Saturday, September 15, 2007

A rather taxing time

The only thing I can think of to say about tax season in my office is, it's taxing! For the past couple of weeks I have been working pretty long hours, and eating 2-3 meals per day at the office. Needless to say, I have not been able to cook much at all, especially this past week. And quite honestly, when I have spent 12 hours or more out of my day looking at a computer screen in my office, the idea of coming home and blogging in my leisure time is not too appealing. But that's not to say that I haven't missed reading your blogs these last couple of weeks. I certainly have missed each of you, and plan to pay you all a visit soon. And I appreciate all of your comments and wishes!

Let me start at the top... Several weeks ago I picked up a copy of Kris's book, and the first recipe I tried from it was the Lime Coconut Bars--by default, actually, since that was the only recipe for which I happened to have all the ingredients on hand.

I have always loved the pairing of lime and coconut, and this is another great marriage of the two flavors--creamy and zesty all at once. The recipe was simple, and I'd make it again in a heartbeat as a dressed-up dessert to share with company. I will say, though, that the crust was a little crumbly, so perhaps I'd go a little lighter on the oats next time, and probably pulse them in a blender a few good times before mixing them in.

Last week I had the opportunity to test another recipe for Melody--her Summer Black-Eyed Pea Spread. I cooked up a huge pot of black-eyed peas and froze them in batches, and I'm glad I did because now I can make this fabulous spread anytime I want! We ate it twice--the first time on open-faced sandwiches...

And the second time on crisp French bread rounds, with an ultra-sweet and juicy tomato. It is fabulous with tomato and other fresh vegetables, and can be made in a snap if using pre-cooked peas. Bob and I both agreed that this was one of the best meals we'd had in quite some time.

Two fabulous recipes from Vegan Vittles up next. The first is a favorite around our house--the Kale and Kraut Sandwich. This time, I opted to grill the sammiches in the George Foreman for a panini-style lunch.

Also featuring kale--the Potato and Kale Soup. Yes, it's soup weather again! And this was a great, creamy, filling soup to kick off the fall. The puréed kale makes it turn a lovely green color, and it looks so elegant served with freshly cracked black pepper on top. This is another recipe I'll be making again.

Today Bob requested homemade cookies, and he always likes me to surprise him by not telling him what kind I'm going to make. So I secretly picked out these tasty treats from Vive!

Can you guess which cookies I made?

If you tasted them, you'd know in an instant that these are Dreena's Maple Walnut Cookies, for they are simply bursting with maple-y goodness! Bob said with conviction that they were the best cookies he's ever had. As for me, it would be difficult to pick out the best cookie I've ever had--but these would certainly qualify. I like to take my cookies out of the oven when they still look just slightly under-done--they continue to cook, of course, once they come out of the oven, and taking them out a little early ensures that they stay soft and chewy in the middle.

Finally, this pita may look ultra boring, but it was a healthy and delicious dinner. Aside from the assorted fresh veggies I stuffed it with, I also drizzled it with this wonderful vinaigrette from Diann's blog, which I made a large batch of and have been enjoying on salads galore for the past two weeks.

I'm likely to stay busy for the next month or so, because October 15 is another tax deadline. And now that the summer is winding away and being outdoors is pleasant and refreshing again, I plan to spend as much time not cooped up inside as I can. But I will still be around when I can. I hope you all are well and happy, and I can't wait to visit your blogs soon.

I'll leave you with this meme, which Diann tagged me to participate in.

1. Players must list one fact, word, or tidbit that is somehow relevant to their life for each letter of your first or middle name.

2. When you are tagged you need to write your own post containing your first or middle name game facts, word, or tidbit.

3. At the end of your post choose one person for each letter of your name to tag.

4. Don’t forget to leave a comment telling them ,they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

5. If I’ve tagged YOU (the bloggers that I've tagged are listed at the end), please join in on the fun!


L - Loony. I may come off as reserved when you first meet me in person, but once I get to know you well enough, look out because I can be pretty weird and silly when the occasion arises. How else would I have earned for myself the name "Loony Laura" among my high school friends?

A - Artsy accountant. One mistake people tend to make when they hear that I'm an accountant is to assume that I am a "numbers person." Maybe I can calculate your taxable income, but even more than that, I love to write and to sing and to adore colors, nature, rhyme, and anything that breaks the mold.

U - Undeterred. If something needs to be done, then by golly, I'm going to find a way to do it. I find it hard to rest until all my tasks are complete.

R - Rushed. I always feel like I'm in a hurry--I'm not good at taking things slow and steady.

A - Active. I don't like "wasting time," which means I always want to be doing something. I don't even sleep as much as the average person... though I'm not trying to imply that sleep is a waste of time. :)

I'm supposed to tag five people... but I would really love to see any and all of you play. So if you read this and feel like joining in the fun, then consider yourself tagged!


Johanna3 said...

Wow! this is a great post, im saving it , so i can remember to try those recipes!

great photos!

Midwest Vegan said...

I'm sorry to hear that you're so busy at work. I used to work in a tax department and know that this a crazy time, especially for corporate tax people. It looks like you still had time to make a few good dishes. The black-eye pea spread is next on my list to test for Melody. It looks so yummy.

Have a great week and try not to work too hard!

maybepigscanfly said...

So much going on in this post, I don't know where to begin. First, sorry it has been so crazy for you, and I hope it calms down.

It seems like everyone is having great success with Kris' book- those bars look like a treat!

I've never had a kraut sandwich before, but your picture is enough to tempt me! And your pita sandwich is full of healthy stuff- looks like something I would make and eat!

Loved reading your meme!

Courtney said...

Everything looks great!

Hang in there and get outside to enjoy fall as much as you can when you are not working! Good luck!


Vivacious Vegan said...

I really wanted to make that black-eyed pea spread this weekend but I couldn't find any Umeboshi vinegar. The next time I go to the Asian market I"m going to pick some up for sure. I like your idea of having it on a french bread loaf. Yum!

I'm glad to hear things are going so well for you at your new company but I do hope that you are able to find some time for yourself!

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

The Summer Black-Eyed Pea Spread looks so fabulous with the tomatoes on fRench bread! THat is my favorite kind of meal. You might have an ambidextrous brain! Busy work time for you -- hang in there! :)

VeggieGirl said...

I hope that you ARE enjoying your job, despite the long hours - hang in there!!

Mmm, the lime-coconut bars, black-eyed pea spread, kale and 'kraut sandwich, and maple-walnut cookies look fantastic!! I'm glad that you've had time to bake (and eat!) all these tantalizing treats.

great to learn more about you in your meme as well! take care! can't wait for your next blog post, as always :0)

aTxVegn said...

I'm sorry I tagged you before I realized how crazy busy you are! You were sweet to play along.

The blackeyed pea spread sounds wonderful, esp. with those lovely tomatoes. And I've been craving saurkraut lately. Kraut panini - nice!

I'm glad you like the vinaigrette. Thanks for giving it a try.

urban vegan said...

Hi Laura--Hope your life is less taxing by now. At least you are taking care of yourself by eating well. Hang in there! [I can totally relate to stress at work...but it passes, unfortunately, sometimes like a kidney stone.] XO

bazu said...

I loved the black-eyed pea dip too! I still have a bit of it left and use it pretty much as you do- veggies and sandwiches. It's yummy.
Your other stuff looks scrumptious as well- I guessed right on those maple cookies.
Well, I hope this tax-crunch time passes as quickly and painlessly for you as possible, and hope to hear more from you soon. *hugs*

Vegan_Noodle said...

Hope you make it through the busy season! My sis used to be an auditer, so I remember her talking about that kind of stuff too (sorry if that's completely different from what you do, I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to those things!)
Looks like you've been eating pretty well though when you've had the time!

Jackie Vetter said...

What a great post and great ideas. Being new to blogging, I look forward to coming to your site and seeing that you have posted something new.

I get so many great ideas, for this new lifestyle of mine, from you. I hope my site is as well versed as your is someday.