Saturday, April 19, 2014

US VegWeek 2014 - recipes, resources and inspiration

As part of my effort to live a sustainable lifestyle, I eat a vegetarian, mostly vegan diet so I was excited to see that next week is US VegWeek and there is a 7-day VegPledge! challenge to go along with the event.  The website has lots of information as well as local event listings, restaurant deals and product coupons and recipes to help you celebrate the week.   If the 7-day event is too overwhelming, I challenge you to replace just one meal with a vegetarian one.  Switch your lunchtime sandwich to an abundantly colorful salad with beans and a tasty dressing or have a mile high piled veggie burger for dinner.  You might be surprised at how deliciously satisfying you find it.  Here are a few of my favorite recipes to get you started:

Green Smoothie 
Overnight oat and chia seed pudding 

Confetti salad 
Save the tuna salad 

Penne a La Vodka 


If you want to read more about a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle, I recommend:

Finally, I recently enjoyed this video of a conference keynote address by Kemi Nekvapil, former baker and actress turned raw food chef, yoga instructor and well being advocate.  Her talk is refreshingly funny and inspires me to think that it is possible to achieve those goals I've set for eating healthy and chasing my dreams.

Thanks for reading!

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Spring bloom

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Spring garden: seed starting

 (photo courtesy of Will Parkhurst)

This year I opted to try a new method of starting seeds using soil blocks.  I saw this system when I went to the Mother Earth News Fair this past fall.  In previous years, I have made little pots out of newspaper to start my seedlings.  However, this method promised to be less time intensive, use less space and produce seedlings with strong root systems in less time than with regular seed sprouting techniques - it all sounded almost too good to be true.  I saw a demonstration at the fair and the kit came with a video so I figured I was off to a good start.  Here is how I made out on this adventure so far:

Mixed the potting soil mix with lots of water and fill the form to make the blocks

 It took several tries (ok a bunch) and my method isn't pretty, but I finally got the form filled so everything didn't fall out when I tried to unmold the blocks.

And finally some blocks that held together nicely.

The blocks sit on heating mats to encourage sprouting.  You can see a few blocks tumbled over when I watered, but overall things stayed together pretty well especially on the blocks I made later.

After a couple of weeks, we have sprouts!  

Some pepper seedlings

Although I had a little difficulty getting good blocks on my first tries, after a little practice, I was able to get better at figuring out the right amount of water needed to make the blocks hold together.  This method saved so much space over the potting cups I've used in the past because there are 20 small blocks in each large one.  I have 10 large block so the potential of 200 small seedlings if they all sprouted (which they won't) so I was able to get all the seedlings started in about half the space of last year.  It also saved time overall not having to make the paper pots beforehand and them filling them individually with potting soil mix. I'm definitely going to use this method again.  

Thanks for reading!  

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:
how I started seeds last year
mid-summer garden

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Quick sautéed greens

Sautéed kale, shiitake mushrooms and cherry tomatoes

Despite your best intentions, do you ever find yourself coming in late at the end of the day just  too tired to think about making the healthy dinner you had envisioned?  If you have a few simple items on hand, there's no need for you to resort to a tiny frozen dinner or expensive takeout.  You can pull this easy vegan recipe together in about the time it would take to have something not nearly so good for you delivered. This is savory and satisfying without being too heavy especially when you are eating late. An added bonus is that all those good nutrients will give you a little boost of energy to get you through the rest of your evening.

Sautéed greens

serves 2-3 as an entrée or 4-5 as a side dish

1 bunch of kale, Swiss chard, bok choy, collards or other sturdy greens -chopped into bite sized pieces,  tough sections of the stems removed
1 handful of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved if desired
1/2 an onion, chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced (shiitake used above)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/4 cup water
Braggs amino acids, tamari or soy sauce to taste
pinch of hot pepper flakes or hot sauce (optional)
sprouted mung beans or sesame seeds as a topping (optional)

In a large skillet or wok, heat the olive oil  on high heat.  Saute the onions, garlic and mushrooms until the vegetables start to lightly brown.  Add in the greens, tomatoes, amino acids or soy sauce, sesame oil and water.  Toss everything well to coat.  Turn down the heat to medium and cover with a lid and steam for just a couple of minutes to wilt the greens.   Remove from the heat and season with pepper or hot sauce if desired.  Sprinkle each serving with a few mung bean sprouts or sesame seeds (a few roasted cashews might be a nice variation). You could eat this entire recipe by yourself and not need to feel the least bit guilty.  You can also serve over rice or quinoa or add your favorite protein for a heartier meal.

Thanks for reading!

Spring blooms

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:
Veggie chili
Asian noodle salad
Save the tuna salad

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends.  And if you want more recipes, resources and creative inspiration that I only share in the Resourceful Cookie newsletter, sign up here.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Spring photo exhibition

Exhibition at the Annmarie Art Center

I am honored to have three of my photographs chosen for the spring exposition of the Insta-Artist exhibition at the Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center in southern Maryland.  The exhibit was juried by the Director of Digital Learning Programs of the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.  All of the submissions were required to be taken using a smart phone.  It is amazing how much photography has changed over the years from when my father used a large box camera with flash bulbs. This exhibition celebrates how those changes make creating art through photography accessible to so many.

Hubby, son and I attended the opening night and got to meet the other artists, nibble on homemade treats and listen to lovely live music while checking out all the exhibits.  The show runs through June 1, 2014 if you are in the DC metro area and want to stop by to see it,  see the other art on display and walk the gardens which will soon be in full bloom.  You can also view all the entries online here.

 A view of the exhibit from the balcony

Enjoying the other artwork on display

Thanks for reading!

You can find me on:

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Creativity: budget friendly and fabulous fashion

Rummage sale treasures and fun

An easy way to put your creativity on display is the way you put together your outfit for the day.  From The Gospel According to Coco Chanel, "A girl should be two things:  classy and fabulous."  And how you decide to interpret that is all up to you.  

To make this an affordable endeavor, I employ some of my favorite words to build my wardrobe:  vintage, recycle and upcycle.  I find that I can find just about anything I want or need at consignment, thrift, vintage or antique stores, flea markets and rummage sales.  The additional bonus is that there are plenty of unique items and designer labels to be found so you can build a quality wardrobe that is uniquely you without breaking the bank.  

This weekend, a few girlfriends and I headed to one of my favorite annual rummage sales in the DC metropolitan area, the DC Junior League Tossed and Found Rummage Sale.  The sale venue changes from year to year, and this year it was held on an entire floor of an office building that was gutted and ready for the next tenant.  There was everything from housewares and furniture to a premium section with jewelry, china and exclusive designer ware. 

Index card lookbook

To prevent overwhelm, I often take a lookbook made out of index cards onto which I collage looks I like throughout the year and make lists of items that I need to replace.  This format makes it easy to add and subtract cards as your tastes and needs change.   It's so easy to get distracted with so many options that you end up spending more than you intended and might not end up with the items that you set out to find.  

Armed with reusable shopping bags, a water bottle with lemon water, my lookbook and the company of fabulous friends, I had a successful adventure to add some color to my and my mother's spring wardrobes.  For under $100, I snagged:

2 pairs of shoes (hello Prada!), 7 tees in bright and basic colors, 2 colorful spring weight cardigans great for a chilly office, a summery maxi dress, a bright scarf, a pretty shimmery bracelet, a purse, cargo capri pants for gardening, a sturdy canvas messenger bag, a cookbook and a darling Bobbi Brown makeup bag to tote all my beauty supplies to dance performances in style.  

I hope this inspires you to keep an eye out for notices of upcoming rummage sales in your area and to explore second hand shops at home and when you travel.  There are always treasures waiting to be found.

"Our clothes are too much a part of us for most of us ever to be entirely indifferent to their condition:  it is as though the fabric were indeed a natural extension of the body, or even of the soul."  Quentin Bell  

Thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
Thrift Store Adventure
Creativity and thrift store adventure in Philadelphia