" by Emma Walton Hamilton.  I started reading it, and it really spoke to me.  I started thinking about my kids and reading, then I started thinking about other kids reading and me being a part of that somehow.  I decided that I would try and give books as a gift as often as I could.  I bought some books for people.  I bought some giftcards for bookstores.  It felt good.  Then, I got a newsletter from the kid's school about some open PTA positions.  One was for the reading program.  And I sat down the very same day and volunteered.

That's when I realized that I found my thing:  it's reading.  (Well duh, you might think.  Yes, I thought that too.)  It's getting kids to love reading, it's supporting my local library in ways beyond checking out books, it's improving the reading program at our school so that more kids are motivated to read, it's being more intentional about reading with my kids.  That's my thing.

(Admit it - you thought it was going to have something to do with knittng.)

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Fourth of July

A few pics from the Fourth of July.

We were at a local park with some friends.

Their italian ices are red, white, and blue!!!

Grey Sweater

I finally finished the grey sweater that I have been knitting for myself.  I've been waiting a long time to make this sweater for me - I've made two other sweaters with this pattern, and it's practically the perfect sweater pattern to knit.  Top down - so you can try it on as you go - very little finishing work - some cables at the bottom to add some shaping and interest so you don't get bored at the end.
It reminds me of a sweater I used to wear.  It was my grandfather's cardigan, and my grandma or my mom gave it to me after he died.  I loved that cardigan.  I wore it so much that it got holes in it and I had to throw it out.  Anyway, this sweater reminds me of that one.  Of course, now it's summer.  But, when fall rolls around, I'll have a nice new sweater to wear.

(I made this for my sister, and hers and mine are different colors, but we have the same button.  Matching buttons!)

My friend took some pics for me with her phone:

For the knitters:
Pattern:  Mr Greenjeans by Amy Swenson from
Yarn:  Lion Wool Ease in Oxford Grey
Needles:  US 8 and US 7