Tuesday, November 19, 2019

KOSOX 2-Tier Sushi Box #25

Alternating slices of a new-to-me brand of veggie pepperoni and the old standby that is hickory smoked Tofurky, some herbed bread sticks peeking out from under some of the silicone baran that protected them from getting wet, some rectangles of Violife provolone, cucumber slices, and black olives.

This was from about a month ago. As I tried to mentally recover from the car accident, I found it impossible to actually cook, and a lot of my meals were sandwiches and frozen dinners. But even though I wasn't blogging, I made a point of at least trying to pull together some blog-worthy meals, to share when I was up to it again. I can't say that what you'll see over the next couple of weeks will be particularly impressive, but they may give you some ideas from when you, too, run out of the ability to comprehend what it would take to cook.

(An aside: cooking isn't the issue as much as the rest of it--planning, making a list, shopping, prepping...it's so much anyway it may be miraculous any of us manage not to starve to death. Or maybe I was just having a hard time, and it does not tend to seem insurmountable most of the time.)

The veggie pepperoni was something new I found at Wegmans: Green Slice Vegeroni. Not all of the Green Slice vegetarian slices were vegan, but these, and the mixed garden deli slices, both were. They were too expensive for me to be likely to buy when I am not having some sort of crisis, but they were good for the time that I was struggling.

During this season, I thought a lot about how we try to present a perfect picture to the world. I've read other bloggers who struggle with this, for whatever reason. Their reasons and mine are distinct. Some can't afford much more than rice and beans day in and day out and think their meals are too boring to show. Some have had deep personal losses and find that everything reminds them of it. Some feel bad about eating too many meals out, and that they should be cooking. But none of us have perfect lives. Whoever you are, whether you read my stuff regularly or not, know that I'm pretty sure we're all doing our best with what we have to work with, and sometimes we have less to work with.

What I feel isn't rational--guilty for having spent so much more on food for a while after the car accident and all its aftermath took over all my energy--and I'm going to try very hard not to apologize for the meals you'll see as a result. Food for Dissertating, like me, will go back to normal eventually. In the meantime, I spent much more than usual on deli slices, fancy cheese, and very easy stuff I could pull out of the freezer. I went to the store when I could manage to do it, often without an actual list, and bought and ate too many chocolate bars. I did not optimize my trips. I did not optimize anything. But I survived.

And if you have survived your storm so far, too, you deserve credit for it, no matter what it may feel like sometimes.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Review: The Gingered Peach (Bakery/Cafe)

So...long time no see! I didn't mean to be gone so long, but what else is new? It seems like every unplanned hiatus ends up totally derailing me. I should probably just accept that I have almost no energy to spare and when it gets absorbed in something out of the ordinary, I will not get to share fun blog posts. I don't want to accept it, but that's life. And this whole thing with the bus-and-car business turned out to be much more than I first thought it would be.


After the accident, feeling morose but wanting to take advantage of my rental car, I picked up a friend and we went to a bakery/cafe called the Gingered Peach in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. I'd been there before but my friend hadn't yet.

It is not a vegan bakery, but they have a lot of vegan options, as you can see from the above photo I snapped. The sign in front of the cookies up front is tilted so you can't read it here, but those are also vegan (rosemary lavender and ginger), and they have vegan cupcakes (not pictured). Plus, if you want coffee or tea, they have non-dairy milks to choose from, and they sell vegan chocolate bars.

I chose the vegan blueberry crumb bar. It was crowded, so we got it to go and went outside to have our snack.

It was delightful! It was very crumbly but that's truth in advertising, no?

This is not really a good place to go if you want someplace quiet to sit for a cup of tea or coffee and a snack, but it's nice for picking things up to grab and go. Overall, for vegans I give it a 3.5/5. (I will probably increase the rating if they ever start selling vegan scones.)

Friday, October 25, 2019

Skater Lunch Box #72

American goulash (veganized, of course) with broccoli.

This was my last lunch before the accident. I really love goulash, and I will be making more of it because it's pretty cheap. The basics are all so inexpensive: TVP, macaroni, canned tomatoes. Add some spices and broth and maybe some dairy-free cheese and you're set. It's the kind of food that brings back childhood memories. I made a big pot of this right before the crash and I ate leftovers for a while after that and was really grateful to have them.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Temari Rabbit 2-Tier Bento #121

Tomato-basil flavor bruschetta toasts, a bean dip from Rose Elliot's New Complete Vegetarian (2010), more potato salad, and cucumber slices.

This, too, was from before the accident, and I am pretty sure I had this the day after the lunch I posted on Monday. The dip was cannellini bean, black olive, sun-dried tomato, and basil dip, which seemed like it would go well with the bruschetta toasts I had (Shop Rite brand; they are excellent on their own, too). It was pretty good, though I think next time I'd add more olives. I'm a fiend for olives.

I still don't have my car back yet. The accident was on October 1, which now feels like a million years ago. Such is life, I suppose. I've been really stressed out between this and some major things happening at work (although I will happily report that I am probably going to be permanently, rather than just temporarily, promoted--long story, but clearly I could use the money right now!). The stress brought on a flare of myathenia gravis symptoms, so I'm sure you'll be seeing some odd meals as I try to get my feet under me again in more ways than one. Often of late, although I am aware of how important trying to keep things in balance is, my meals are just a way to get enough calories in. I'm at least pretty certain this won't last forever.

To end on a happier note, here's a photo I took recently of something pretty:
I don't actually know what this plant is, though. If you do, can you help me identify it?

Monday, October 21, 2019

Monbento Original #14 (Single Tier)

Improvisational bean salad (canned beans, red onion, and vinaigrette), some apple energy bites (recipe from Life Made Sweeter), potato salad of a sort, and cucumbers tossed with chopped tomato.

This lunch was from before the accident and I was trying to eat things up rather than buy new things. I was intrigued by the Joy of Cooking's suggested add-ins for potato salad so I put black olives in it; I don't think I'm likely to do that again but it was fine.

I liked the apple bites, but then, I seem to like most energy ball type things.

As for the rest of things, thank you for your kind comments. Getting my car fixed turned out to be a major saga involving parts that couldn't be obtained, workers being on strike against their company, a body shop tech who went on vacation, etc., and I don't yet have it back. I'm still very stressed out and working on minimizing the stress. I don't expect my posting schedule to make a whole lot of sense for a while, but I will drop in where I can.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Unplanned Hiatus

Hey, everyone! I was recently involved in a hit and run accident with a bus. (The driver has been found; note that driving a bus means your bus is clearly labeled and you are easy to find, so driving away after an accident is more than a little crazy, aside from being immoral.) Though I was physically uninjured, I am overwhelmed and need to take a break from several things. I expect to be silent here for about a week. I have some lunches photographed that aren't quite ready for you, and I honestly don't know what my lunches will look like over the next week or so. One lunch I had recently consisted of a snack pack of hummus and pretzels with ginger ale and corn nuts for dessert from the 7-Eleven near my work. I'm not exactly batting a thousand here.

Today I have no lunch to show, but fall is really beautiful, so I'll show you some pretty things in this post. (I've been practicing my non-food photography for a while and I have no clear outlet for these things anyway.)

First, a sugar maple leaf, changing color:

And a smoketree leaf with a red stem among fallen needles of a pine tree:

Some stuff still blooms this time of year, like these clematis blossoms:

And this toad lily:

While other things are getting berries now, like this vibernum:

And conifers are starting to bud, like this cedar of Lebanon tree:

And this cypress tree:

What does fall look like where you are?

Friday, October 4, 2019

Recipe: Pumpkin Oatmeal

As you know if you've been following along, I've been looking for more ways to use pumpkin. Well, here's one of my favorite new-to-me ways!

A gently spiced, creamy pumpkin oatmeal really says fall, doesn't it?

This recipe is adapted from the House of Yumm, but I didn't want to make quite so much oatmeal, plus I had quick-cooking oats on hand rather than old fashioned. It's one of my favorite breakfasts now. I like my oatmeal a bit thin, as you can see, but you can reduce the soy milk by a few tablespoons if you want it thicker.

The garnishes are totally optional but in my opinion they take this to the next level.

Pumpkin Oatmeal
Serves 1

1 cup soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
Pinch of salt
2-3 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon maple syrup, plus more for optional garnish
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, plus more for optional garnish
Pinch of cloves
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
Non-dairy half-and-half (optional)

Mix soy milk, salt, pumpkin, maple syrup, and spices in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat.

Stir in oats and cook, stirring, for one minute.

Remove from heat and let stand for 3-4 minutes.

Pour into your serving bowl. Top with a drizzle of maple syrup, some non-dairy half-and-half, and sprinkling of cinnamon.