Expanding (no fooling)

A lot has been going on…

We moved back to our house, started putting things back where we thought they belonged, celebrated a bunch of holidays, ate a lot of good food, starting entertaining friends again, began the preliminary work for the garden, wrote, crafted, wandered about, and started growing a baby.

It’s been a good few months.

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I found what I’d been missing

Yes, I’m alive. Mostly. I’ve been tearing my hair out looking for a car, but I think I’m done. Knock on Wood.
Anyway, I stopped in at the British Pantry in Redmond today, and they had baked beans! Not the nasty meaty kind! Just the nasty tomatoey kind I fell in love with in Europe! Yay! They’re a bit pricey, but totally worth it.
I’m gradually reclaiming friends, family, and kitchen appliances, but we don’t get to move back into our house for another couple of weeks since our sea shipment hasn’t arrived.

Oh! Thanksgiving was pretty nice. I made the Chickpea Cutlets from Vcon for the first time and they were really splendid. Just great. And I made mediocre garlic mashed potatoes (I mashed them with a small whisk) and one batch of eh gravy and one batch of tasty gravy. 3 dinners later, I’m done eating the same thing. Except pie. Which I’ve eaten for breakfast every morning for the last 3.
If you are looking for a new cake recipe, make the pumpkin cake with pecan streusel from Veganomicon. Delish.

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Making do

Shane and I are set to leave Ireland in 2 days. We just moved out of our flat this afternoon (we’re staying with friends), but our sea and air shipments were packed up several days ago. Which means we’re living out of bags of carefully selected stuff.

When we moved here, it was the same situation, until our sea shipment arrived in Dublin. But it isn’t as easy as just buying new stuff to tide you over. Everything is more expensive here. Even in the charity shops.

So here is a stir fry I made in a soup pot (I didn’t pack the wok). I would say it isn’t ideal. But not the stuff failures are made of.

stir fry in pot

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Potatoes

I know it’s cliche. But people in Ireland eat a lot of potatoes.

Chips (fries) are particularly popular and you will see them on pretty much every menu, be it traditional, Chinese, Indian, Italian, Thai…you get the idea. Shane has seen people at work order a slice of pizza with chips. Or a plate with some main dish like pasta, and roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes and chips all on the same plate. I’m not fooling.

I like potatoes, too. It’s not just from being in Ireland. They’re easy  to prepare, really cheap, and can be delicious. When I was a kid, my mom made baked potatoes for supper sometimes, and we always topped them with butter, sour cream, cheese, and broccoli. In Ireland, and in the UK, it’s very common to have a “jacket potato” filled with baked beans. Or coleslaw. Or pizza toppings. I bet you could even get a jacket potato filled with chips! But you probably wouldn’t want to. Probably.

Besides my undying love of french fries, I love hash browns, roasted potatoes, latkes, mashed potatoes, and tater tots. Even though tater tots do not exist in Ireland, I still feel solidarity with Ireland in my appreciation of the potato. Actually, except for a guy I knew in college who had a traumatic potato experience, I’ve never known anyone who didn’t like them.

Go eat a potato. You’ll be glad you did.

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Truffle Kerfuffle

2 days ago, a lovely friend bought me a vegan truffle at one of the veg places here in Dublin. The truffle was nice. Chocolatey, coated with pistachios, a little fluffy, and super sweet. It reminded me of some truffles I made almost exactly 1 year ago:

Truffles

Unlike the truffle I had on Wednesday, which was made with cocoa powder, icing sugar (powdered sugar), raisins, and some other stuff I don’t remember, the truffles in the picture are made with a blended cashew base. They were super creamy and dense and flavorful. I think the only downside was that they were a little soft and needed to be kept in the fridge. Next time, maybe I will dip them in melted chocolate to provide a bit of barrier between the middly part and my hand.

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Indian Takeaway

We’ve gotten a few takeaway Indian dinners whilst living in Dublin. There are a lot of curry shops around. Lots. That is, compared to the Seattle area. And there are a lot of East Indian places in Seattle. It’s also one of the easiest cuisines from which to order vegan dishes. Generally, I just order food from the vegetarian listing on the menu and specify no ghee/dairy (some people don’t think of ghee as dairy because the milk solids have been removed…)

I usually cook rice at home, because I bristle at the prospect of paying 2 euro per person for plain white rice at home. Tonight I also prepared the sauteed spinach and tomato recipe from Vcon to go with what I figured would be a pretty brownish sauce covered affair. I was right, even though the food was better than most.

I think I like the idea of a takeaway curry better than the actuality of a said curry. It always tastes good in my mind, but I’m often underwhelmed.

Some of the meals we’ve had are decent. It’s clear they used fresh veg and the seasoning is varied from dish to dish.

Some of the curries we’ve had were pretty rotten. Not literally, I suppose, but just unpleasant. Mushy veg, bad/non-existent flavor.

One thing these meals had in common, however, was that they were really greasy. I might be remembering curry back home through un-greased glasses, but golly. The oil that spills forth from these little aluminum tubs of lazy-person’s supper is abundant.

I’ll have to report when we get back to the states. My memory could very well be faulty.

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Nibble nibble

One thing I love about being vegan is snacking. In my ideal mode, I eat bits and bobs all day long. There are certainly days when I forget to eat enough and I wonder why I feel like crap, but normally it isn’t hard. I love to eat. As long as I keep low-prep foods around: ripe fruit, leftovers, bean dip, roasted nuts, cookies, muffins, crunchy things, creamy things, frozen things, I will have a snack every 2 (or fewer) hours.

Now, this isn’t a matter of eating to appease boredom. I know that’s a bad idea, even though food is so entertaining… But my blood sugar level seems to be sensitive (it’s hereditary) and I try to maintain balance, otherwise I get irritable, exhausted, droopy, and I get migraines sometimes, (way less than I did before acupuncture, however). Also, it can be a challenge to get enough calories if I’m just eating 3 meals a day. Well, if I’m eating 3 healthy meals a day.

Whenever Shane and I are planning a day out on the weekend, my first order of business is snack food. We generally pack carrot sticks, apples, a banana, biscuits/cookies, and something crunchy like corn cakes or crisps. If it’s going to be a longish outing, we bring sandwiches as well (hummus and veg or peanut butter and jam). Part of this is to make sure we’ll have something to eat if vegan pickings are slim, and part of it is to protect Shane from my low-fuel wrath. A well-fed Becca means everybody wins.

Danger:

Stupid mittens

 We’re okay:

hob nobs

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