Sunday, October 31, 2010

Going Vegan

I've been thinking about switching to a completely vegan diet for quite a while now.  It isn't that big a stretch for me.  When I eat out, which is not often at all, I will eat chicken but when I eat at home I almost always cook without meat although I do tend to eat a fair amount of cheese.  My weakness is baked goods and I could live on Little Debbie snack cakes which are so NOT part of the lifestyle and diet that I see myself partaking in on any kind of regular basis. So anyway I figured no time like the present.

I did a lot of cooking today.  I started with some baked pita chips.  I had some pita bread hanging around that wasn't at it's freshest anymore so I decided to turn it into crispy chips baked with olive oil and herbs.  This was the result:

Next I made 100% whole wheat bread completely from scratch.  I was worried about it tasting tough since I had read that it's heard to make really good 100% whole wheat loaves.  I must say mine turned out really yummy.  I substituted honey (not vegan) for maple syrup and the recipe called for a small amount of molasses which seemed silly to buy so I used a touch of brown sugar instead.

Next was a surprisingly quick minestrone soup.  This thing had everything under the sun in it.  Tomatoes, rice, beans, carrots, spinach, corn, green beans, onions, garlic, and fresh basil.  It was only supposed to make four servings but I know I'll be eating it all week!

Friday, October 22, 2010

This Crazy,Silly Group of Friends...and A Few Nick Names

I am preparing to embark on a weekend getaway to Salem, MA for some witch and Halloween fun. 
Haunted Happenings on Twitter

As normally happens with such things,  the emails have been going back and forth between friends in planning the trip.  Some of them are rather business like and address such issues as "What time are we leaving?" "Do we want to eat lunch before we go?" etc.  However, the vast majority are beyond silly. We did spent a fair amount of time bossing around... err... asking one friend who isn't currently working to make phone calls and do the crappy legwork. Here are a few crazed, desperate clips from her emails

"Oh one more thing...", "Sorry meant to include that", "Thanks! I feel like I earned my keep!"

We all have a Hen nick name.  The origins behind that are a long and probably not very amusing to anyone else.  It involves a camping trip and a loud game of Yahtzee. It evolved to labels of each of us being the smart, quiet, funny and cute hens. Anyway I digress...Since we are clearly caught up in labels we naturally decided that for the trip we needed witch names.  Rowan, Elly, Alexandra and Hermione were born.

You would think that having witch names would be enough but it made us begin discussing our previously appointed Golden Girls Names.  I am Rose and as I put it that means I end up left all alone in the end with all of the cheesecake and a fork sitting out on the lanai. One friend couldn't remember her name and was quickly reminded of who she is:

Ginger: What the hell is my Golden Girls name?
Trixie: Blanche the slut
Ginger: Ahhhh...that's right

The discussion then turned to whether or not we had alcohol names.  We had this back and forth discussion as if having a nick name related to an alcohol product would be the most natural thing in the world. This all started because my mother who is an "Honorary Hen" is named Margarita therefore combining the Hen and Alcohol name into one

Trixie: I'll be Jager
Tatiana: Tequila!
Ginger: You guys are so boring!
Tatiana: Ok, Patron Tequila Shots
Trixie: Right, and I'm Jagermeister Liquor preferably from a tap ice cold
Ginger: Try fitting that on a business card

So, as you can imagine this trip could Salem could be adventurous.  It's a given that someone will be told "30 seconds ago!", that Jezibel will be teased about cigarettes and/or guns, that Ginger will lead us through the streets of Salem with everyone jogging behind to keep up, that Trixie will complain about a restaurant, and that Tatiana will need some wine.

If I make it back in one piece I will share pictures!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Vacation Day 3

I've been gazing longingly at cruise ships coming in and out of port all weekend.  That's the thing about "staycation".  It doesn't involve going on a cruise on the Carnival Glory.

Hmmm...but maybe it could involve a cruise. I decided to check out the inexpensive, worthwhile Casco Bay Cruises that I've been talking to some people about lately. This morning was bright and sunny and I thought...why not. The cruise was called mailboat run which didn't make much sense today since there is no mail delivery but the cruise still works the same way otherwise. It goes around to pretty much all the Casco Bay islands and makes short stops at each of them. The whole cruise lasted 3 hours which was a perfect amount of time.

The sun on the water at 10am was very picturesque

I LOVE the idea of a water taxi!

We had a 20 minute stop at one of the islands while they used the red crane to move some big flat thing from the boat to the shore.  It gave me a chance to get out a walk around for a few.

Back in the city.  Now if my head would stop rocking as if it was still out on the waves it would be good!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Vacation-Day 1

More painting pictures but this is definitely it for quite some time.  When I moved into my place six months ago I worked like crazy to paint the living room, bathroom and kitchen.  The living room had even just been freshly painting but it was that hideous kind of yellowish trying to be cream but not really making it color.  So, after all that painting I pretty much ran out of steam.  The upstairs needed paint more than all the others put together but it would have to wait for a time when I had more energy and this weekend. 

Now this transformation isn't so much about creating a "wow" factor of bright, brilliant colors but more about fixing so many wrongs.  The upstairs has angled walls (some only 6 feet tall), many nooks and crannies, and creates shadows and dark spaces.  The ceiling, which angles down to within a few feet of the floor was painted an even worse version of the yellowish trying to be beige that had lived downstairs.  But...on top of the heinous color were various black marks, streaks and worse of all many hand prints.  I don't really like to think about how the hand prints got there.  Many kids jumping on the bed?  A couple trying to be adventurous?? 

So, yes the room was in desperate need of a change.  After living with it for six months I had learned that I needed light airy colors to make sure the dark shadows didn't become cavernous.  While I would have like to go a bit darker I decided to stick with lighter.  But light colors, in my mind, are trickier than dark.  A light blue looks like a baby's room, a light green looks like mint ice cream and a light red is well, pink.  So, I set off to find something that would work.  These are the colors that I ended up with.

Just a word about the paint..  I painted the entire downstairs in Harmony paint by Sherwin-Williams.  It is a zero VOC paint.  Say what you will but I didn't relish the idea of living and sleeping in a room full of chemicals so I chose it again for the upstairs.  The Harmony paint goes on as well as any other paint I've used and with a 30% coupon found on the website it rang up at $27 a gallon---try to beat that price with a conventional quality paint.  Sherwin-Williams Harmony Paint

Here is the end result.  The pictures don't do it justice.  It feels so clean and fresh.  It feels finished and like home. Yippee!!