Vegan, Jane Austen student, Minimalist, Reader, Librarian

Monday, December 26, 2011

Fiction Reading Tastes Over the Years

I've been a reader all my life; 43 years. With weekly visits to the library as a child, it's a tradition I still adhere to almost every Saturday with my husband at our local branch. Of course, I also work at a library but my weekly visits are my library time.

Sometimes, reading tastes change and, over the years, mine definitely have. In my teens, I unabashedly read those quaint paperback teen romances of the late 1970s/early 1980s that you just can't find anymore except through used book stores or interlibrary loan: P.S. I Love You and Forever, for example. Today, they almost have a cult following. Some popular authors I enjoyed around this time include Norma Klein, Judy Blume, and Lois Duncan. I was also into ballet, so I read Karen Strickler Dean's Mariana and Maggie Adams: Dancer. Bruce and Carol Hart stole my heart with the wildly popular Sooner or Later which was made into a 1979 made-for-tv movie starring then-heart throb Rex Smith, quickly followed by the will-they-or-won't-they Waiting Games. As an adult, I later discovered that the Harts had written a final novel about lovers Jesse & Michael in 1991, the out-of-print, hard-to-find, and quite pricey Now or Never.

In my twenties, I enjoyed Elizabeth Berg, Sandra Dallas, and Anne Tyler and read everything I could get my hands on by them but, gradually, their books started to seem all the same to me (women rediscovering themselves). I was looking for more spice, more action, something more daring.

Along the way, I became a Jane Austen student and, in addition to reading a chapter of one of her six novels every night before I go to sleep, I also read critical analyses of her works. Sometimes I go back and forth with exclusively reading Austen and about Austen; this usually happens when I'm in a reading drought, when everything I check out of the library just doesn't catch me.

Some newer authors I've found I now enjoy, however, are Carol Goodman*, Laura Kasischke*, Emily Giffin, and Stephanie Laurens. I have to admit I came to reading the latter two with a definite preconceived prejudice that their works were chick lit and bodice rippers respectively and, thus, not worthy of my attention.I was wrong.

Giffin is a wonderful writer, with interesting plots, well-developed characters, and real-life issues and situations that don't make me think, "oh, yeah, right. That would never happen." The problem I have with Giffin's books, however, are their covers and I wish her publisher did a better job. They look too "chick lit" (hence my initial turnoff). And, before people get upset with me and think I have something against "chick lit," I want to explain that it just has a bad name/reputation. And, with a bad name, comes preconceived ideas, like mine. But the few books I've read have really surprised me in a good way. I really enjoyed Baby Proof and Heart of the Matter. Baby Proof has a horrible cover in pink with baby booties on it. The book is about a couple who weds only to discover that the woman does not want children while her husband does. The best part is that the woman actually sticks to her guns. Heart of the Matter is her latest book (as of 2010) and the topic is marriage and infidelity. Again, a serious topic with a terribly simplistic cutesy cover that belies its serious topic and writing.

On a completely different plane is Stephanie Laurens. She's a (gasp!) romance writer and she is an impressively good storyteller. Her plots are set around the same Regency/Georgian era as Jane Austen's novels (early 1800s England, which was the initial attraction--that and her consistently good reviews) and there is a surprising amount of history in the plot lines. Of course, she is not Jane Austen but she can tell a wonderful story. There's romance, of course, intrigue, some adventure, and lots of sex. But I have to say that the sex scenes are very well written; fantastic in some parts but, hey, sex is hot and it's a normal part of life. In her books, they are believable and a well-developed part of the stories. I'm reading her books in published order so that I can trace her development as a writer. She also has some nice little mini-series in there, such as The Black Cobra Quartet and the Cynster novels, and many of her characters appear in more than one story. The covers of most of her books, however, are bodice-ripper-like so I admit I read them in a fabric book cover (what? reading tastes are private). Her newer novels, though, have beautiful covers.

*More on these two in an upcoming post.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Nuts for Nutcracker

Here's a little holiday post the celebrates my love for Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker, that gorgeous ballet that is the epitome of the holiday season.

"When I was four years old, my mother enrolled me in ballet school. It was one of those things she had always wanted to try but, as a working class child growing up in Detroit, it was a luxury her family could not afford. As a result, I was exposed to not only the classical world of ballet and the rigors of training, but also to the most beautiful music in the world. " Read more of my CLP blog post here

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Historical True Crime

Music: Quietude, Yolanda Kondonassis

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Main Library,
Oakland, Pittsburgh
(author's photo)

It's no secret I enjoy reading about history, hence my series over at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Eleventh Stack blog highlighting the best of the best. This time (the third installment), the subject is true crime, a subject I once read long, long ago. Now I much prefer happy stories!

The Dark Side of History
"I admit that I don’t like to read historical true crime; still, it both fascinates and repels me. What makes some people think and do the terrible things they do?  My own dear sweet mother is a true crime junkie (she’s read more than I can count) but I’ve had my fill with these books..."

Read the full post here.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Lost Generation

Music: Vivaldi, Concerto for Flute in D Major, Jean-Pierre Rampal

Hemingway in Pamplona, 1925. (Photo courtesy of

I continue my series on historical non-fiction reads over at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Eleventh Stack blog. If you love the 1920s and wonderful non-fiction, take a look-see here.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Weekend Cooking

Music: Trio Mediaeval, Stella Maris

Moroccan Couscous and Bok Choy& Carrot Salad with Tofu

Because of my work schedule, I sometimes work on Saturdays. But, instead of taking off the Friday before, I prefer to take the Monday following so that I always have two days off in a row. What this means, however, is that I end up working six days in a row; luckily, this only occurs about every other month, so I can't really complain.

When I have time like this, Jim is often able to take the same day off as I am because his schedule is more flexible than mine (unlike me, he isn't on a public service desk).

During the last two days, I tried out two new recipes that were as easy as they were delicious. The picture above has a link to one recipe (from Alicia Silverstone) but the salad is one I adapted from Nava Atlas' Vegan Express.

2-4 small bunches of bok choy
2 carrots
2 scallions, green parts only

Ginger/Sesame Dressing (for this salad, I halved all the amounts & still had leftover dressing for later in the week) 
Combine all of the following ingredients in a jar:

1/3 C olive oil
2 tbsp dark sesame oil
1/3 C rice vinegar or white wine vinegar (I used rice)
1 tbsp agave nectar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp sesame seeds

Take 2-4 small bunches of bok choy (aka Chinese cabbage) and wash well. Cut off the hard end pieces, then chop on the diagonal into strips. Using a mandoline (or a knife if you can manage it), slice carrots thinly. Thinly slice green parts of the scallions. Toss all together with as much dressing as you like. Refrigerate any leftover dressing for later use during the week.

To this salad, I added some fried tofu cut into cubes for some extra bulk and protein.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

These Shoes Were Made for Keeping

Music: John Mellencamp, Words & Music

Since I've pared down my wardrobe (as well as all my other possessions), I can't tell you how much easier it is to get dressed every day. It's something I don't even have to think about. I always thought I needed a large selection of clothes but, surprise! I don't.

You won't believe how old my favorite pair of shoes is. Guess. Really. Okay, are  you ready? I bought them in 1993! Yes, that's right. Eighteen years ago!

And, while they are decidedly not vegan (gasp!), remember I bought these long before becoming vegan. And I refuse to throw or give them away because I still wear them almost every day, so they will continue to stay in my wardrobe until they wear out.

They are Birkenstocks, the Paris style which, I believe, they no longer make or, if they do, it comes and goes every few years. I love these shoes because:

1. They're comfortable. That to me is the most important criteria in a shoe now, especially since I'm 43, on my feet a lot, going up and down lots of stairs at the library. These also have arch support which helps keep my feet from becoming sore.

2. They're black which, considering the pared down wardrobe, is good. I only own black shoes now because they go with all of my clothes.

3. They can be cleaned easily and the rubber soles can be replaced when they wear down. That's the real reason these shoes have lasted so long. Whenever they get below 1/4" on the heels (where I usually wear out my shoes first), I take them to a shoe repair shop for re-soleing.

4. They're cute. I love the Mary Jane style of these shoes. I wear them with pants but also with skirts, with or without socks/tights, all year long.

5. While initially expensive (I think they were about $120 back in 1993), the fact that I have worn them for 18 years speaks volumes for their quality. They've walked all over, from Italy, to South Carolina, to Florida, to Michigan, and now Pennsylvania.

(This post was inspired by Francine Jay, author of the beautifully peaceful blog, Miss Minimalist.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Easy Raw Kale Salad

We recently discovered this recipe (I think it was from Jill Ovnik's newsletter but now I can't remember) for preparing kale quickly, easily, and deliciously. Greens are an excellent source of fiber and kale is rich in beta-carotene. When it's eaten raw, it's even more beneficial.

Raw kale with creamy macaroni

We have been making different types of kale (green, red, dinosaur) using this very simple recipe. Not only is it delicious the day of, we eat leftovers (if any) the next day with other raw vegetables we have on hand, such as cucumber, avocado, or tomato.

1. Take 1-2 pounds (any kind) of kale and rinse well. We immerse the leaves in a large bowl with a few changes of water to get all the dirt and sand out.

2. Cut/tear out the thick stems in the center of each leaf by hand or with kitchen scissors. Dry well with a dish towel.

3. On a large cutting board, cut the kale leaves into thin strips and place in a large mixing bowl. Add 1 tbsp olive oil (or oil of your choice, flaxseed or almond oil would also be good) and sprinkle real salt over the kale. With a spoon (it's easier with your clean hands) mix the salt and oil into the kale well. The kale will begin to soften slightly but still be green and perky. Add a little more olive oil and salt if needed. We also sometimes add a tablespoon of nutritional yeast for a little bit more of a nutrition boost (its texture/taste resembles parmesan cheese ever so slightly) while it does not overpower in taste.

4. Add any other raw veggies of your choice, if desired.

This is a nice change of pace than a lettuce salad and a great way to serve greens without cooking them and then having them cool too quickly for your meal.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Truth is Even Better Than Fiction

A little lakeside reading with
The Journal of Southern History

Note: Oh, boy. I see I will have to put myself on a type of schedule with my personal post as I have with my library blog posting. I'm still writing but, as you can see, mostly for work.

Everyone raves about fiction and most book groups focus on them (sob stories at that), but I have a soft spot for non-fiction, especially historical non-fiction.  Beginning with this library post for CLP, I highlight my favorites in themes. This post's theme is presidents. Hope you enjoy.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

My latest CLP blog post

Music: Scott Joplin, Complete Rags

Fall in Michigan
Author's photo

I've been on a book list kick lately with the library blog; that is, writing about wonderful books I have enjoyed reading.

This is my latest post, appropriate for October and the cooler fall weather, "It's a Mystery..."

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Year in Pittsburgh

View of downtown Pittsburgh from MountWashington
(Author's photo)

I still can't believe I have been in Pittsburgh for over a year. Since July 2010. I'm not quite sure that we knew what to expect. Well, I think I have some idea what I expected but I no longer see it that way. And I shouldn't have seen it that way. Let me explain.

Pittsburgh is a mere 5-5 1/2 hours from my old home in Michigan but it seems a lot further away since you have to travel through Ohio to get to Pennsylvania from Michigan; not to mention the fact that it's also another state altogether.

Chatham Village, Mount Washington, Pittsburgh
(Author's photo)

When I first got here, I tried to fill my life with all of my old habits and recreational activities that I enjoyed back home: playing my flute in a flute choir as well as a community band, getting quickly hired in at least a part-time librarian position, and living with the same furniture and possessions as in my old house. None of these things happened. What's more, it took me a lot longer to learn my way around the city than I originally thought without getting hopelessly (read: crying) lost. So when those things didn't go my way (flute choir practices on a weekday I can't make, the closest community band is a lot more advanced than I'm prepared for, it took me over 6 months to find a job, and most of our stuff has been donated because it just doesn't fit in our new tiny space), I felt pretty scared and then angry and impatient with myself for not handling it better.

Downtown Pittsburgh
(Author's photo)

But I'm always hard on myself. It's a huge fault that I'm really trying to correct the older I get. (I hope it doesn't take much longer because I'm already 43). I should have cut myself more slack because I have never lived in another state besides Michigan. It's hard. And it's probably harder the older you get. Maybe if I had done this twenty years ago...

But things are better now. I've got a full-time job at the top public library in the city, Jim's job is going well while he's also pursuing his MBA, we live in a gorgeous park-like cooperative right in the city of Pittsburgh, and we have a shared goal: to save as much money as possible to move back to Michigan someday. Yes, that's right. We already know we want to go back home even though we've been here only a year. And by living small here, we've realized we don't ever want a big living space again filled with needless stuff. Because I don't miss any of the stuff I've given away. (I lost an earring on a walk the other day, and I didn't care! I have lots of other earrings to wear).

Unfortunately, I no longer play my flute. What little time I have left in my day is spent writing, reading, walking, practicing yoga, cooking, and house chores. But I'm coming to terms with it. It was right for the time I had with my part-time job in Michigan but it no longer fits my life here.

Lake Erie, Presque Isle State Park, Erie, PA
(Author's photo)

When we go back home, we want to live very close to the Big Water so, even though we'll be moving back to Michigan, we won't be in the same area as family and friends. We'll be in the same state though!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Up North: Summer in Northern Michigan

At first, I thought about writing this post for my library blog, however, since it is SO Michigan-themed, I didn't think it would go over so well with the Pittsburgh crowd. So, my fellow Michiganders, this one's for you! :)

Nothing is more anticipated about living through a cold, gray, and snowy Michigan winter than the annual and ubiquitous vacation “Up North” in the summertime.  The sheer vastness of the Great Lakes, the warm days and cool nights, the many charming and historic small lake towns, and the gorgeous natural landscape (sand dunes, beaches, woods) that make up the beauty of northern Michigan are vividly evoked in the following titles.  (Don’t forget to buy some fudge! I wonder if there is vegan fudge?)

Author's photo. Lake Michigan
In Good Family, by Terry Gamble, filmmaker Maddie Addison, a privileged young woman, returns to her wealthy family’s exclusive summer house in Sand Isle, on Lake Michigan, where no cars are permitted—shades of Mackinac Island? -- to make peace with her dying alcoholic mother and reconnect with her quirky cousins and other extended family, years after a personal tragedy kept her away.  Beautifully written, with its lyrical descriptions of summer cottage life that makes you pine for summer, not to mention a family summer cottage of your very own.
The Water Dancers, Gamble’s critically-acclaimed debut, is also set at a summer cottage on Lake Michigan, but this time it’s the post-World War II era.  Rachel Winnapee, a poor Native American teen, takes a job as a maid at the March family’s summer home.  As her job requires that she also care for Woody, their emotionally wrecked son, a veteran, the relationship between servant to employer becomes friendship, which then blossoms into love.  Themes of class and race eventually collide with Mrs. March’s snobbish and ambitious plans for her only surviving son, and eventually spill over into the next generation with hidden secrets and prejudice.  
Many people don’t know that the well-traveled and world-renown Ernest Hemingway spent all his childhood summers in northern Michigan in and around Walloon Lake near Petoskey.  In The Nick Adams Stories, the main character grows from youth to adulthood amid a rustic and ever-changing landscape.  In two dozen coming-of-age stories, we first encounter Nick as a young boy accompanying his physician father fishing and then attending a risky Native American birth in “Three Shots” and “The Indian Camp.”  Later, he’s a teen on the run from conservation officers for poaching and selling trout in the quietly mesmerizing unfinished novella, “The Last Good Country,” and later, a soldier (“In Another Country”), married man (“Wedding Day”) and father in “Fathers and Sons.”  Here you’ll also find perhaps his most famous Michigan story, “Big Two-Hearted River,” about fishing and hunting in the wilderness that is the Upper Peninsula after the First World War, as well as some unfinished pieces not published until after his death.  In his signature spare prose, the descriptions range from meditative about the process of catching a trout or setting up camp, to suspenseful in “The Killers,” about an aged prizefighter waiting for death.  Hemingway wrote these beautiful stories over his entire lifetime, never in any particular order, but this edition puts them in the sequential order of Nick’s life for the first time, capturing the very essence of the Michigan outdoors in summer.
The peaceful serenity of summer is brutally interrupted by a violent crime in native Michigander Judith Guest’s The Tarnished Eye: a Novel of Suspense.  It’s based on a true-crime Michigan murder that claimed an entire metro Detroit family in the late 1960s, a crime which is still unsolved to this day.  A small town sheriff, in the fictional town of Blessed, tries to solve the senseless execution-style mass murder of the well-to-do Norbois family in their summer home, while also dealing with his own personal and tragic past.  Exclusive summer cottages never seemed so remote and lonely as they do in this novel.  Guest is perhaps best known for her classic, Ordinary People.
Finally, in Jim Harrison’s True North, we enter the Upper Peninsula, an area of the state that still feels like a completely different country with its wilderness-like setting of dense evergreen woods, sparsely populated few and far-between small towns, empty two-lane highways, and vast remoteness as it is separated from the Lower Peninsula by the tolled, five mile, mighty Mackinac Bridge.  In this sprawling family saga, David Burkett must come to terms with the destruction of the beautiful and wild land taking place around him that is the direct consequence of his family’s wealth and livelihood in the lucrative timber business.  Harrison, best known for Legends of the Fall fame, is also Michigan native who spent his childhood roaming the woods of northern Michigan.

Monday, September 12, 2011

What's New in Austenland

My latest blog post for Eleventh Stack, the Main Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's blog, was all about newly-published books about Jane Austen's works. You can read the complete post here.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Library Blogging

Music: Sense & Sensibility, soundtrack
Author's photo

I love that one of the things I get to do in my job as a librarian at the Carnegie Library is write. I'm working with an amazing group of writers at the library who contribute quirky, informative, and creative content for the library's blog, Eleventh Stack. So, technically, I'm getting paid to write! :)

Here are links to all of my posts since I started at the library. In future, I will post links here to others as I write them. I only like to write about topics that interest me a lot, so here's a sampling. Enjoy!

Reduce, Reuse, and Then Recycle. August 30, 2011

Summers Gone By. July 20, 2011

Toward a Life of Less. June 27, 2011

Go Outside! June 8, 2011

Saturday, September 3, 2011

What's Next?

Music: Jason Mraz: We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.

As you've (no doubt) noticed, over the last few months, I feel like I have not had much material to write about for this blog. That is, vegan material. I think posting pictures of what I eat is old now because I no longer constantly seek out new recipes to try. I now know what I really like (& don't) and make often.

Perhaps I've written all that I can on how I am vegan? It has been four years since I changed my life in such a dramatic and amazing way. In the very beginning, it was to explain why I went vegan, how I did it and, since then, it has been how it has changed my life for the better. I just don't think I have anything else to write about on just this topic. For me, it's automatic, something I almost don't even think about. Oh, I still think about food constantly, but that's okay. I'm ever conscious of listening to my body.

So what's next? I'm thinking of just writing about topics that interest me at that blogging moment. It might be about Jane Austen, or walking, or being gentler to the earth, or minimalism. And, yes, even being vegan. These are the things that most interest me now. So it won't be solely focused on just one topic.

It has been a little over a year since I moved to Pittsburgh, got a full-time job, and slowly acclimated --who am I kidding? I'm still acclimating, probably always will until I move back home--to my new home. Moving didn't change my food habits (thank goodness) and I continue to inadvertently educate people I come in contact with when they discover that I am vegan. They don't always understand, but that's okay; food is a hot button topic for many people. I choose to live by example. I know what's right for me and what makes me feel incredible. I wouldn't change it.

Thanks to all of my vegan followers the past two and a half years. I hope you'll still follow but I'll understand if what I now write about doesn't interest you.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Last Year on Chocolate Onion

The nights and mornings are starting to feel like fall here (already!). Here's what I was writing about this time last year.

August 23, 2010: Quick Meals for the Dog Days of Summer I don't know about you, but when these dog days of hot summer hit, I find that my appetite kind of vanishes. I crave more fruit and fruity drinks and ice cold water. Read more.

August 18, 2010: Hearts of Palm, Tomato, & Green Bean Salad This is a spin-off of a wonderfully simple salad I enjoyed from Whole Foods last month. Read more.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Light Summer Dinner

Music: Bessie Smith, Empty Bed Blues

In the summer, when it's a little too warm for a little too long, my appetite lessens. So, this past weekend, this simple meal satisfied me. It's my homemade hummus spread on some toasted cracked wheat bread, one with cucumbers and our fresh parsley the other with heirloom tomatoes and our fresh basil. Leftovers veggies on the side with some Annie's Naturals Goddess Dressing (the vegan variety). Delish.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

What Else Can You Make Besides Homemade Bread?

Music: Gerry O'Beirne, Half Moon Bay (with compliments to T.L.!)

Up until the summer heat really hit here, Jim was making homemade bread a few times a week and pizza every Sunday. But even with air conditioning, our kitchen gets very hot since there are no a/c vents in the room. And we don't want to make the a/c work too hard. This was the last pizza Jim made a few weeks ago, Pizza Patate (Potato Pizza). It's from the book, My Bread by Jim Lahey. It was so delicious and moist, who needs icky cheese? Cheese would definitely ruin this pizza, which the recipe didn't even call for.

Isn't it beautiful? I was in heaven! I think we'll make this for my parents next time we visit...

And, from an older bit of leftover bread, Jim made a Panzanella Salad (recipe is from the same book mentioned above), which is made with cubed stale bread that is rehydrated by soaking it in water in a bowl for about a minute, then squeezing out as much of the liquid as possible. It is then ready to be made into the salad and absorb the olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. We added diced onion, greens, cucumbers, basil leaves, and tomatoes.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Last Year on Chocolate Onion

In the Treetops! View from my living room window.

July 28, 2010 Still Here...Lest you think I've forgotten this blog, never fear! I am now in the great city of Pittsburgh, PA in the neighborhood (or borough as they call them) of Mount Washington. (Read more)

July 30, 2010 Leftover Tofu Sandwich For lunch yesterday, I made a sandwich I've mentioned making but never described before in this blog. (Read more)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Last Year on Chocolate Onion

Music: Stevie Nicks, In Your Dreams

You may or may not be as bored with this blog as I've been kind of uninspired to write it lately. I'm putting it off to still feeling homesick (it will be one year this Friday that we've been in Pittsburgh), lonely for hanging out with my friends back home, and just a general question of what to write about lately that I haven't written about before. I'm almost at my fourth year of being vegan and I think those who read this blog have accepted it and no longer question it. Which is fine. So I may need to write about other things, either in this blog or begin a new one. Or just take a break. We'll see.

This is the pizza we enjoyed this weekend; that's potatoes (yes, potatoes, soaked, dried, and then baked) on top along with onions and tomatoes. Yum!

And here's what I was up to last year:

Edamame and Artichoke Salad

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Ice Cream!

Music: The Mamas and the Papas, Deliver

Whenever people ask me if I ever "crave" dairy (or meat), I can honestly tell them, "no, never." Especially when I can enjoy this:

This is made from leftovers from breakfast, one of Jim's fabulous delicious Saturday Pan Scones* (i.e., pancakes, our usual Saturday morning fare), with fresh strawberries, and a scoop of Jim's homemade vanilla ice cream.

Vanilla Ice Cream
In a blender, combine:
1 package sweetened MimicCreme (32 oz.)
2-3 tsp pure vanilla extract

Pour into ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions. Sooo easy! Sooo good! And, best of all, no icky eggs to bring to a certain temperature to "kill" the bacteria (such as salmonella) lurking in your food! What could be better?

Besides the usual soy ice creams, there is also coconut milk ice cream (which I think tastes better). But even better than that, since you control all the ingredients, is homemade ice cream.

And we found some vegan organic ice cream cones at the East End Food Co-op to enjoy with our chocolate ice cream. Who needs dairy? Not me!

Also, check out this great story about a woman who creates dairy-free delights: Like No Udder (love that name!).

*This is what I call them because they resemble a cross between a pancake and a scone in taste and texture, but the recipe can be found in LuAnn Bermeo's Amazing Meals.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Salad of the Week

Music: Joni Mitchell, Blue

I created this salad after browsing a few cookbooks for ideas: The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone and La Dolce Vegan by Sarah Kramer. This will be my salad for work lunches this week, along with some Chickpea Smash sandwiches.

Bulgur Tabbouleh with Lemon Tahini Dressing

1 C bulgur, uncooked
1 1/4 C water
Salt to taste
Cucumbers, chopped (about 1 C)
1/2 of an onion, sliced thin
2 carrots, chopped
2 C chickpeas OR 1 14/15-oz. can, drained and rinsed
1/4 C parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp sea salt

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan with a little salt. Add bulgur, turn off heat, stir well, then cover and let sit about 20 minutes; remove lid, fluff with fork, and let cool. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, add rest of ingredients. Add bulgur and stir well to combine.

1/4 C tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
Chopped garlic (to taste, less than 1 clove)
Dash of cayenne pepper
2 tsp Bragg liquid aminos
Water to thin as desired

Combine dressing in a small bowl or small glass measuring cup. Pour over entire salad and toss well. Chill before serving.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Last Year on Chocolate Onion

Music: Richard Warner, Quiet Heart & Spirit Wind

In a nod to Miss Minimalist, who I think is so cool, and a wonderful inspiration! (Also, for those new to Chocolate Onion).