Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Caradamom Saffron Bitters

Most people just think bitters are for fancy craft cocktails or your aunt's Old Fashioned, but I find bitters to be a refreshing and aromatic addition to sparkling water.  

Usually, but not always, containing an alcohol base, bitters are basically herbs, roots, or other aromatics in a concentrated, or bittersweet form.  Bitters have a long and slightly sordid history.  Well before prohibition, they were used medicinally and the British added them to drinks to help cover the taste of quinine which was in tonic water and used to fight off malaria.   When prohibition came along, bitters were still available since they were considered "medicinal" and despite their frequently high alcohol content are still sold as alcoholic non-beverage products and taxed as such.  Totally weird politics going on here. 

The best thing is, you don't need to buy the super expensive fancy bitters; you can make them yourself!

Miso Cookies

The recipe called for miso paste and half an egg -- I had to make these cookies!  Sorry, I'm getting a little ahead of myself.  My book club dinner/meeting is tonight, and I'm assigned to bring a dessert.  I rarely make desserts but, when I do, I love to make desserts with a unique twist.  So I'm looking at recipes from one of my favorite websites, japanesecooking101, and that's when I saw the recipe for Miso Cookies.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tacoma Postcards

I went to a fun party this month called Tacoma Postcards.  It was a community building party for the Tacoma Historical society with a arty twist.

Everyone was encouraged to make at least one postcard representing one of their favorite (or least favorite) buildings in Tacoma. 

Now, I think of myself as an arty person that is interested in architecture, but when it came down to making my own, I was a little stumped where to start.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Building a Hot (Pepper) House

The south side of our house is the perfect spot to grow our tomatoes and hot peppers with sunshine from sun-up to sundown.  This year we decided to try enclosing our hot peppers to maximize the heat, and hopefully boost our yield.  I was able to utilize the small hothouse enclosures that formerly housed my seedlings, but unfortunately they were not designed to hold larger pots and so could only hold half of my plants!  I searched for larger enclosures but either the dimensions were wrong, or the price was more than I'd be willing to pay.  So I built my own!

More Experimentation with Smoothies

 I started making smoothies at the beginning of the year to get some more whole foods, hydration and variety in my diet and have been making them at least 2-3 times a week.  At first I was making them just for breakfast, but I have really upped my running training and have now added them as a great post-workout snack.  

I used to be pretty anti-protein powder for added supplements.  Even though I am eating mostly vegan these days, it is still pretty easy to get all your protein (and vitamins) from nuts, veggies, and whole grains.  I add in the occasional piece of fish to boost my protein as well.   But I noticed with my more intense weeks of training, I was starting to be pretty tired and sluggish.  I have been reading about vegan athletes' diets and they all seem to use a lot of protein powders.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Building a Boat Sculpture: Part 1

 The great thing about being at artist in Tacoma is that a lot of community art events exist here.  I've been asked, along with 9 other artists, to create a boat sculpture for the Maritime Festival in September.  It seems a long ways off but I want to make a fun, unique sculpture and that take time so I have started my sketches and prototypes now. 

I started by researching different boat types and making a lot of sketches.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Eat Your Vegetables!

Some women collect shoes, and others purses, clothes, or knick-knacks but not me!  Nope, I collect cookbooks!  I just love to pour over the pages, oohing, aahing over the photos of all that delicious food!  I love to cook the food, too, but now that our kids are out of the house it gets to be a chore adjusting the recipes for just the hubby and me.  Which is why Eat Your Vegetables, Bold Recipes For The Single Cook by Joe Yonan caught my eye.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

And Now for a Total Geek Out

 My husband and I were on our way to meet some friends at a local wine bar and found ourselves to be a bit early and so stopped into what I thought was a comic book store next door. 

It was a comic book store, but also a total geek out vintage shop full of toys, games, and other ephemera from popular science fiction and fantasy.   Each area of the shop was given to a different show or movie, like Star Trek, X-Men, or Star Wars. 

When I saw this Darth Vader, I knew I had to have it.  I had actually owned one of these when I was about 7 or 8 and foolishly sold it at a garage sale when I had moved on to other hobbies, like collecting model horses.   But what is it?

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Spicy Bonzo Salad (Vegan Chickpea Salad)

I eat a lot of garbanzo beans.  Many people think garbanzos are just for hummus or chop salads.  Both are delicious but there are numerous other ways to enjoy this versatile legume that is full of iron, protein, and fiber.  One of my favorite ways to prepare them is to mash them or pulse them in a food processor.  Then they can easily be mixed into veggie patties, salads, even cake!

Think of the mashed garbanzo salad as the vegan equivalent of tuna salad.  Once you try this, you might not ever go back to tuna again.