Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

I know it’s been a few days, and for that I apologize.  It’s been a rough week, and not wanting to go into any real details, I frankly just didn’t have the energy to blog – though I did have the desire to!  To summarize, I ran pretty much every day and ate lots of yummy food.  I did my lower body workout of lunges and squats while watching TV, which was pretty cool. 
The past few days have been very long, especially Tuesday!  Oy vey.  Anyway, here’s a few things that made me happy.
I got more Silk Soy milk!  I bought 6 new quarts; 4 of the chocolate mint, 1 pumpkin spice, and 1 nog.  I hated egg nog as a kid, but I figured I’d give it another chance.  I actually haven’t had the opportunity to try it yet, but aside from some trepidation, I’m looking forward to it.
  My shopping cart!
  The fridge.  I realized after I took this how very healthy it seems!  There are TEN containers of soy milk (ranging from chocolate, mint chocolate, pumpkin spice, nog, vanilla, and plain), a container of rice milk, plus an entire shelf of produce – brussel sprouts, mushrooms, cauliflower, carrots, pineapple, kale, collard greens, and beets!  Not sure you can see the last 3, but they’re there!
My old camera died back in July when we went to NYC.  It was obscenely hot, and I think it just melted.  Since then, I’ve been using my phone for all of my pictures, which is slightly upsetting.  My phone’s camera is okay…but it’s a phone first…not a camera…so the quality isn’t there and neither is a flash!  I finally couldn’t take it anymore and got a new camera.  I got a great deal on it on Thanksgiving (online of course), and got over a hundred dollars off – so it was only $116.  It arrived earlier this week, and I can’t wait to use it!  Hopefully the quality of my blog pictures will increase.  If not – blame me and my less than stellar picture taking skills.
My husband took the little one to a fair at Barnes and Nobel on Monday for a fundraiser.  Half her school was there, and she had a great time.  D bought several books, and for me, he picked up two magazines.  I’ve only had time to read one, but so far I’ve made 3 dishes from it, and they’re all amazing!  

 I highly suggest picking this up.  Not all the recipes are vegan (since it’s from Vegetarian Times), but they can be veganized easily.  There are a TON of recipes in it, and they’re all keepers so far!

My first time eating (much less MAKING) collard greens!  I’m quite afraid of the dark green leafies like collard greens and kale (never had anything like THAT growing up in WI), and was never sure what to do with it.  I live in the mid-Atlantic now, and they eat very differently here.  Everything is fried or unhealthy.  Most standard fare here is BBQ something, greens cooked in grease and bacon, macaroni and cheese, high fat and smothered.  My only experience then with collards is at potlucks where it looks and smells nasty.  I was so happy to get this magazine with a recipe that didn’t scare me!  It’s simply collard leaves (remove the stems and cut fine), shredded carrots, a diced onion and bell pepper for the base.  Then a warm dressing of cider vinegar, sugar, canola oil, powdered mustard, celery seed, salt and pepper is tossed onto the veggies.  The warm dressing wilts the greens – but doesn’t really “cook” them.  Let it marinate overnight, and voila!  A collard green coleslaw!  I made a hoagie sandwich with some lentil chili topped with the slaw.  Oh.  My.  Heavens.  Very tasty, and now I think I’m in love with collard greens!
This is a dish of Adzuki beans with kale.  It’s a very simple dish – just the beans, onion, garlic, and kale, tossed with some madras spicy curry powder, salt, and pepper.  It’s amazingly simple, filling, and tasty.  Adzuki beans are gaining in popularity in the US, and I’m glad for that.  I first learned of them reading a book by a Scottish nutritionist, and had to go to the hippie stores to find them.  Now I’ll occasionally see them at a regular grocery.  They’re really small, dark red beans, and have a slightly sweet taste to them.  Apparently, they’re really popular in Japanese desserts!  I’m thinking I’ll need to try that!  My Dad had read an article on them in the paper back home, and sent me that and some recipes.  They’re pretty quick cooking too, so that was nice.  This dish also marked my first adventure cooking with kale!  I’ve had kale before – but not as a main ingredient.  A few of the Mediterranean restaurants I’ve been to have kale salads, but usually they’re in a wrap, so I’ve never really tasted it.  I was a little nervous since I’ve never had cooked greens I’ve liked….ever.  But I was pleasantly surprised.
I am lacking a picture for another dish I made.  That’s because I ate it.  ALL of it…before I thought about taking a picture of it.  It’s one of the recipes I veganized from the magazine.  Butternut squash, mushroom, onion, and a “cheese” sauce (I used soy milk and daiya cheddar-style shreds).  It basically made a gratin.  Baked for 45 minutes and I cannot even articulate how amazing it is! 

A had a school trip to DC yesterday, so the rest of us went to Busch Gardens for their Christmas Town.  They basically deck the entire park out in more lights and trees than can even be imagined.  A few places even have fake snow falling, which was actually pretty cool.  On the way home, it was snowing for real, which was pretty neat too.  Of course it’s all melted now, but it made me miss living in a place where it actually snows every winter.  I know…I imagine if I actually lived somewhere cold, I’d just whine anyway.

 D, R, and M by the entrance to Busch Garden’s Christmas Town

M and R in front of one of the lighted trees.

This week I’m hoping will be better and less stressful.  It’s my last week before I go to FL for 6 days (work related).  Then I’m back, work for most of a week, and then off for the holidays!

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I am a 45 yo busy career single mom and doctoral student attempting to find her inner athlete, be a gluten-free(ish) vegan, and find a way to balance it all without going crazy! I love to cook, read, run, box, do yoga, dance, travel, and learn as many new things as I can - which often gets me in trouble.... I am passionate about life in general, and if I didn't write about it, I'd probably implode.

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