Wednesday, May 13, 2009


It's been a while. I've been cooking, but very very uninspired. I think it was the winter doldrums, you know? Now that we're getting some sun in our part of the world again (she types as it rains...) I've been feeling very inspired, motivated, and spring-cleaning-ish.

New Direction?
I've been thinking a lot about either starting a new blog or changing and expanding the focus of this one. I'm not sure where I'll end up yet. But lately I've been bitten by the organizing/cleaning/decluttering/money-saving/meal-planning bug...that is to say, sustainable, mindful home management. So you may be seeing more posts on those topics in the near future. Or you may see me linking to a new place where all that stuff will be. Let me know if you have an opinion either way. But there will still be delicious, vegan food. Just, you know, more than that.

Big New Goal: Meal Plan!
And follow the dang thing...
Monday: Honeybaked lentils with coconut rice, baked winter squash with ginger; leftover squash got leveraged into pumpkin Squash Muffins, yum!!! Super double bonus: Made homemade whole wheat bread! (Used bread machine dough cycle, which is the awesome).

Tuesday: (frozen) Pesto with spaghetti, chopped leftover celebration roast, and sun-dried tomatoes, steamed broccoli with lemon, red leaf salad with chopped Pink Lady apples and local hazelnuts with homemade balsamic vinaigrette

Wednesday: Rustic Black-Eyed Peas with Mushrooms, (leftover) coconut rice, garlicky kale and more of the red leaf salad combo from Tuesday

Nearly Instant Thai Soup with Corn (from Vegan Express), more salad combo!

Pizza night with pesto, broccoli or kale (depending what's left!), sun-dried tomatoes

Breakfast: biscuits and gravy, grapefruit. Dinner: Burrito night out with friends

Breakfast: Pancakes! Dinner: Indian Night! Chana Masala (with extra gravy to freeze), cumin rice, salad

Mac and Cashew Cheese, [whatever fresh veggies I buy at the farmer's market Sunday]

Tuesday: Gimme Chimis (from ED&BV), Guac & Corn Chips

Wednesday: African Peanut Stew, bread

: Out of town; play by ear

Garden in the Works!

Did you know my parents have a mostly empty 2 acre field behind their house? Well, they do. And we are lucky enough to use some of that field for an awesome kitchen garden! This is a little tricky, because, well, they live 3 hours away. But we visit about every other weekend so the little dude can get his fix of grandma crack, so we're hoping that we can keep it going and maybe bribe my parents with produce to water and weed occasionally.

This past weekend Chad went out to roto-till the sod into our garden. And that sucked. A lot. So my dad went across the street and asked if his friendly neighbor wouldn't mind using his tractor to dig up our beds. $40 later, voila! Garden. We measured 3 foot beds and figured out our paths, and altogether, we figure we have about 700 square feet of actual gardening space. Woo-hoo!

So far we've planted:
  • 6 Quinalt strawberry starts
  • 3 Tomato starts
  • Snap peas
  • Shelling peas
  • Leeks
  • Scallions
  • Spinach
  • Cabbage
  • Pac Choi
  • Heirloom lettuce
And we have a LOT of space to go. My dad insists we grow completely insane and not-of-this-climate things like corn. But we'll also have lots of bush green beans, carrots, kale, chard, summer squash, broccoli, and possibly potatoes and bell peppers (although we have to start peppers inside and I'm not really sure I'm that ambitious this year.) We also hope to put in some perennial herbs. Oh! And we convinced my parents to plant 6 fruit trees! Woo-hoo! 3 apples (gala and honeycrisps) and 3 peaches. I'm so excited! Our plan to transform their land into Post Peak Oil readiness is underway, bwaaaahaaahaaa!

We're also planning on container gardening at our place. We've got three tomato starts ready to plant, and some chives and oregano to re-pot (who knew they were perennial? Not me until they came back to life recently!) And our thyme is coming back. Our rosemary never died, but might need a larger home. I'd also love to do some salad greens and some kale in some half whiskey barrels. But we'll see how far we get.

The raspberry canes are starting to look leafy and productive! I can't WAIT until fresh raspberry time!

Ok, off to rid my kitchen sink of dishes. It's another new goal of mine - empty, shiny kitchen sink. Dishes washed and dealt with immediately. It doesn't sound like a big deal, but man, it really improves my mood and encourages me to spend more time in my kitchen.

Smelling the lilac blooms from our backyard is a big incentive, too.


carrie said...

Glad you're back Chessa!! Sounds like you've got a lot on your plate for the summer with all of your gardening!! I have a small garden, and some containers on the back deck, but you are quite ambitious.

I, like you, felt quite uninspired through the end of the winter. Unfortunately inspiration still hasn't come. The weather here has been nothing but rain, and the farmers market is pretty skimp right now, so I'm still waiting for my inspiration to come.

Good luck with all of your projects. I'm looking forward to more about sustainable home management.....I always love to hear others tips.

Bethany said...

welcome back, I missed you!

I think you should keep it all in this same blog. i'm sure other vegans are interested in gardening, etc.

I totally hear you w/ the winter doldrums. i was pretty hard hit this year. my energy levels are back up due to the sun we've had lately (though today isn't helping).

that is so cool that you've got a mega garden growing. there is a place south of seattle that sells lots of fruit trees and things like kiwi that can grow in our area. i think it has "rainier" in the name.

my big gardening plans this year are to clear out the brambles and mini alders in the back yard for once and for all. then plant the fruit trees in the fall. I'm going to the seattle tilth sale in issaquah next weekend to get some herbs to start my herb garden now instead of waiting.

boo hiss to a 100% boring grass lawn!

Tammy James said...

Hi Chessa I followed your link from Simple green frugal , interested as you seem to be at a similar place to me on the journey. I started with the menu plan about two months ago and am amazed at how it has changed things here. Its a cold windy almost winter day here and your lilac looks divine, in a few moths that will be my table :)

Chessa said...

Carrie! Yeah, the garden is exciting. I wouldn't be nearly as ambitious if my husband wasn't driving the whole thing! We plan on doing some containers here at our little yard, too. Can't wait to have fresh herbs within arms reach. I hope you guys get some sunshine soon and that your farmer's market perks up!

Bethany! Thanks, I've missed you, too! Yeah, I think I will just roll the whole thing into this blog. I really just want one place where i can talk about all aspects of life - not just vegan cooking. But there's no reason it can't be here! :) Thanks for the heads-up on the nursery, we were just talking about how we wanted to get some Kiwis on my parent's property. Our neighbor down the street grows them and we get pangs of envy every time we pass them. Good luck at the plant sale, can't wait to hear what you get!

Welcome, Tammy! Glad to see you here. I just commented on your blog, too, but I wanted to **wave** from here as well!