Monthly Archives: April 2013

What are you doing?

What are you doing? That’s what I keep asking myself, especially around finals time. I get a kick when people tell me that I don’t like change or take risks… I guess quitting a decent job, ergo a serious lifestyle change, to go back to school full-time to do something completely different doesn’t seem like a change or risky.

"Mountain Climber " by Sura Nualpradid

“Mountain Climber “
by Sura Nualpradid

I don’t have much to write about today. I am prepping for finals and end of term projects. I’ve learned so much since September. I learned that there is a hell of a lot of nutrition information that I don’t know. That there are a lot of people out there that are not ready to make changes – real changes that can be life or death. I see them every week at the hospital I am doing my supervised field experience at.

Change is never easy but when you are ready and see that it can be for the best it can be the most amazing feeling ever. I know that not all change feels like it is for the best, in those situations you have to make the most of it – you know, how you are in charge of your destiny. When I lost a job 2 years ago I decided to volunteer at a local animal shelter –  although that change wasn’t for the best, one of the outcomes was positive.  While I was very fortunate to get a new job within a couple of weeks I am now happy to be back at that shelter.

Now that I think about it losing that job started the trajectory that lead to where I am now, maybe it was the best thing that ever happened to me. So the lesson here is that while you are in the midst of change it may not seem like the right (or sane) place to be, it could be the best thing that ever happens to you.

Since I have been busy with school I don’t have an original recipe to post. I do want to share a wonderful stuffed pepper recipe garnished with shiitake bacon that I used for a demo in one of my culinary courses.  I love the fact that the chef that teaches the class that loves real bacon found this bacon to be “impressive”. Enjoy!

Spicy Vegan Stuffed Pepper with Shiitake Bacon

Source: VegNews Nov 10 2008 (my birthday!)
Recipe by Robin Robertson

Source: VegNews

6 red bell peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 16-ounce can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup tomato salsa
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons minced canned jalapeños
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup apple juice or water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice off the tops of the peppers, reserve and set aside. Remove the seeds and membranes and discard. Plunge peppers into a pot of boiling water and cook until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Remove from the water and drain, cut side down. Chop the pepper tops and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and reserved chopped pepper tops and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the onion mixture with the rice, beans, salsa, peanut butter, jalapeños, parsley, sugar, salt, and pepper to taste. Mix well.
Fill the pepper cavities evenly with the rice mixture, packing tightly. Place upright in a baking dish. Add the apple juice to the baking dish, cover tightly, and bake until the peppers are tender and the stuffing is hot, about 40 minutes.

Shiitake Bacon

Source: Alex Jamieson

2 cups thinly sliced shiitake caps
3 tablespoons  olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 360 F. In a bowl mix mushrooms with oil and salt, make sure they are all coated well. Spread the sliced shiitake caps on a sheet pan covered with a piece of parchment paper. Bake for 40-50 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until crispy. Remove from oven and eat while warm. You can also make this in a dehydrator, I don’t know how long but I would check it after 2 hours.

Be careful for what you wish for…

OK, in my last post I had a garden wishlist and well, yeah, since then I started a lot of seeds. Sometimes what you wish for is a good thing and comes true. Check out what’s been growing since we last chatted:

Kabucha Squash

Kabucha Squash

Zucchini

Zucchini

Black Beans

Black Beans

Squash Trifecta

Cucumber, Spaghetti & Butternut Squash

Mammoth Sunflowers

Mammoth Sunflowers

Calabasa

Calabasa (Pumpkin)

Sweet, huh, all were planted between 4/5 – 4/9. I am very happy and can’t wait to transplant them next month. Our last frost date is 5/15, though I have a feeling we are done for the season, I hope!

There was something else that I wished for that didn’t turn out quite as well as my seedlings or as I had hoped for. I had a position at a shop that was always a dream job for me, the kind of store I thought I was meant to be working in. I loved the customers, however my values didn’t align with the owner’s and a falling out in January didn’t make it any easier. Why did I stay? Well, I needed the income and the people I met kept me coming in, and quite frankly I liked getting the discount. A few weeks ago I was asked to leave that job and I am glad it happened. I was not happy there and though the customers kept me there I felt my vitality being zapped when I dealt with the owner, which was always. I don’t blame him, I should have left a lot sooner.

The big lesson that I learned from this whole experience is that if something doesn’t feel right then it isn’t. Sometimes it’s not easy to change a situation, however, you have to do what’s right for you. Like plants we all need the right environment to thrive.

My garden wishlist

So I am getting ready to start some seeds indoors and have been thinking of what I want to grow this year. I have some kobucha squash seeds that I saved that I will be planting in the next few days. I harvested them a little while ago so they will hopefully be viable.

DSCF4342

I have some dill and garlic chives going on in the light shelf too. I also planted rosemary but I don’t think it’s germinating. There’s something there but they could be weeds from the garden  I use garden soil and reuse potting soil so anything can be coming up.

DSCF4350

Dill

Garlic Chives

Garlic Chives

I have tomatoes and peppers going strong, a little too strong and am afraid that they may outgrow their pots before mid-May. I was hoping to have them produce fruit inside but they are taking forever to grow (I know I am contradicting myself here, stay with me).

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Peppers

Peppers

So that’s what I have, what about what I want? I want the squashes, I also want cucumbers. I have had NO LUCK with cucumbers, not sure why they produce fruit and it’s small and shrivels up in no time. I want beans, lots and lots of beans. Jared and I talked about it and we both agreed to try to plant beans this summer, I want to plant all of the legumes we eat: peas, black, kidney, navy, chickpeas, adzuki and pinto. I am not sure if any of these are pole or bush or whatever so it will be fun to experiment. Now I just need a spot to start them inside

What’s on your garden wishlist? Please feel free to share what you are planning on doing this year and any tips you have for beans!