Vegan, Jane Austen student, Minimalist, Reader, Librarian

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cranberry Cacao Scones



Music: Archangelo Corelli, Christmas Concerto

Jim is the sweets-maker in our house now since I rarely eat sweets. But I sometimes indulge once in a great while. These are vegan (of course) and deliciously moist. No eggs or dairy required to enjoy this sweet goodness!

1 C organic unbleached white flour
1 C almond flour (we used leftover pulp from making almond milk)
1/4 C coconut sugar (or date or turbinado sugar--the less processed the better)
3 tbsp raw coconut oil
1/4 C cacao nibs
1/2 C dried currants or cranberries
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
3/4-1 C soy or nut milk (if using almond pulp, use only 1/2 C milk)

Combine sugar, flour, salt, and baking powder. Cut in coconut oil into sugar/flour mixture. Stir in cacao nibs and cranberries. Add milk and stir until dough forms. Use hands to gently knead into ball.

Cut dough in half. On floured board, flatten into circle 1/2" thick. Quarter them into triangle shapes. Bake on parchment paper-lined baking sheet at 400 degrees 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned.

Enjoy with a cup of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Pittsburgh Picture(s) of the Day: Carnegie Trees

Space-themed tree w/stars & rockets




On my afternoon break last Friday, I popped into the Carnegie Museum of Art next door and took a look at the Carnegie Trees. While very pretty, it isn't what I'm used to. Last year, when I attended for the first time, I was expecting rooms full of holiday trees, all shapes, sizes, and colors. There are just seven in this exhibit, all large and majestic in size, but the theme changes every year; this year's theme is the Worlds' Fairs, in honor of the current major exhibit in the museum. It's magical, but I could wish for more!

Hats of the Worlds' Fairs tree

Gilded Age artist Walter Gay-themed tree



Hall of Architecture.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Little Old Lady Cat

My cat is very old. How old? I'm not quite sure but we've had her for over fifteen years. When we adopted her (from the Michigan Humane Society), her paperwork said "over one year," but the scribbled hot pink sign on her cage said she was four. She had had a litter of five kittens and was named "Mommy" because she was a good mother to them. But there was just no way I was going to keep that name; she became Holly Golightly, for the ambivalent, elusive main character in Truman Capote's novella, Breakfast at Tiffany's.



Holly Golightly is loving and sweet, but she's also temperamental, tough, and quickly lets you know when she doesn't like something. As we like to say, she's no pushover.

Because she's old, because I care about her, because she's affectionate...I worry about her emotional well-being. It seems to be important to her to be cuddled in our arms, petted, and paid attention to.

As a result of my own worries, I feel I cannot leave her longer than three nights when I leave town on vacation. After that, I feel she acts out (misses the litter box, stops eating as much). I really think she needs our connection and, when there's a cat sitter, she doesn't get it. Or rather, I should say, she doesn't permit it.


You see, Holly Golightly is only friendly to Jim and me. She hisses and growls at everyone else if they try to get too close. She'll sniff you and meow loudly in greeting, but that's as close as she'll allow.

Right now, she's holding her own, with a heart murmur, a very tiny weight of under 7 pounds, and daily yowling (for food? for attention?) in the early morning and late at night. But she eats well, uses her litter box, climbs up and down stairs (her only exercise as she no longer plays), and is on no prescription drugs. Last Christmas, we almost lost her when she stopped eating for four days. But she wasn't yet ready to go.


Lately the vet has been saying things like, "this is probably her last rabies shot" or "you shouldn't expect her to live to a very old age and, when she goes, it will be fast because she's so underweight." I accept that. I realize her low weight means that something is going on inside her and she's too old for me to make her undergo any invasive (not to mention expensive) tests to find out. She's not in pain.



So I'll just love her and, when the time comes, let her go.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Catching Up on Eleventh Stack

My sincerest apologies as it has been several months since I posted my regular blog posts for Eleventh Stack, the award-winning Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's blog. You can read them at the links below. Catch up now and enjoy!

Julia Erickson with the corps de ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (Photo by Rick Sofranko)
 At the Ballet In 1973, when I was four years old, my mother enrolled me in ballet classes at Pamela’s School of Dance in Dearborn, Michigan. Little did I imagine that I would continue to study ballet for the next eleven years with classes twice a week, annual recitals, countless rehearsals, and membership in the local ballet company.


A Woman's Prerogative Ever since childhood, I’ve disliked change. Probably because I fear it.  So I cling toroutines. I’m slow to win over and I’m reluctant to try new things, until I either first research a topic to death or circumstances force the issue. Then I’m at peacewith it. This is most likely why I’m child-free and why only a job loss could prompt me to leave my beloved home state two years ago.

BooI’m not a Halloween fan in the least–come to think of it, I’m not a holiday fan at all. But since it’s nearing All Hallows Eve, I thought this post might create the appropriate atmosphere for the cold and dark season ahead.

 Living Even More Lightly on the Earth I’m at it yet again! Seeking more and even better ways of reducing my carbon footprint on this precious earth. I wrote about this last year, but I wanted to tell you about some improvements I’ve made since then.



Claude Debussy Sesquicentennial In 199o, I saw the controversial NC-17 rated film Henry & June; in fact, I watched at least a dozen people walk out of my theater. While the movie was definitely provocative, it was the gorgeous soundtrack that sang to me.

The Gilded Age When I was a teenager, I saw the movie Ragtime  and I was fascinated by the depiction of the history of turn-of-the-century America, the elegant and stylish clothes, and the music.

Literary Lives: Real and Imagined I once heard the children’s non-fiction author Seymour Simon say that library books shouldn’t be labeled ‘fiction’ and ‘nonfiction’ but, rather, ‘true’ and ‘untrue.’* Indeed, many people get the labels mixed up thinking the ‘non’ in fiction means it’s untrue; well, some of it is!

 Why I Don't (and Won't) Own a TV When people visit my home, the first thing they notice is that there is no television in the living room. Usually it’s a laid back “so where’s your television?” but more often than not it’s an incredulous exclamation, “you don’t have a television?!”
Raw I’ve been vegan for almost five years but I still continue to look for ways to improve my health even more. During this time, I’ve removed all processed sugarand most processed foods from my life, stopped drinking my usual espresso in the morning and tea in the afternoon and, during the last month, have been eating more raw food every day.

Family Affair Ah, family. They say you don’t get to choose your family, only your friends. But through thick and thin,  I know mine will always be there for me. There’s plenty of fiction out there about the joys and sorrows of family but have you tried non-fiction?*