Saturday, May 17, 2008

Tired Out From Trier

Trier was excellent!

Evening fare was wretched. Stewed cabbage with some raw veg was about the extent of my options for dinner. Lunch was made manageable by our mid-day proximity to BioGate, where on three days I indulged in little nibbles and a quickly cobbled together falafel sandwich.

The final day of our trip afforded me enough time to get away for long enough to enjoy the Bio-snack bar that is housed inside the shop. As a vegan, I had two options to pick from. Not bad for a menu with a grand total of 6 lunch time meals. Thank goodness I ordered the small, because I would have felt at least partially responsible for the current food crisis given the amount of rice that was plunked down in front of me by the chef.

On the whole, I think Trier is manageable for any adventurous, Roman-history loving vegan. There were more than a couple of health food shops in this city. I wouldn't recommend staying in a location that offers supper - a vegetarian option might be possible, but vegan is a little less likely to be on their radar.

The city itself is charming and the run along the Moselle river is delightful. A red clay cliffs on the east side of the river serve as a dramatic backdrop to the numerous little houses that set up camp far away from the more touristy city-centre. Loads of stuff for kids, the baths, amphitheatre and cathedral are all worth a visit.

Glad to be home! K and I are ready for a night with Vetiver in the Rotonde.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Trier Bound

Well, K and I have enjoyed a glorious weekend, filled with friends, loads of babies, great music, each other, and one glass of wine. Despite wishes for the long weekend to stretch into oblivion, it seems that the morning has come where I am to ship myself (in the company of 120 kids) to Germany.

I am already missing K and our regular routine, but I think he will be able to suffer through the next four days without his Vegan CowGirl. My hopes are that I will have internet access at the home-away-from-home, but we will see what the accomodations offer. If not, I will look forward to getting home and sharing all my vegan-rific experiences in Germany. Rest assured - I have some stand-by vegan options already stowed away in my travel pack (apparently, the place we are staying 'can't accommodate vegans).

Of course the best part of the whole trip will be when I have to participate in the faculty drama that is a tradition on this trip. I just can't wait (can you see the sarcasm dripping off that last sentence?)

Roman Bridges (roads, building, walls, crappy dioramas) here I come!

Friday, May 09, 2008

The weather in Brussels has been spectacular. The sky has been without cloud for over a week, and the sun has all but chased the damp from my bones. I can only hope that the trend will continue as I prepare for a four day trip to Trier. If it was just myself and my physics geek, a rainy week in Germany wouldn't seem so daunting. But, the thought of trying to motivate 22 kids throughout rain soaked streets.......the idea is less than appetizing. Fingers crossed.

Good weather makes for good food. A big change in local produce this past week. The market is busting with peppers, rhurbarb, asparagus and carrots. But it is the growth on my terrace balcony that has me so excited. We planted some strawberries one rain-drenched March afternoon, and it appears that, ta-dah, we have a couple of flowers starting to pop.

And it is with a strawberry-heavy fruit salad that we go treking to a birthday picnic tonight. It is a joint creation, that we both agreed, thanks to the slippery mango, is the sexiest fruit salad we have ever seen. We are thinking that it might not fill us up before our concert trip tonight (I'm From Barcelona, Of Montreal, Blood Red Shoes, Two Gallants....) so we are also going to hit Dolma, a great Veg restauarant in the heart of hippy-Brussels that we haven't been to in ages.

I need some help!!! With prayers to the sun goddess, the weather will hold out for a bbq lunch we are going to in Waterloo on Sunday afternoon - suggestions for what I might want to bring would be mega appreciated. Send me recipes, links, ideas and I would be happy to give them a whirl and share the results.

Minty Fruit Salad
-2 ripe mangoes - cubed
-2 quarts of strawberries - washed and cut
-1 melon - cubed
- juice of one lime
- mint - cut into ribbons

How To: How ever you like!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Cooking for K's Secret Heart

Who doesn't love Feist singing Ron Sexsmith's Secret Heart? Who doesn't love vegan desert? Who doesn't love getting little presents in the mail? Whilst poking my snoopy nose through various blogs today I came across the coolest site I have found in a long, long time. It appeals utterly and completly to something old fashioned inside the heart of this tech-loving lady: mail. Real Mail. Real Snail Slow Boat From Around the World Kind of Mail. So check out Swap Bot - espeacially if you dig post cards, photography, mixed C.D.s, food presents, little gifts (giving and getting), trinkets and crafts. It is a brilliant idea and a great way to connect with people in this ever and always 'behind the screen' kind of world.

In other news, K is having a yuck of a time at work, and I wanted to satisfy the carb-loving monster inside this skinny boy of mine. So, after my run and workout, I came home with Spaghetti on my mind. He is a simple man, and likes a plain sauce, with fresh herbs and tomatoes - so I got to work. I made K a tomato, red pepper sauce and covered a good portion of whole wheat noodles. Hiding underneath the pasta I tucked away some baked eggplant.

I decided to make him an Inside Out Apple Crisp to warm the cockles of his frustrated heart. I got the recipe from my momma...well, I didn't really get it from her, rather I stole it, without consultation, from our Christmas fare. Hers' was savory, and mine is sweet. Mom served hers' as a starter.

We ended the night with a short sip of Red Flower Iced Tea that I made last night and left to chill in the fridge throughout today.

In other wonderful news..... I love love love PoopieBitch. Not only is she an uber-cool cake maker, but she shares a couple of things in common with me - things that are mega important:

1. Being a big sister
2. Being the lady-friend of a Brit. Yes, that's right, like PoopieBitch, I too have a Brit. Mine hails from Manchester (kind of, but Durham also) and I admit it - he does like a good fry up on occasion (thank *od for vegan sausages!).

PoopieBitch did me a great honour - which I discovered while artificially researching Anicent Rome in the library today: She gave me an award. I was awarded the E-award for Excellent Blog. Thanks Poopie Bitch. I need a day to think about which totally uber-cool bloggers I want to pass this little love-nugget onto.

Inside Out Apple Crisp


-2 large apples: cored and dug out a good bit
-a tiny bit of ginger
-walnut crumbs
-1/2 cup of oatmeal
-2 tablespoons of Agave
-a tiny touch of water
After Baking
-Almond Milk to taste

How To: I preheated the oven and started digging out the inside of my apples. I reserved about half of the insides, throwing them inside a bowl. I added to the reserved apple all of the remaining ingredients, gave it a good mix around. I stuffed equal amounts of the oat mixture to the apples, placed them inside the oven and baked them for 30 minutes. We added a little bit of Almond Milk to the desert - and honestly - it was totally amazing.

Wake Up the Right Way!

Oatmeal is about the only thing exciting enough to wake K up in the morning. He has potential grumble qualities effective only for about 30 minutes after getting up, but since the appearance of one particular little vegan, he has gone out of his way to check that. I have found that one excellent way to assuage him of any grumpy potential is to have a yummy breakfast waiting for him - it almost always works, and the preparation of breakfast seems to be a great outlet for the bundles of energy I seem to possess first thing in the morning (this is quite a mystery given my family's adoration for sleeping). It is fair to guarantee that every single morning in the Healey/Daniel home there will be a hairy boy eating some oatmeal with bananas and dried fruit; this boy can also be found drinking a glass of juice and sipping on some tea. There is also, very often, a vegan girl, chattering away over a bowl of puffed rice or soy yogurt.

I decided to be daring this morning, and went against all odds and all sense of probability, and subtracted the oatmeal from the mornings menu and replaced it with some fresh fruit, whole wheat toast and a little bit of rhubarb jam.

Kevin seemed to cope well with the change. And didn't even seem to notice that I forgot to turn on BBC 4 this morning. Ooops.

Monday, May 05, 2008

I needed a little something sweet to follow up the stir fry I whipped up after my run tonight. I found inspiration in the expiry date on my package of soft tofu. It was now or never, and I wasn't one to let things go to waste. I grabbed myself the bushel of rhubarb in the bottom of the fridge and went to town. I ended up with a absolutely delicious, and looked super cute in my new blue cups. It gets even cooler - the recipe is sugar-free and free of any added fat (the tofu is bound to have a skinny bit of fat). Run out to the market and get yourself some rhubarb and don't forget the tofu. Go, go, go.

Months Before Race Day Rhubarb

-1 bushel of rhubarb - cut into 1 inch bits
-1 pack of soft tofu
-1 tablespoon of vanilla + 1 tablespoon of vanilla
-juice of one orange (1/2 + 1/2)
-1 tablespoon of agave syrup
-1 handful of oats

How To:
I cut the rhubarb and threw it into the pot with some water and the juice from half the orange. I set it to stew for about 35 minutes. I added the tablespoon of vanilla about half way through the cooking time. In a medium glass bowl I whizzed up the tofu, orange juice, vanilla and agave. When the rhubarb was done I split it between the two glasses, added the whizzed up (and totally wonderful on its own) tofu cream and topped it off with a handful of oats. Oh my.

In other news, I am reading an excellent book: The Behaviour of Moths by Poppy Adams. Really well written text. The sentences are nicely stitched together.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Long Weekends are a well-known component of Canadian summertime culture. We crack the season off with May 24, complete with bbqs, camping and endless patios busting out across even the smallest hick town. And it is with sweet sorrow, during Labour Day Weekend, that we kiss the warmth goodbye, taking off our white pants, ready for another season of bulky sweaters and woolly socks.

My first long weekend here in Belgium has come and gone. I am sitting in my living room, the terrace doors open on both sides of my living room, and the sun is setting against a bright blue sky.

Thursday was almost non-existent. We did next to nothing. A walk to my favourite bakery, which served up a sensational quinoa and roasted veg salad, was about the grandest movement made on this my first of four work-free days. Friday saw Andrea and I tackle a army-training style aerobics class. I needed a wheel chair to get my body out of the fitness centre. We found rest for our aches with a second visit (of four) to the above mentioned bakery (again...the quiona salad). Saturday was a whole lot of walking, a great run, and a fantastic day with my favourite physics geek. We picked up some great C.D.s and made some sushi. The sushi was ok, but I admit to being so excited about the Red Cabbage, Apple and Edamame Salad that I barely pecked at the maki. Today was a market, blanket and picnic kind of day. We capped the holiday off with a Red Ratatouille - yum scrum.

All four days have been beautiful, warm and sparkling. Give the salad a try if you get a chance, and who doesn't want a bowl of ratatouille.

Red Cabbage, Apple and Edamame Salad
-1/2 a red cabbage: slivered
-1/2 cup of cooked edamame
-2 apples: diced
-1 red grapefruit
-apple cider vinegar
-sesame oil

How To: The cabbage, apple and edamame can be tossed together. I cut the grapefruit in half and cut 1/2 into sections, and squeezed the remaining half for some yummy juice. Add your oil and vinegar and give her a good mix. The best part was sticking the salad in the new green and blue glasses we picked up at my very favourite shop. It keeps really well.

Grilled Veg Picnic Packets Ingredients:
- red pepper
- sweet potato
- rosemary
- anise
- yellow onion
-4 slices of brown bread
- olive oil

How To: K wanted some sandwiches to take with us on our park-blanket-reading extravaganza. I was happy with my rice cakes and asparagus spread, but I had a whack of left over grilled veg and a fresh loaf of brown bread - so, K got his wish. The end result must have been pretty amazing, because he was 'ohhhhing' and 'ahhhhíng' throughout the entire meal. I spread the bread slices with some olive oil before dolling out the veg, and then giving the bread a good squish down.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

I am sure you will feign no surprise when I share the name of tonight's pate: Asparagus and Chickpea Pate. Yes, more asparagus, but enjoyed in an unusual way. A fantastic experiment.

-2 large bunches of green asparagus.
-1 cup of chick peas
-1/2 cup of pine nuts
-1 teaspoon of soy sauce
-cracked black pepper

How to: I roasted the asparagus for 30 minutes. I added the raw pine nuts and chickpeas to my food processor and pulsed them for a few minutes. I added the roasted asparagus and whirred at top speed. Cumin was the last addition. Yummy.

I also made a simple little dish of tofu, cucumber, tomato and mixed salad.