Reading a Good Book Outside



The weather lately has been wonderful. It feels pretty awesome to be outside (except for the inevitable muddy shoes… and pants). I love reading while watching the kids play outside. I’m reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. It’s a really entertaining read also very informative. One new goal for this year, kind of inspired by this book and others I’ve read is that I’m going to try to reduce our family’s meat intake so I can buy an organic chicken and make it last. We already do two days vegan, and one other main meal meatless.

New blog

I’ve been posting a lot of food on this blog… which was not originally what it was intended for. So I started another blog which will only be food related: Transforming Eating.

This blog will be related to crafty things like knitting (hence connect the knots), sewing, and upcycling.

Speaking of upcycling… sometimes I think dumpster diving would be a good idea, but of course, I never do it. There’s a family video right outside our house that is adding a pizza place, so there are three big dumpsters that look like they’ve got some pretty good stuff in it – mostly wood that could be recycled. I don’t have any woodworking tools though. Yet another reason why I don’t go dumpster diving.


Hot Salsa Pinto Beans and Rice


ImageThis was a winner tonight! It is a dish from One-dish Vegan by Robin Robertson.

1 T olive oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 rib celery, chopped (I used all the leafy tops and innards)

1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped (I omitted this)

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 or 2 jalopeno chiles, seeded and minced (I only used 3/4 of one)

2 T tomato paste

1/2 t ground cmin

1/4 t dried oregano

1/2 t salt

1/4 t cayenne pepper

1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained (I used half a quart jar of my home-canned tomatoes, and I just now realized that I missed the draining note, oops)

1 1/2 c vegetable broth

3 c cooked pinto beans or 2 (15.5 oz) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained (I used half a bag of dried beans with water, put in the small slow-cooker for 4 hours on high)

3 c hot cooked brown rice

2 c shredded lettuce

1/2 c vegan sour cream

1/4 c sliced pitted black olives (I omitted this)


Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, celery, bell paper, garlic, and jalapeños and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, oregano, salt, and cayenne, then add tomatoes and broth and bring to a simmer. Add the pinto beans and cook for 10 minutes to heat through and blend the flavors. Serve over the hot rice and to with the lettuce, sour cream, and olives. (You can also put it in a tortilla.)

This recipe was so fast to put together. Awesome. My husband loved it.


Weight Loss

I was looking through my wallet and saw my drivers license. The picture was taken 12 months ago – when I was 6 months pregnant.


I just took this one about 10 minutes ago.

I’ve lost 40 pounds which is basically half way to my goal. i started actively losing weight in January. I have been using weight watchers and going to the YMCA every day except Saturdays and Sundays. I’ve never lost this much weight before. I’ve always been overweight… So I’m pretty jazzed about this.

Drying Herbs

How to Dry Herbs:

Less Tender Herbs — The more sturdy herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme, summer savory and parsley are the easiest to dry without a dehydrator. Tie them into small bundles and hang them to air dry. Air drying outdoors is often possible; however, better color and flavor retention usually results from drying indoors.

Tender-Leaf Herbs — Basil, oregano, tarragon, lemon balm and the mints have a high moisture content and will mold if not dried quickly. Try hanging the tender-leaf herbs or those with seeds inside paper bags to dry. Tear or punch holes in the sides of the bag. Suspend a small bunch (large amounts will mold) of herbs in a bag and close the top with a rubber band. Place where air currents will circulate through the bag. Any leaves and seeds that fall off will be caught in the bottom of the bag.

Another method, especially nice for mint, sage or bay leaf, is to dry the leaves separately. In areas of high humidity, it will work better than air drying whole stems. Remove the best leaves from the stems. Lay the leaves on a paper towel, without allowing leaves to touch. Cover with another towel and layer of leaves. Five layers may be dried at one time using this method. Dry in a very cool oven. The oven light of an electric range or the pilot light of a gas range furnishes enough heat for overnight drying. Leaves dry flat and retain a good color.


Friday Night Dinner


1/2 lb. chick peas (garbanzo beans), freshly cooked
1/2 c. Tahini sauce
1/2 lemon, squeezed
1 clove garlic, crushed
salt, to taste
dash of pepper

I used dried beans, so I had to cook them for 2 hours and then I drained them and put them straight into the food processor, and chopped them up. Add the rest of the ingredients and combine.  I added some more lemon juice and water (but you really should keep the water that you cooked the chick peas in) to get the consistency I was looking for.

Unleavened Griddle Bread

1 c whole-wheat flour
2 c white bread flour
2t salt
1c + 2T water
veggie oil for cooking

Mix flours and salt together, leaving a well in the middle of the bowl.  Add water slowly and mix, dough will form.  Knead for 10-12 minutes (the hard part).  Leave alone for 15-30 minutes.  Knead for 1 minute.  Divide into 8 balls.  Roll each ball out and cook in a skillet, with oil, on medium heat.

Spiced Aubergine Salad

1/2 eggplant, sliced
5 T veggie oil
1/4 c red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 lemon, squeezed
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t ground coriander
1 cucumber, sliced
2 roma tomatoes, sliced
salt & pepper, to taste
parsley to garnish

Lightly oil eggplant and cook on medium heat in a skillet.  Combine the rest of the oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper in a bowl.  When the eggplant is done, chop slices into quarters and put them in the bowl with the dressing.  Mix and let chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.  Then add the sliced cucumber and tomatoes and mix.  Sprinkle parsley over the salad.

Of course, I have to have my sweet tea.

Potatoes without feta cheese but with olives

Ingredients (as the cookbook says)

2lb potatoes
2/3 c extra virgin olive oil (or canola oil)
1 sprig of fresh rosemary (dried)
10oz feta cheese, sliced then crumbled (omitted)
1 c pitted black and green olives (1 can black olives)
1 1/4 c hot vegetable stock (water)
salt and pepper
my addition: one onion, sliced and quartered.

1. Preheat the oven to 400*. Cook whole potatoes in boiling water for 15 minutes.  Drain and cool slightly.  Peel the potatoes and cut into thin slices.

2.  Brush the base and sides of a shallow rectangular ovenproof dish with some of the oil.

3.  Layer the poatoes with the rosemary, cheese (or not), olives and onions.  Drizzle with the remaining oil and pour over the stock.  Season with salt and pepper.

4.  Cook for 35 minutes, covering with foil to prevent the potatoes from getting too brown.  Serve hot, straight from the dish.

– from The complete book of Greek Cooking

Carrot Bread

I just made this recipe.  It takes a bit of time, but it’s sooo good. 

1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup raisins (or candied fruit)
1 T margarine
2 large finely grated carrots
1t cloves
1t cinnamon
1t nutmeg

Bring the above ingredients to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.  Cover and let sit for 12 hours or overnight.  Then add:

1 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 t salt
1t soda
2t baking powder

Bake in 2 loaf pans or 1 tube pan at 275* for 2 hours. (I kinda fudged the shape of the pan.)

——- recipe is from “A Lenten Cookbook for Orthodox Christians”

Corn on the cob

While I was baking white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies (to be eaten before Friday) and boiling potatoes and onions, mashing them with sour cream and cheese… and boiling some green beans for the side… I was listening to this (Frederica Mathewes-Green).  It’s pretting interesting.

I finished all the problems on the Statistics test today, and I think I even got some of them right.  Hopefully it’ll bring my grade up.  I find out tomorrow morning what I got… hopefully.  *edit* I passed. 😀  But tomorrow is another make up test, to replace another bad grade on a previous test.  *end edit*

I went to my grandparents house this afternoon to feed their cats and take care of their mail.  While I was out there, I thought I might as well see my mom’s parents too.  We had BLT’s, corn on the cob and cantaloupe… everything except the BL’s was from their garden.  I got to take home a couple cucumbers, ears of corn, the green beans that I had for dinner, and some tomatoes.  yummm…. next week I’m going to go help them harvest another session of corn.  Did I mention I love corn on the cob?


By the way, the balcony pot garden idea does not work, if I haven’t mentioned that before.  Don’t try it.  Other good news, it rained a lot today, so I don’t have to water my remaining plants.  I’m going to try and start more shoots of the jade plant from their leaves, also another leaf from a flowering plant that looks a lot like jade, I can’t remember what it’s called now.  But it was soooo pretty.  The leaves had purple on the outside edge, and the flowers were purple.  I hope it works.