So, my blogging schedule fell apart last week with preparing for Thanksgiving (I had 20 people to dinner) and having caught a cold the last couple of days. I am going to get back on track here. Today is a bit of a random post about a winery I went to in mid September. It's about an hour from where I live. Goose Lake Farm and Winery is in the tiny little town of Nowthen, MN. I really enjoyed my visit out here especially because of all the animals and birds roaming around. The wine is quite good and they served sparkling red wine on tap. That was an unusual treat and it was delicious. They also make and sell their own chocolates.
I am really delighting in visiting all the wineries in Minnesota. I like to support small business and I might add the ones I've been to thus far have all been owned by women.
After I moved out of my parents' house, I stopped celebrating Thanksgiving. I never really liked it all that much. I didn't celebrate it for some years until I started seeing my current boyfriend and transitioned to an almost completely vegan diet. We started off having a dinner with one or two other couples over the next few years until I started to realize that not only did a lot of my friends not eat meat or diary but a lot of them also had family that were too far away to visit every year. Most of my vegetarian and vegan friends who did go see family during the day were basically stuck eating whatever side dishes might happen to be ok for them. And for some of my lactose intolerant friends this was a nightmare as we all know most everything traditional and American is laden with butter or milk. So we came up with a new tradition a few years ago and one that has been working tremendously well. I hope we stick with it for many years. Especially since I have worked to make what I think is the best tofurky. Now, you can just follow the directions on the box. Which I have done. I have tried both the ways they list on the website but what I like better and have been complimented on time and time again is my own amended version of the instructions.
The other point of this evening dinner is to be as comfortable as possible. I encourage everyone to wear pajamas and to bring a vegan dish to share. We always have more food then we know what to do with. So today I'll leave you with my tofurky recipe and tomorrow I'll give you my mashed potato recipe and the link to the gravy we make to go with them and it is amazing.
Using the cooking time on the box of the tofurky is fine. I usually have mine completely thawed. My changes are all in the seasonings.
1. I mix up the 3 tablespoons of olive oil and one tablespoon of wheat free soy sauce mixture. I usually make three tofurkys so I do one mixture per roast.
2. Instead of ground sage, I mix in a seasoning mix from a favorite spice shop Penzey's. It's called Bavarian Seasoning. I don't generally measure this out. Since it's salt-free you don't have to worry about it drying anything out.
3. Now, for each tofurky I buy enough FRESH sage to make a bed of it for each roast to cook on. I'll line a glass baking dish with foil and make three beds of fresh sage. This gives the roast an amazing aroma and makes your house smell nice.
4. Use a brush to coat each tofurky with the oil and soy sauce mixture. This is really important: Brush the WHOLE thing with oil otherwise it'll dry out. Do the bottom and sides well. Don't use all the mixture as you'll want more to brush it again when you remove the foil from the top and bake it for the last 10-15 minutes.
5. After each one is brushed with oil and set on the sage, sprinkle seasoning on top of each one and then cover the whole thing with foil. I usually make a pouch with the foil. It keeps the moisture in really well. I do NOT add any of the suggested vegetables. This never worked out very well in the past and with all the other food that arrives there was no point in wasting it.
Following the directions on the box for time and temperature, I put them in to cook. After the alloted time has past I'll take the dish out and remove the cover. I'll usually slice the tops open a little so I can brush the remaining oil into the tofurky for the last ten minutes or so of cooking. This also will keep it from drying out if you have to leave it in the oven on WARM while people arrive or get settled.
It should be easy to slice and serve. We usually serve it with gravy which I'll give you the recipe for tomorrow.
When I first moved here I used to explore grocery stores. For some reason, I stopped. I don't really know why but recently I went back to one I used to really like and was very happy by what I found. I will no doubt be going again. United Noodle is a wonderland of treats(and real food too) and gift items. I very quickly found a bunch of snacks and tea to take home with me as well as tea tins. I will most certainly put this place back on my list of shopping stops, especially since so much Asian and Indian food is vegetarian friendly. Here are some pictures of the snacks I bought, the tins I loved and the veggies that became part of a fabulous Pho made for me. Have a delightful week!
A little over a month ago, I surprised most everyone who knows me including myself by leaving my job to become a full time writer and jewelry maker. It’s been about 6 weeks since my last day, and well, it’s a strange, wonderful time in my life. But, it’s not without its struggles.
Let’s start with the job I left. I loved my job. Sometimes it could be frustrating, and other times it made me want to scream. But over the last six and a half years I worked there I got to work with the best people anyone could ever hope to call friends. I worked in a used bookstore. No doubt, quite a lot of people would turn their nose up at this job and dismiss it as nothing more than a retail job. Well, I feel bad for people who think work is beneath them for one thing. And for another, the people I worked with are pretty much the most intelligent people (not the only intelligent people I know but at a job-most certainly) I’ve ever known. Very creative and capable of remarkable conversation, traits that I value in people. People who, when you’re having a bad day, are there to talk you off the ledge.
Which brings me to self-employed creative type struggle #1: When things are going poorly just about the worst thing you can do is pep talk yourself. Because, let’s face it, you very rarely can get out of your own way without a little direction from someone else.
Days when nothing feels like it’s worth a damn that you’ve written or made, you are going to feel that way a lot more when you’re the only one around.
Something I already miss a lot more than I would’ve thought is the endless wonder of the amazing things we’d see in the store. One of my biggest responsibilities at my job was book buying. Countless hours over the last 6 years have been spent going through piles and piles of old books. A lot of it was filthy and a lot of it was worthless. But, nearly every day there was something new for me to be interested in. And more often than not there was something wondrous to look at and hold. Books signed by my idols, presidents, senators. Handmade books bound by Anais Nin and unknown writers who are forever lost in time but created amazing works of art before they were gone. Books 50 years old, 100 years old, 200 years old. Art books, storybooks, fiction books, maps, history books… In other words, endless stimulation that could bring you a million ideas at any given time.
Now this is a double edged sword, I had a lot of ideas for stories and projects while at the store but the reality is without being able to write them down most of the time, I forgot a lot of them. I do have to pull myself off the internet when I am stuck at times. I don’t like wasting time. I am struggling with understanding that it’s okay for me to get up and do something else if I am having a hard time ending a paragraph or completing a jewelry piece. I’m having to learn how to manage my time differently than I’ve grown accustomed to after 20 years of working full time at an office, store or school. Feeling like I’ve accomplished something has a new meaning when all the work you do now was work you did only in your spare time. Much of it as a way to wind down. Much of it on a computer. I’ve always had things that I could physically point to and say, “Hey I did all that today.” Now, it’s all about the word count, number of photos edited, listings posted, business cards stamped, etc… It has occurred to me that perhaps because I’m not feeling the same kind of expectation that I did at my job that I think I’m not working hard enough. Learning that I don’t have to feel pressured everyday is something that is taking getting used to. I have deadlines, don’t get me wrong. But, a lot of them I had with a full time job and now I can work towards these deadlines without the job to take up my time. It’s a grand luxury and I am trying to be very careful about taking it for
This is just the first few things I’ve got to tell you. There is plenty more. But for the sake of not boring anyone too much, I’m going to break them up into installments. Thank you for reading and I hope as I write about this journey, you’ll come along and maybe you can teach me something. I definitely can use all the help I can get.
The place I'm going to write about is a favorite of mine if for no other reason than the atmosphere is great. The Bad Waitress in south Minneapolis has been a regular haunt of mine for sometime. If I were to be totally honest I'd have to say that the available vegan food menu is not very big nor are the breakfast dishes the best of those available in the Twin Cities. However, they do have some of the best coffee I've ever had and I very much enjoy the simple tofu scramble known as the Heavy Pedal. It's really a great dish to have when you've had a little too much to drink the night before. Judge me all you want, I have no problem admitting to enjoying a night out with cocktails and as such I've figured how to recover from them with what foods and activities (or lack thereof). The Bad Waitress also has a vegan sloppy joe that many of my friends really love. Not to mention a vegan chocolate cake to die for. Oh and the name? None of the service staff is anywhere near bad...in fact, I'd say they are the opposite.
Iced soy mocha, a favorite.
Vegan Vanilla Milkshake, yum.
The table markers are very Geek Girl friendly.
The Heavy Pedal which I like to add mushrooms and garlic to.
The Amsterdam is my second favorite dish.
Vegan Sloppy Joe
A Heavy Pedal with peppers and onions(pick two things to go into your tofu).
Mexican Soy Mocha
Have a Great Day!
Another new regular feature I’d like to start on my blog is Minnesota Monday. I will write about something to do or see here. I love my adopted state and it’s full of unexpected, strange and interesting places. I’ve written about some of these places a little bit before but Minnesota Monday will have more information going forward as well as more pictures and more Minnesota sass.
Today we’ll start with the current exhibit at the The Science Museum of Minnesota which is located in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The exhibit features treasures and displays about the Ancient Mayan culture. We all know the tales of the end of the world, human sacrifices and giant pyramids. Well, the world hasn’t ended but the human sacrifices and giant pyramids, that’s a thing. A real thing. In fact, sacrifices were a ritual they believed were essential to the city’s survival. Although, one of the more unnerving things you learn was that if you lost this particular game in the Ancient Mayan culture, your life was forfeit. Other fascinating facts included finding out that dwarves and hunchbacked people were sacred advisors to the kings and that there is a system of nearly underwater caves for worshipping the afterlife in the Underworld. There’s also a lot of information about the alignment of the stars and what that meant to planning for building and planting crops. This is a really interactive exhibit. There’s a lot to put together including a digital Mayan calendar that I could’ve played with for days. I hope they make it into software so I can buy one for myself. I even got to print my own birthday out in Mayan glyphs. One other thing that I learned that was a surprise to me was how much Mayan culture there is in Belize. I always think of Mexico as being the one place alone to be home to Mayan culture and that is incorrect. So go forth my friends and learn. I certainly did.
Here’s pictures from the exhibit and some of the museum in general. Have a great day!
Yes. Dragon Glass. :o)