Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Yesterday and today have been "kitchen factory" days. I didn't do too much, but some basics were needed. The chickpeas were soaked yesterday and cooked today. Yesterday I made a new batch of tofu mayo ( I used the terrific recipe from Vegan Planet, subbing regular vinegar for white wine vinegar) and today I made a Parmesan substitute. I also make our own peanut butter (it's just 5 c or roasted peanuts with a tsp of salt and a tsp of sugar in the food processor ~ SO easy!), soup seasoning mix and taco spice mix. This deletes unnecessary ingredients such as eggs or MSG while also keeping packaging to a bare minimum or none at all (I bring the peanuts home in a used bread bag, but I'd carry them in my hands if I could!). You know... it occurs to me that I could even sew up some draw-string bags for other bulk purchases... hmmm... more DIY.
Of course, doing it yourself takes time, but I have much more time than money, so it's really a no-brainer to me.
About a week ago I was having a discussion with my mil. She was going to have us over for dinner and was trying to go over options that we could have. My mil is the sweetest thing, but she does not enjoy cooking (after raising 6 children, I don't blame her wanting a break!). So, she was going through a list of frozen dinners that she might make, but most everything she mentioned contained cheese or milk. Finally, she said what many others end up asking me, "What do you eat?!" For a moment I was actually flustered as how to answer, because I had just been having to say, "No, not that," so much. Of course we eat and we eat a lot and a big variety of delicious food! Then it dawned on me why it might seem impossible to many folks to be able to enjoy themselves on a vegan diet: I don't eat convenience foods.
Now, this is not to say that there aren't some great vegan convenience options out there, and we do have veggie burgers and veggie dogs (though I know how to make those too!) but with a family, are you kidding me? I'm sure I've mentioned here before that most people who know me think I love to cook. Well, I don't love to cook, but I do love good food. In order for us to eat delicious food - to eat well and eat well every day - somebody's got to do some cooking, and so it's the DIY lifestyle in the kitchen for me.
These are the choices we make when we decided long ago to be a one-income family. With the economy as it is, I don't know what the future holds, but I am glad to have had practice at doing so many things ourselves. Of course, this extends beyond the kitchen. Paul dives bravely into new projects and has saved us oodles of money by taking time to research home repairs online. He loathes the plumbing projects, but tackles those, in addition to auto maintenance, other home maintenance and yard and landscaping as well. He built our girls swing set - that still gets daily use - himself as well as the garden fencing and gate.
That's a nice segue into my garden news. I'm giving it a go again this year, but no tomatoes. I need a vacation from my tomato battles. :(
This will be the "Year of the Greens," with kale, collards, and two types of swiss chard planted. We're also having carrots again and trying our hands at snap peas and radishes. These all are supposedly notoriously easy crops to grow, so we'll see how this novice (STILL) Florida, organic gardener fares. I was a prolific MN gardener, but I only seem to do well in FL with growing flowers. Considering that Florida means "land of flowers," that hardly seems a notable accomplishment, but alas, it is all I have! :)
Finally, I share with you a few shots of my new "decor." The library books weren't getting as much attention once they'd been plucked from the library shelves and placed in the library basket at home. So, I am strewing the material more openly now. And I have to say, I really do like the look. :) I love books, so I don't mind if they are on display in my home. I have never really wanted the look of "school" all over my house, but this looks warm and inviting to me: a great selection of pictures and words to enjoy and, possibly, an ever-changing decorating scheme!