I know, it’s 2 weeks in. But I was traveling on the first, and didn’t have a chance to do a recap/plan for my blog this upcoming year. I feel like I’m supposed to do some kind of announcement with a megaphone or something.
THIS YEAR on THE FIVE Fs! sort of thing.
I have lots of projects and explorations coming up — 2013 wasn’t such a good year for me, being a little bit stagnant and a little bit lost. But 2014 is kicking off with some new clients, some new goals and a ton of ideas for sewing, cooking and pondering life in an anti-craftian sort of way.
-Some self-drafted skirt tutorials in the vein of updated hobble skirts
-Some pants tutorials based on styles I saw in San Juan and Berkeley the past few months
-Burning Man/festival costumes galore; now that I’ve been once, I have some great ideas about costumes for myself and the Compatriot
-Leaf/dragonscale cutout jackets. When I wrap my head around how to accomplish this, you’ll see what I mean.
-A foray into shoemaking, with tutorials
-Some ambitious knitting projects; my attention span is short (so short that I originally posted this without finishing this sentence! Oh man.) but I really want to get into some more detail-oriented, delicate work like shawls. Well, shawl. If I finish one, I’ll be hugely impressed with myself.
-Putting together a steampunk costume from sketch concept to finish: I have an Alice’s Tea Party-themed wedding to attend in March of this year, so I’ll be documenting the whole process from sketch to finished project as a sort of project journal for anyone interested in creating elaborate costumes but not sure how. As an added bonus, the venue of a wedding gives me the opportunity for a more modest costume than my usual style.
-Speaking of weddings, I got engaged this past week. This doesn’t mean the blog will turn into Brides-R-Us. Quite the contrary; I hope that documenting our planning process will provide a DIY-centered, thoughtful contrast to the Disney-princess-fueled insane wedding bullcrap that dominates Pinterest boards and Netflix suggested lists. A wedding is a celebration and a formalization, a ritual to enter into a new stage of life, not spend-a-thon fuel for a money-hungry industry. All that being said, I’m super excited to design and draft my own dress, and probably something for the Compatriot-fiance as well.
-I also want to start drafting patterns, and offering a freemium plan: download the pattern/use the tutorial for free or a voluntary donation, or buy handmade from me. We’ll see about this, as I am notoriously bad at keeping a tight schedule, and most of my focus has to be on my freelancing clients in 2014.
What do you have on tap for 2014?
Finally! A whole week after my vegan challenge, and I have the pictures to put up for my super green overload lentil curry recipe.
Lentils are amazing. Filling, nutritious, full of proteins and whatnots. They’re a fantastic staple for any vegetarian or vegan diet, and they’re quick to cook. They’re cost effective, too!
This green lentil curry has all the delicious nutrition of lentils and coconut milk, with a turbo boost of healthy deliciousness with green tea broth, green curry paste, lime juice, and green veggies.
Well, my 7 days of veganism have come to an end. It was much harder in some ways than I thought it would be because I didn’t fully realize how hard it is to have to constantly think about what you eat. In other ways it was easier than I thought it would be — I found that I don’t really miss the taste of meat. Except maybe fish. In fact, the smell of barbecue chicken was slightly unsettling after just a week.
I could definitely see myself becoming a vegetarian. Not sure about full-blown veganism, but it’s good to know that I could happily subsist on veggies, eggs and cheese. Maybe the occasional fish sushi. Plus, if I stop eating meat, I’ll be able to afford all the ridiculously expensive humane eggs and cheese I want! (Over time I hope/expect that humane products will no longer be specialty and will drop in price. Come on, people, let’s make capitalism work for us!)
I also found it was much harder than I thought it would be to post a new recipe every day. Some of these things are time consuming! I had planned on trying some quinoa recipes, but didn’t get around to them, for example. Alas. They will have to be saved for future meatless Monday posts.
I had intended to post this yesterday, along with another vegan recipe for green curried lentils. And then the cord that I have to use to transfer photos from camera to computer went AWOL. I still haven’t found it, so decided to just go ahead and push the wrap-up through and add the green curried lentils at a later date.
It’s been a great week, you guys. I feel pretty good; full of energy in a way I haven’t been in a while. I kind of miss eggs and cheese, but I don’t really miss meat, which is excellent. I decided to leave the most fun thing for Friday — it’s a day when I’m excited for the weekend but I also have some downtime in the afternoon before things happen. That makes it the perfect time to make sushi!
Part of my excitement for this process has been to not just make things I already know how to make (with mixed success), but instead to explore new and exciting flavors in the world of vegan cooking. And sushi is definitely new and exciting. I’m already an absolute sushi fiend, and way too much of my money goes toward local sushi establishments. But making it is something else entirely.
I know, I know. I already posted a recipe for Tom Ka. I cheated a little because on Tuesdays we have a potluck gathering, and I wanted to make something I knew everyone would like and would potentially feed a large number of people. But I didn’t completely cop out: I updated the recipe with better pictures! Go check it out. Besides, it’s really just that amazing.
I finally got enough sleep on a week night, and I’m remembering why I used to decline activities on a regular basis last year. It just feels so nice to be up sipping coffee (black, of course) and eating oatmeal and watching the sun rise without a hangover or sleep-deprivation-based bleariness.
But there was someone passed out on my couch, so breakfast was half a serving of plain-jane oatmeal (I can never finish a whole serving). It’s quick and quiet to prepare, and good for an early, pre-workout breakfast. The only issue is how gross oatmeal makes pots unless you stand over it stirring constantly.
After some yoga and a quick, but really intense, HiiT workout I realized I jumped back into exercise way too hard, and wound up curled on the floor with a belly ache. So I made a strawberry-oatmeal-banana-flaxseed-kale smoothie (no milk!) to have something soothing in my stomach, and that helped a great deal.
I had planned to eat leftovers from yesterday’s rice noodle and peanut sauce salad for breakfast, but I ended up eating all of it last night. Seriously, it ended up being more like 6 servings, and I ate it all, except for the one serving the Male Compatriot ate. I swear, I’d be an obese vegan.
Anyway, lunch and dinner were mostly the same meal; I ended up making a ton of Tom Ka and just kind of ate it all day. Delicious! Also some salad periodically.
Yesterday I was incredibly tired, and worried a little bit that the lack of… whatever… energy, I guess? In my diet was making me tired. I knew better, of course, but worried just the same. And then I got enough sleep and today has been a very energetic day. So far, vegan is pretty easy — I just have to be careful not to add fish sauce to anything!
This is part of my 7-day vegan trial cleanse, where I am bringing my eating habits back under control with a week-long fast of sorts.
Day one of eating vegan and I’m feeling great! My grocery bill for the week was $39. At a notoriously pricy organic store. Add that to some vegan things I already had around the house, like coconut milk and carrots, and we’re looking at feeding two people all organic for under $50. Feeding more like 4 people, even; it’s amazing how friends tend to show up when there’s food on the stove.
Right off, a confession: I skipped breakfast. I stupidly stayed up late playing League of Legends last night (my team needs me!) and dragged all morning. Bad health blogging habits.
Early lunch was healthy fried rice, because my roommates ordered Chinese over the weekend and there are always rice leftovers. I’m reasonably certain that the plain rice is vegan.
And, the exciting part: Dinner! I’m eating dinner pretty early these days, and just snacking into the evening, partially so I can get a post up at a reasonable hour. And partly because that’s healthier anyway. Of course, fried rice + rice noodles = rice twice. But I’m a fan of rice, and I don’t think it’s evil or going to kill me or you.
This recipe made the rounds on my Pinterest recently, and I couldn’t wait to try it; the Male Compatriot loves the peanut sauce at a local Thai restaurant and I had yet to be able to recreate it at home for cheaper/with better ingredients. I made this and had to make more twice that evening — everyone who passed by wanted some to put on something.
Here’s my take on this lovely peanut sauce — brace yourself for an explosion of flavor.
Readers, it’s that time of year again. Summer has arrived abruptly (I slept with my window open for the first time last night) and the call of nature… calls.
There’s fresh food everywhere and the renewal of my commitment to striving for a healthy, sustainable, kind lifestyle.
Unfortunately, I’m at that age where everyone eats out all the time. And while I like cooking, it’s easy to fall back on chips and bagels as means of nourishment. I also struggle with kindness in eating sometimes; it’s hard to verify that all the meat I eat is ethical, and there’s so much societal pressure to ignore the realities of our food. It’s easy to be disconnected from our food and our bodies, and hard to stay mindful.
Enter Leo Babauta’s 7-day vegan challenge! I love reading his blog, zenhabits; if you don’t already read it, you should. And while you’re at it, try the 7-day challenge with me! I’m more of a bursty person than a sustained activity person (I’ll go crazy and clean the whole house, then not do anything but the most basic chores for weeks and weeks, for example), and I enjoy short, intense challenges like this one. And, of course, blogging about it.
It’s Monday again, folks! I hope you’ve had a good one. Whether your Monday has been great, bearable, or blah, here’s something to look forward to: lentil-tabbouleh salad and pitas!
I love lentils. They’re all the nourishment I want from meat, without the meat. And don’t be intimidated by tabbouleh (also spelled tabouli, among other spellings); it’s just bulgur wheat, tomatoes and parsley. (Sorry, gluten-intolerant readers, you’ll have to skip this one. I’ll make some gluten-free meals soon!) This meal is so easy, it’s pretty much cheating to even call it a recipe.
Like many people, I’m trying to eat less meat. I’m not a vegetarian (though I could see myself taking the plunge eventually), but I do have strong feelings about factory farming. I only eat ethical, sustainable meat, as far as I can control it, and certified humane eggs. I also don’t eat baby animals — no chicken wings or lamb for me.
All these rules make eating meat hugely expensive — certified humane eggs (which are MUCH harder to come by than packaging would suggest. If you don’t know if your eggs are humane, don’t trust the carton: I’ve found the cornucopia institute to be very informative, providing good transparency and the process by which they arrive at their scores) cost almost $5/dozen where I live. And forget organic, humane milk. $8/gallon, anyone?
So eating less meat (and dairy, unfortunately) is a great decision for my wallet and my health. And how better to use up leftovers, reduce waste, reduce your waist (har), and enjoy your meals than fried rice?
“Wait,” you say. “Isn’t rice a starch?” Well, yes. Yes, it is. So use brown rice, and limit the quantity. Starch isn’t terrible for you, it’s just when all of your calories come from that and meat that you have a problem. Unless you’re allergic to rice. In which case, you may want to not look at this recipe.
This isn’t the fried rice you order from the Asian-inspired takeout place down the road, anyway. (Though I’ve been known to use leftover rice from takeout for my friend rice!) This is healthy and deliciously flavorful.
“Wait,” you say. (You sure have a lot of questions…) “Doesn’t fried rice just mean throwing everything you have into a pan or a wok with some rice and frying it up?”
Well yes. But mine’s awesome. Read on, and ye shall be converted.
Tom ka taohu is a variant of the classic tom ka ga of Thai and Lao cuisine. So sayeth the great Wikipedia, amen.
I love cooking Asian food because it’s easy, fast and generally healthy. Here’s my take on the classic coconut milk soup, using a sweet base of green tea and sea vegetables instead of stock for an antioxidant boost and sweet flavor.
Don’t be scared off by the long list of ingredients! I swear it’s really easy to cook. Plus, all of the vegetables are completely optional; you can use any or all that I mention, or substitute your own. (Try tomato chunks, and let me know how it goes!)