Monday, July 16, 2007

Semi-huge update

Okay, so this is day three of trying to post this blog entry. My laptop is having some serious issues so I'm going to be engaged in some major back-up and recovery operations... Whew! At least I didn't lose all these pics!

Hello! I am in the middle of moving--we have until Friday to be out of our current place so it's going to be a process of several days. I'm not going to have Internet access at my new place for a while, so I wanted to go ahead and fill you in on the past couple of weeks while I have the chance. So...

First thing: I finished my exams! At least for now. I won't know my scores for the last two exams for probably another month, and here's hoping I passed. But at least for the next few weeks, I can do whatever I want to do!

Second thing: Apart from Bob, Mary Ann is probably the best friend I have in the world... and I was delighted to be in her wedding Saturday. This isn't a great shot of the two of us, but it's the best I have until the "official" pictures are available.

And this picture's almost two years old now... when she was in my wedding.

Saturday was a very sweet and emotional day, and I can't wait until she and her beau Jacob get back from Mexico so that we can go on a double date together!

Food-wise, the whole wedding experience was quite wonderful. The reception (except for the cake) was a vegan's paradise--fresh fruits, raw and lightly steamed veggies, toasted pita wedges with fresh pineapple salsa... And the caterers told the wedding party to take home all the food we wanted after the reception was over, so my refrigerator has been full of fresh fruits and veggies ever since. As for the rehearsal dinner, it was held at a restaurant downtown. Both the bride's and groom's families were so gracious and accommodating... Here is the pasta dish that the chefs invented for Bob and me for the rehearsal dinner--artichoke hearts, roasted tomatoes, spinach, and an oil-based dressing over spaghetti noodles. It was fabulous.

For dessert, the other guests ate key lime pie while Bob and I were served plates of fresh seasonal berries. I can't say that I was jealous at all.

Apart from weddings and tests and moving, I have a little backlog of food photos to share with you.

This is from the 4th of July... finally. I made a double batch of the Barbecued Seitan Ribz from Fatfree Vegan. I had to bake them in the oven as I had no grill available... but wow, were these good. The texture was a little spongy at first, but the leftovers were perfect after some chill time. Definitely, definitely a keeper. Does anyone have a good barbecue sauce they particularly recommend? Oh yes, raw broccoli and The Grit's Super Seven-Spice Potatoes rounded out the meal.

This was just a quick bean salad that I made after picking up some fresh, local green beans from the health food store. Blanched green beans, chickpeas, red onions, and a dressing of vegetable broth, balsamic vinegar, thyme, salt, and pepper. I got the idea from an online recipe forum somewhere, but now I can't remember where. Good, though--light and healthy and filling.

Just a quick grilled sauerkraut, cheeze, and seitan sandwich using up the rest of the block cheeze that I made recently. I know several of you have asked me how the cheeze melted; well, I didn't have much success with it, either broiling or grilling. It's okay--it was still tasty and worth making again--but it would be nice to figure out how to make it melt just a little! By the way, this sandwich, though being a bit on the junky side, was quite good. Dijon mustard is essential.

I finally found a little farmers market just outside of Athens, and a couple of weeks ago I hit it up for the first time. There were about five or six growers present, but the produce they had to offer was quite a treat. I bought three cucumbers, three tomatoes, a bunch of fresh basil, and over two pounds of Swiss chard!

This soba noodle stir-fry was one of the best, and quickest, meals I've made in quite a while. I just threw in veggies that I had on hand, including fresh green beans, carrots, daikon radish, plenty of chard, some squash and zucchini... and garnished with green onions. Quick sauté in a little bit of sesame oil, then at the end I added a sauce similar to this one from Stonielove. I can't remember exactly how I made the sauce, but I do remember kicking it up with some siracha sauce... yum.

Finally, I decided to try the Brown Rice Pizza from Vive! I made a nice basil pesto to top it with, in addition to mushrooms, tomatoes, squash, zucchini, and red onion. The above photo is fresh from the oven...

And this is after trying to serve it. It was delicious, and the rice was seasoned so well, but... it fell apart. Oops. I followed the "crust" recipe exactly, so I'm not sure what went wrong. So, it was somewhat pizza-like but not really pizza... but it still made a tasty dinner.

And this is something that I created for Bob, one morning when he wanted pancakes but all of our cooking appliances and such were packed away. We had some leftover waffles in the freezer so I took them out, toasted them up, spread them with peanut butter and added a dollop of warm jam, then topped with a squirt of Soyatoo whipped topping. Don't know if this qualifies more as breakfast or dessert but he definitely seemed pleased (and based on the bite I stole, he had a good reason!).

I'll be back around periodically, but I don't know for now just how much I'll be able to get online. But I've been reading all your blogs and commenting whenever I could, and I promise I won't stop! :)


Great Big Vegetable Challenge said...

Great breakfast. Looks fabulous. Will try it out with my children.
Enjoyed reading your blog.

theONLYtania said...

Hey! You and your friend look beautiful at both weddings! It's fun to have pictures like that.. the same occasion at different times.
Sounds like the food you ended up with is great. I'm always scared to call restaurants ahead.. I just end up getting salads when I go out.
Too bad that cheeze didn't quite melt.. that's the best part! The search continues...
That stir fry looks yummy! I need to try soba noodles.. nice breakfast invention too! I need to try a waffle maker.. haha.
I hope the move goes well!

jenny said...

I'm so glad Mary Ann and Jacob are married! I didn't realize that the wedding was last weekend! You were a beautiful bridesmaid by the way :)

maybepigscanfly said...

How special to share in a wedding celebration with a good friend. And that is so nice that you didn't have to worry about food at either the rehearsal dinner or the actual wedding (I recently posted about my not so great wedding experience).

Your soba noodle dish sounds like something I would order off of a restaurant menu. I just adore soba+ sesame+ veggies.

Everything else looks great. Best of luck with all the moving and congrats on being done with the exams!

KleoPatra said...

Hey Laura,

Oh, moving daze! Hope that goes well, easy and FAST for you and Bob. Friday is not far off and i'll be anxious to hear from you once you've landed again in your new digs!

So glad you stopped by to post, or actually that your computer LET you post. i know how that is! My laptop gets kinda cranky sometimes.

Stoked you finished your exams, that must be a huge relief! Now you can relax and enjoy (well, after the move, that is!). i have a feeling you did very very well on those exams... you know the Tom Petty tune that is coming to mind? "The Waiting is the hardest part..."

A fridge full of fresh foods... lucky you! Hope you can savor them in your new place, too.

All the food photos are lovely, but not as lovely as you in those photos from the weddings, yours and Mary Ann's. Both beautiful brides! You two really look like best pals together in her wedding photo and that photo from your wedding is precious. Where was that taken? Nice tree-lined background. Love yer flowers and those bridesmaids dresses from your special day!

The BBQ seitan ribz look sooooooooo good!! And even tho your pizza fell apart... still tasty, you can tell. Yummy! But i think my fave is the grilled cheez and seitan sandwich. Wow. Even if the cheez didn't melt, it looks so good. And you can't go wrong w/Dijon mustard. i have about five different kinds of mustards in my fridge...

There is something really cute about the breakfast/dessert creation of those waffles... i like how you winged it and added all those goodies atop. Inspiring.

Good "luck" (or whatever one says, luck is really not the proper term but you know what i mean!) on the move, Laura. And thanks for the nice comments on my blog. You have been a blessing in my world in so many ways.

Looking forward to hearing from you again soon!


Monika K said...

This food looks fabulous! Thanks for keeping us updated - I always look forward to reading your posts. Hope the move is a worry-free!

VeggieGirl said...

congrats on finishing your exams!! I'm sure your scores are exceptional. such lovely pictures of the wedding; and the food definitely looks like it was a vegan's paradise!! once again, all of the recipes you've been creating lately look positively delicious!! good luck with moving, and I hope you will still keep up with blogging as much as you can. I look forward to an update on your blog, once you get settled :0)

stonielove said...

aw you are so beautiful, and so are food you create! what a great post :) good luck with the whole moving bit!

Courtney said...

Everything looks fabulous! The bean salad sounds great, and your farmer's market finds look lovely. Good luck with your move--I hope it goes well!

aTxVegn said...

Hi, Laura! It was good to hear from you. I'm sure you did great on your exams again, and the wedding pics are just beautiful! That pasta does look delicious with the artichoke hearts in it. And you scored on leftovers!

I love your sandwich idea. I really like sauerkraut but when I buy it, it just doesn't seem to go with anything.

I made that brown rice pizza and my crust fell apart too.

I don't know how you only had one bite of those waffles. Way to dress up frozen waffles!

Veg-a-Nut said...

Hi Laura, Congrats on finishing up your exams. You can relax and breath again.

We love sauerkraut, but seem to never use it unless it is on veggie dogs for me and Omni-mans dogs. How come I never thought to put it on a regular sandwich? Thanks for the great idea!

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

Yeaaah, Laura -- you're free for a while to focus on the move. My fingers are crossed for your exams, tho I'm sure you did awesome.

Beautiful wedding photos. You two could be sisters. and that rehearsal pasta looks like "the real thing!" wow, they really took care of you & Bob!

Food-wise, I gotta go with the sauerkraut sandwich! It looks so great - melted, or not, I want some of that!

Get that internet access fired up asap! :)

Johanna3 said...

hi friend:
im still without computer, i love the photos. wishing you a good moving!

Kati said...

You and your friend look lovely! Glad things are going well for you - it must be such a relief to be done with your exams. I'm sure you did well! Food looks excellent. Here's hoping your move goes smoothly. =)

urban vegan said...

Congrats on finishing your exams (YAY!) and to your "bestest" friend on her both look mah-ve-lous. Fun to see your wedding shot, too.

Now that the heat has simmered down, I will be making your candy "Vegans Goen Wild"prize and will be sending it shortly.

Dreena said...

Hi Laura,

Congrats on finishing your exams, and I'm sure you'll do more than 'pass'... I'm certain you'll receive top marks!

The picture of you and your girlfriend is quite beautiful, sounds like you had a good time at her wedding.

When I wrote the recipe caption for the Brown Rice Pizza, I really should have explained that it's not meant to hold together like a traditional pizza crust, since others have had the same experience as you with it falling apart. It's a pizza more in the sense of flavors, how it looks when baked, and using a pizza pan, etc. It can be 'sticky' and hold fairly well, but not meant to be a wedge of pizza you can pick up. Not sure if you used a pizza pan, but if you press it into one, it helps to hold the shape somewhat - and the stickier the rice, the better! I can often remove 'wedges' of the pizza to our plates (with some crumbly bits here and there), but we definitely eat it with a fork - like a casserole. Sorry it may have misled you into thinking you could pick up a slice! :)

All the food pics look really amazing. And the rehearsal dinner pasta - while I have often had similar dishes at restaurants (it is an obvious choice for the chefs I think), I still love to dig into those ingredients and flavors all together. When done well, that type of pasta dish is mah-velous!!

bazu said...

Hey Laura,
I guess you're in your new place right now- how exciting! Packing is no fun, but unpacking rocks, doesn't it? I hope your move went well.
You and your friend both look so cute in both wedding pictures- congratulations to her! I love taking home leftover yummy food from events like this- score!

Liliy said...

You and your friend both look happy and healthy. Good luck with the move! The waffles look quite tasty.

VegTeen for Christ said...

Hey, its been quite a while since ive been commenting, ive been checking your blog though, and i just love it

I must say you look just lovely in your wedding picture!

The soba noodle dish looks great, im not much of a noodle person but for some reason i just love soba noodles!


Carrie™ said...

First, let me congratulate you on your second place finish in the contest. Very impressive! I saw that over on Urban's blog & thought it was well deserved. You & your friend look stunning! Sounds like it was a happy day. I just love weddings. I'm so sappy, I usually cry. Heck, I cried at my own wedding! As soon as our minister started, I had tears streaming. All of the food photos look delicious. I love the salad with bean and chickpeas. And that sandwich! I'd love to try Dreena's pizza because I'm such a pizza nut. Jim would have nothing to do with rice crust. He's funny that way. That's OK. All the more for me, right?
Good luck with your move Laura. Are you going to post photos of your new digs?

Jackie said...

Sorry to hear about your laptop problems, same here with my desktop, some days just won't let me copy and paste or goes so slow I want to scream. Did everything that should be done but doesn't help.

Love your and friends wedding photos.

What glorious food as usual.

tippitappi said...

your plates are amazing...
Love from a vegan girl from Italy

Vegan_Noodle said...

Congrats on finishing up your exams! I'm sure you passed with flying colors.
Looks like a fun wedding, it's always nice when chefs are accommodating. I would think they would love cooking for vegans....they get to be creative!
Those waffles are making me hungry for some, maybe this weekend....

Janey said...

I love all of your photos - your food looks amazing!! I love the wedding photos too, so beautiful.

Webly said...

I haven't been cooking much lately because life has been in the way, but your blog is making me ache for the weekend when I have time to cook again. beautiful.