Hello October!

I am writing this post in the final dwindling hours of September. It is still warm and sunny in Portland, but I long for clouds, rain, and cooler temperatures. I am hoping that by eating comforting meals, the weather will take a hint! For example, a few nights ago Tim and I made the Snobby Joes recipe from Veganomicon. I turned mine into a bowl meal by adding roasted potatoes and chunks of avocado. It was pretty spectacular!

It’s been a remarkable past few weeks. I am falling into place at my new job and loving every minute. Tim and I went on a hike a few days ago and enjoyed lunch amidst lots of waterfalls.

And finally, I will be participating in the 2012 Vegan Month of Food! I always hesitate because it is a big time commitment, but I love the motivation and challenge it provides me. I tend to be a creature of habit, often cooking and baking my favorite recipes over and over. So, my theme for Vegan MoFo will be to make recipes I have never made before, making sure to use a different cookbook/magazine (from my ever-growing collection) each time. It should be fun! Check back tomorrow to see what sort of nonsense I stir up.

Jammin’!

The word  jammin’ reminds me of a college professor I had my junior year. He taught computer programming and every time a student answered a question correctly, he would gleefully shout “Jammin’!”. In fact, I think he shouted that word any time he was happy, which was often. The title of this post is twofold: (1) I quit my job a week ago and couldn’t be happier about the decision – it was impulsive and unplanned, but needed to happen; and (2) It’s berry season and I’ve been busy making jams!!! Jammin’!!

While I am feeling mighty insecure financially, I have some plans brewing… Hopefully I can share them with people soon… We shall see!

And now, it’s jam time:

Tim and I went raspberry picking a few days ago – a total luxury on a weekday morning – we were the only people in the raspberry field! We didn’t pick our usual 20+ pound haul, but we did pick enough to last us several months (I hope!). A majority of the raspberries have settled cozily in the freezer and our bellies. The remaining bunch made a nice batch of jam. It’s maddeningly hot in Portland and preparing jam makes a tiny kitchen even hotter, but I don’t care. Homemade jam is pretty much a necessity if you live with Tim. What seems like enough to feed and army usually lasts a day or two. That’s a slight exaggeration, but Tim is the biggest jam-snarfer I know. To be fair, he does help with the process by obediently stirring jam on the stovetop and making spaceship noises as he lowers the jars into the canner (and again upon their removal). I am convinced our jam is better as a result.

Anyways, the very first time I made jam I used a recipe printed in my local newspaper. It has become my favorite recipe although I have adjusted the sugar amount slightly (I know this is a no-no, but overly sweet jam masks the flavor of the fruit and I’ve never had any troubles using less sugar). Here is a link to the recipe. I replace the butter in the recipe with Earth Balance (and sometimes don’t even add that because it isn’t necessary). If you have never made your own jam before, you should try, it’s fun and rewarding!

So far this season I have made both strawberry and raspberry jams. Up next: blueberry, cherry, peach, and apricot! Mmm! And, what goes nicely with homemade jam? Homemade bread!

This is a basic whole wheat bread that I rolled in a bunch of seeds. Warm weather is ideal for bread baking because the dough rises like crazy (and quickly too!). Tim and I ate PB&J’s with homemade jam, homemade peanut butter, and homemade bread. Living on a new food budget isn’t so bad!

Enjoy your weekends! Now that my schedule is more open I hope to post more often. Fingers crossed!

Summer Wrap-Up

It’s been a long while since my last post. Summer kept me busy:

EDITED TO ADD THE FOLLOWING PHOTO BELOW:

Fight!!

Visiting with my super awesome, lovely friend Celine;

DSC_0294

Attending Portland Veg Fest;

Tent & Sun & Fog

Camping on the Pacific Crest Trail;

Nods on Trail

Hiking in the misty, foggy, rainy wilderness;

Misty Ridges

Enjoying the view from our campsite;

Picking Berries

Picking wild huckleberries;

Goofy 1

Goofing around to keep warm;

Protester Tim

Protesting the circus in Portland;

DSC_0289

More protesting;

More Apples

Picking apples in Hood River, OR;

Me & My Dad

Visiting with my dad;

Portobello 2

Eating yummy food at Portobello Vegan Trattoria in Portland (lasagna);

Portobello 1

More good food from Portobello (portobello mushrooms and polenta);

Storm in the Gorge

Watching an approaching storm in the Columbia River Gorge;

Nods & Mountain

Backpacking near South Sister (a mountain in Oregon);

Wickiup Plain

Looking into the distance on the trail;

Tent at Sunset

Enjoying the sun setting;

Don't bug me while I eat my bagel sammie!

Munching on tasty bagel sammies;

Cafe Yumm 1

More eating (post-trail food from Cafe Yumm in Bend, OR);

Cafe Yumm 2

I think that’s about all I have for now. Summer was also lots of relaxing, bike riding, donut-eating, cooking, canning, baking, and spending time with Tim. Fall is my favorite time of year though, so expect a bit more of a post commitment this season!

Berried in Berries

I am suffering from a bit of an addiction: berry picking. Summer is the time of year when I can restock my cupboards with homemade jams, cram my freezer with frozen berries (for smoothies, pancakes, waffles, etc), and fill my dehydrator with local fruits. I love picking berries and often always find myself bringing home a much larger stash of fruit than I had planned. Not to fret! It’s easy incorporating berries into daily meals/snacks/desserts!!

So far, I have dehydrated cherries, strawberries, and blueberries -primarily for snacking, but some will get tossed into a batch of granola eventually. I have also been making mass quantities of jam because somebody I know lives off of PB&J sandwiches. Homemade jam also makes a great gift for family and friends. One of the more recent jams I made was a blueberry jam with subtle hints of orange.

3725351649_100824c8b6

Other jams taking up residence in the panrty:  raspberry, vanilla bing cherry, strawberry, and cherry syrup. Phew! Next up: dill pickles!!!

I have also started testing recipes for vegan cookbook author Brian McCarthy, who is working on a new cookbook!

3726158176_4f765235d6

Blueberry Cobbler – subtly sweet, full of blueberry goodness, and simple to prepare

3738335096_57114dab64

Seitan Fajitas – Peppers, onions, and spicy seitan strips cozied up in a warm tortilla

If it weren’t so steamy and hot outside, I’d totally test the raised, glazed donuts recipe next!!! Although, we all must make sacrifices…