Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Chunky Vegetarian Chili, Among Other Things...

I've had too much birthday, it seems. I'm actually a wee bit exhausted and spent most of last night rather under the weather.

Prior to that, it was full tilt, with plans afoot to find and hire another builder to complete the work on this flat. I've got feelers out, based on a friend or two's recommendations. The man who did my bathroom earlier in the year has not  followed through with any of his promises to give me an estimate, so it is time to look elsewhere.

The kitchen needs to be made more functional and trackless sliding doors installed on the enclosed patio, among other things.

In the meantime, cooking has been the order of the day. Last week, I linked this blog to a recipe I got from Shaheen. This week, I trolled the pantry and fridge, coming up with all of the ingredients for a chunky vegetarian chili which you can see below.

It contains a mix of chili seasonings, vegetable broth, sweet potato, diced tomatoes, green pepper, yellow squash, kidney beans, carrots and a handful of green beans. Add a dash of salt to suit, if you like. I served this with some brown rice and have about three quarts. It will freeze, which means I do not have to eat it until it's gone unless I feel like it.

I've found that taking a recipe to the market cuts costs overall on a week's groceries, so I will do that until I run out of ideas. If any of you have recipes that are simple to make and feature vegetables and you feel like sharing them, feel free to send an e-mail.

Stay Well...

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

And the Birthday Goes On...

The after service birthday oneg (Hebrew word for joy) on Friday was well received and without complications. In addition to the items purchased for the occasion, there were two home made birthday cakes--a vegan carrot cake and a frosted lemon sheet cake. I was stuffed at evening's end and thank both parties for their fine efforts. I cannot recall the last time someone baked a cake for my birthday.

Saturday I was treated to a trip to the beach and lunch at a cafe on the water. It was last minute, so the camera was forgotten, but the three of us had a wonderful time and it was a beautiful day without a drop of rain, a rarity this summer. We strolled around and people-watched, licking ice cream from our fingers before heading home.

Sunday was rainy but made brighter by the floral arrangement sent by friends en route to a new job in South Carolina. The flowers are lovely and smell divine but, in order to keep them from cat's claws, I tried putting them in the bathroom with the door shut. This was short-lived as Jacob soon mastered the door and entertained himself by clawing to bits every toilet roll on the bathroom shelf. As the flowers would have been next, they are now in the hall pantry.

Last night, another impromptu birthday dinner, which was great, left me quite full and happy that I am blessed with good friends. Tomorrow, I have yet another birthday lunch, with the finale this coming Saturday.

Though I've prepared a delicious post-birthday recipe which you can find here, I've not had the time to taste it yet. It is a Sri Lankan vegan pepper pot, and the lovely Shaheen, whose blog features a diversity of flavours, is a wonderful cook. Give her a read. The photos alone will make your mouth water.

Until Next Time...

Friday, August 2, 2013

A Birthday Re-post and Photos

It's that time again...So here is an edited birthday re-post for those of you who did not see it last year.

Fifty-four years ago on August 3, a twenty-year-old woman, soon to be divorced, was packing to leave her sad excuse of a husband. She had been to her OBGYN earlier that day for her seven month prenatal visit and the doctor had cleared her for the drive she planned to make from South Carolina to Florida, where she planned to stay with her grandmother.

Told that her pregnancy was progressing normally, she looked forward to leaving and having time to settle before her late October due date. As evening lengthened, she began to feel something wasn't right, and by the time she had reached a friend who drove her to the hospital on a nearby Air Force base, labour had begun.

Steps were taken to halt its progress, including she would later claim, being given something that knocked her out. Upon reaching consciousness early on the morning of August 4, she learned that a daughter had been born. Doctors were not optimistic about the newborn's chances of survival and her young mother was afraid of the loss of this, her second daughter, in just under a year...

That young woman was my mother and I've thought a lot about her these last two weeks, as she died shortly before my birth date fifteen years ago. I have also cheated death on more than one occasion, so birthdays hold a special significance for me. I have learned to be humbly grateful for friends, time and the myriad other things that fill my life.

As I celebrate this weekend, I'll also pause to remember some special folks I've met through blogging. Thanks for being out there. Be well. May we all have a wonderful year ahead. The photos here were added after this re-post and are me as a newborn and as a teen.

Until Next Time...

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Glimpses of a Day

I did not get many photos at all from my recent day out with Steve, whose blog you can find here. The battery in my not-so-trusty point-and-shoot decided to die after the middle picture here was snapped. As you can see, Steve took two photos of me so those of you who have always wondered what I might look like can now have a glimpse.

Ybor Gold and the green drink in the first photo preceded our lunch at Stone Soup, a small cafe in Ybor City. Once home to Tampa's cigar industry, Ybor City now features bars, night clubs, eateries, galleries and other small businesses, including longtime vintage clothing store, La France, into which we eventually ducked as respite from the summer heat and humidity.

For those curious about the liquid portion of our lunch, Ybor Gold was once brewed locally. My green drink was non-alcoholic, all fresh ingredients and included pineapple, a wonderful treat on a hot afternoon.

After walking the length of Seventh Avenue,  we decided to visit a nearby yogurt shop. Unfortunately, we could not get in the front entrance and went through many twists and turns at the back of an alley way searching for the accessible entry the store claimed to have only to give up and come all the way back to the front. Steve pulled me in through the doorway, a feat I would not have been able to attempt alone.

Once we made our way back to his father's truck, we decided to drive downtown and pray for decent parking. We were also hoping to find the boarding point for downtown trolley, which we failed to do. After hitting some uneven pavement and the track at a light, and landing on my knees, a coffee was in order. We then headed back to my hotel since Steve had dinner plans with another friend.