Monday, September 19, 2011

Plant Power

I've had a plant growing roots on my desk at work for many months.  I kept meaning to bring it home but never got around to it.  On Friday a friend brought cactus and spider plant cuttings.  I brought them all home together and vowed to get them in soil.

I also wanted to repot this plant.  I brought it not very long ago and it has grown so much that this is the third time I've given it a new home.  I splurged on this pot since I had to make a trip to Home Depot for potting soil.

Eventually the spider plant will get a home in a hanging basket but for now it will enjoy living here.

Here is the plant from work.  It is more roots than plant but I'm hoping it will grab hold and flourish.

The little cactus wasn't ready for soil so it sits in the window in my kitchen for now. Maybe one day I will post that they all survived and will show off large, full, hearty plants.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Better Spaghetti and Meatballs

I finally tried a dish that I've been talking about for months but hadn't actually gotten around to.  It's a vegan pet peeve of mine when I see chefs, authors and other "authorities" trying to come out with meatless dishes that look, feel and taste the same as the original.  It's insulting to a meat eater or anyone else to say that eating processed soy aka fake meat is just the same as the original.  I don't think it's healthy or smart to take a highly processed soy product and dress it all up into something it isn't.  I've been saying for months that I think these chefs would be wiser to try to re-invent rather to re-create a classic meat lovers dish like spaghetti and meatballs. 

So, here is my healthy version that is full of fresh vegetables, heart healthy oil, complete protein, antioxidants and the list goes on and on...

The "pasta" is actually sliced ribbons of zucchini and carrot.  Once in ribbons I added a dash of olive oil and steamed it for just a few minutes:

The "meatballs" are a mixture of lentils, rice, oats, spices, olive oil, and balsamic vinager.  They baked for about 10 minutes and came out like this:

I placed the vegetable pasta on a plate and tossed it with a variety of different color and style of tomatoes.  I added fresh basil and then placed the meatballs.  I must say that it turned out to be the prettiest dish I've ever made.  It was also extremely filling--something I didn't expect but honestly I struggled to finish the plate. 

I will definitely do this one again.  It required a good amount of prep work but it's just so pretty and now I can really speak with authority when I say that there really is a better way to do spaghetti and meatballs.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Saturday In Portland 2

About a year ago I did a blog about my walk downtown to the library.  As much as I hate to be redundant there is always so much to see and it changes every minute so here is a second round of me walking down to the library on a Saturday in late summer.

Last night was the First Friday Art Walk.  It was amazing and there were so many photo moments and blog worthy things to mention but I was really enjoying living in that instant and just taking it all in.  Still, on my walk I followed the same path that we took on the art walk so I couldn't help but think of some things I had seen.

While I was at work Friday morning I was talking with a couple of co-workers about jazz music.  Ah, yes the conversation came up when I mentioned I would be in New Orleans during a huge jazz festival.  I love live jazz music and never get to hear it.  My co-workers and I hatched a plan to go catch some live jazz soon-specifically at this place: Jazz At The Blue

One of my favorite places during the art walk was a gallery above this flower shop.  These huge second story windows all lit up at night with people milling around inside was actually quite a sight.  The gallery was mostly watercolors of trees (and I admit I have a thing for any photos, watercolors etc of trees especially birches) and next to each photo was a story.  As, I said it was one of my favorite stops.

A completely different atmosphere was the art gallery Space.  It is a vast open space that has a bar in one corner.  So picture people milling around, chatting with a beer in hand.  It felt very much like a typical bar except instead of pool tables and a dart board there were art exhibits and stuff hanging on walls.  Very hip, funky vibe.

Yes, Portland now has a Reny's.  Topsham also has one.  Now that Reny's is everywhere does it somehow make it a less special place?  Hmmm, not sure about that one yet.

After my visit to the library I checked out the Library of Congress 18 wheeler bus that has been working its way across the country.  Portland is stop number 84 out of 90. It was touted as having America's treasures such as Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence, really old world maps and Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass.  Sounds pretty cool right?  But what they failed to mention is that there were no original works on the bus-only photos and brief descriptions.  Not exactly what I imagined but the huge air conditioned bus was quite fun!