Friday, February 24, 2017

As we head into the weekend, I've got a few discoveries/inspirations/perennial favorites to share:

Image via Vivino

Wine pairings add another layer to the fun of Girl Scout cookie season. I was thinking about baking a cake this weekend, but maybe I just need to pick up some Tagalongs and a bottle of sparkling rose instead? Get more details about the suggested varietals from Vivino.

Speaking of seasonal treats, the unofficial cancellation of winter this year means that I'm already starting to hear one of my favorite sounds: the evening calls of spring peepers. If you didn't know that the source of this nighttime noise is tiny and adorable, consider yourself educated.
Image via Amazon

And while we're on the subject of spring, I'm thinking that some new sandals might be in order. I love a good footbed sandal. I think of them as "Whole Foods chic," which is kind of what I go for. I've got my eye on these printed Muk Luks from Amazon. Even the footbed has a floral print! They would stand out from all the brown Birks in the bulk foods section of my local co-op.

The DMV is in for some rain this weekend, so I took advantage of the unseasonably-warm weather to head out to Leesylvania State Park for a bit after work. It is one of my favorite places, but I don't think I'd been in over a year! I hope to have a state-park-filled 2017.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

This particular Wednesday might be better described as "Wine and Wool Wednesday."

My plan for Wool Wednesdays is to share whatever I'm currently knitting or crocheting. One of the things I'm working on right now is the Woman's Cabled Vest from Plymouth Yarn Company. I saw a sample hanging up in my local yarn store, and I thought, "I have to make that." I'm a sucker for a big, drapey collar and some lofty texture. I'm using the Encore Worsted in Dark Wedgewood (0598). It's the yarn featured in the pattern, and, at $6 a (generous) skein, the price is right.

Don't you just love yarn store kismet?

It turns out that, while I love the look of the cabled ribs, I don't particularly enjoy working them. I decided to discontinue the cable pattern after binding off the button bands and switch to plain stockinette. I think it's going to go much faster and put a little less stress on my hands. I also decided to do just a single buttonhole at the top of the button band to better emphasize a single fancy button. It's working up quickly enough that I wouldn't be shocked if the finished product is next week's Wool Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

I'm trying something new to get back into the swing of blogging. I've giving myself an alliterative prompt for Tuesdays through Fridays: Tasty Tuesday, Wool Wednesday, etc. As the name implies, on Tasty Tuesdays I plan to share recipes that I've (modified and) made. Today I've got a vegan-ified enchilada pasta. It's really quick and easy to make, and very delicious and filling!

While your pasta cooks: books and a beer.
This dish was inspired by a recipe from No. 2 Pencil that I found on Pinterest. I love pasta and Mexican flavors, and lately I've been really drawn to recipes involving olives. I've also been learning more about what goes on behind the scenes with commercial meat, poultry, and dairy production. For about a year, my rule has been that anything I cook is vegetarian, but I can order whatever I want when I go out to eat. As I've learned more about the dairy and egg industries specifically, I've been slowing moving from being a vegetarian home cook to a vegan home cook.

Not going to win a beauty contest, but it's Grade A comfort food.
I probably modify carnivore recipes as much as I select vegetarian ones. One of my favorite tricks is to use lentils in place of ground meat. I like to buy dry lentils and cook them in a slow-cooker. For a quarter pound of lentils, I use 1.5 cups of water and let them cook for about 6 hours. If you like your lentils a little more "al dente" and/or you're pressed for time, you could probably do just 5 hours. To modify this recipe, I used my lentils, added a bunch of spices (oregano, cayenne, cumin, chili powder, salt, black pepper), and left out the cheese. I also used vegetable broth. If you don't count all the time the lentils spent in the slow-cooker, it may have been faster to whip up my vegan version than the original recipe. With generous seasoning, I didn't miss the animal products at all!