Saturday, March 31, 2012

Earth Hour

Today is March 31st, which means that at 8:30 pm, its Earth Hour. Everyone around the world is invited to shut out the lights from 8:30 to 9:30 pm.

I had been planning on having a couple friends over for snacks and games and candlelight. But, as it is, everyone opted out on me. (sick kids, sick self, unexpected house guests, etc)

So I will be spending Earth Hour solo this year. In lieu of board games and snacks, I will be doing some much needed organizing and purging and putting stuff away and making more lists and such by candlelight. Ok, I may have some snacks, as well.

And, yes, my candles will be smaller than the torch in the picture! I just like the picture alot. It was the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Paralympics in Vancouver. And I'll use any excuse to bust it open and post it!  ;-)

Is anyone else celebrating Earth Hour? How?

Monday, March 26, 2012

cooking for the clueless

One of the best things about my recent trip was the FOOD! I had originally started the month on a 30 day vegan challenge as posted in this gal's blog. I figured, it would be quite easy in two countries that were primary Buddhist. And then I embarked on what was probably the least vegan two weeks of my entire life! (I essentially abandoned the challenge somewhere around the third "vegetarian soup" filled with pork I received)  "Vegetarian" must mean something different in Indoneisia. Or, more likely, the mere fact that in poor countries, they don't necessarily have the luxury of "going vegan". Pigs and chicken are raised for food and then eaten. That's the way it is. 

Regardless, the food was extremely fresh, extremely well prepared, extremely CLEAN. A wonderful change from the processed junk we are surrounded by in this country. In a strange way, it's easier to eat well in that environment than here, where we value convenience and thrift over good, healthy food. 

On that note, I decided that I was going to try to continue to eat good, clean food (and cut out animal products) in the weeks that followed my trip. As always, whenever I enter the kitchen, I realize exactly how clueless I am!

This week, I adapted a recipe from the original "clueless girl", Alicia Silverstone and her book, The Kind Diet. Of course, since I am so clueless, I forgot to check my spices before I went shopping and ended up having to change the entire spice configuration to coincide with what I actually had in the house. So instead of ending up with Moroccan Couscous, I ended up with a sort of "Thanksgiving Style Couscous". (Simply because I know those spices taste ok on squash.

2 cups cubes butternut squash
2 cups largely diced yellow onions
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
1 1/2 cups chopped yelllow squash
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt to tast
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 Tablespoons Earth Balance butter
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 1/2 couscous

Heat oven to 375. Place veggies on baking sheet with olive oil, salt and 1 tsp pepper. Roast 25-30 minutes, turning once with spatula. Boil veggie broth. Remove pan from heat. Add Butter and spices. Put veggies and prepared couscous in large bowl. Bring broth back to boil and pour over veggies and couscous. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

I ate it for lunch all week last week and did not get sick of it. I will more prepared next time and check my spice drawer before shopping so that I can experience more exotic flavors in my dishes, but for now, the old Thanksgiving standby spices did me quite well.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

post vacation blues

Last week, I got back from an amazing trip to Vietnam and Cambodia with a former co-worker and two of her friends. Got there, met my traveling companions, and let loose all over the country of Vietnam. It was awesome!

In addition to seeing a part of the world I have never been, this trip was great because it allowed me to get away from all the things that have been stressing me out in my everyday life and see things a little more clearly. (all really good vacations do just that, don't they)

(And really REALLY good vacations involve jumping off the roof of a boat into turquoise blue water!)

My first week back at work stressed the heck right out of me.

And once again, I'm struggling with the dilemma: do I stay and try to make things work or cut my losses and go?

But this Sunday night, I'm just basking in the memories of that blue ocean and warm sand and good fresh fruit and cold beer with new friends.