I’ve been a total grandma lately. Case in point: I’m currently sitting in my living room under a crocheted blanket and a snoozing lap dog. Cookie makes a fine laptop stand. My other grandmotherly activities of late include polishing silverware, tending to my houseplants, mending my chambray shirt and baking cookies. I can’t decide if I want to pick my knitting needles or golf clubs once all my things are in order.
A few Saturday nights ago, I stayed in and spent the evening testing roasted eggplant techniques. Good grief, I’m 27 going on 70! Salted vs. unsalted, halved vs. cubed, skin on vs. peeled. I decided on unsalted, cubed and peeled. You’ll see that I didn’t completely peel the eggplants in these photos. I wanted to verify my peeled verdict (ok, I was being lazy) and later regretted it.
It’s hard to believe that the little project I named Cookie and Kate three and a half years ago has become a full-time endeavor. When my parents asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I definitely never responded, “Vegetarian food blogger,” but that was back when I subsisted on chicken fingers with ketchup and home computers were clunky novelties. Regardless, I’ve found my calling. For now.
I’m hoping to post recipes more often from here on out. I’m already feeling like a failure since I’ve only managed to post once during my first week as a full timer. I have, however, been attacking my to-do list like it’s a beast that can be conquered. Oh, if only it could.
Before I dive into the blog improvement projects on my agenda, I thought I’d ask you all what you would like to see here first. What kinds of recipes do you prefer? Do you have suggestions for how this website could work better for you? Any features you’d like to see? Let’s hear it!
Please tell me that I am not the only girl who leaves her keys in the door. Or loses her car in parking lots. Or drops her wallet on the sidewalk. Distracted is my middle name, but committing all three of those mistakes over the past few weeks is a personal record.
I suppose I have to tell you the stories now, don’t I? I’ll start with the best one. A couple of weeks ago, I took Cookie outside before dragging myself to bed. I was exhausted—apparently so exhausted that I left my keys in my door when I shut it behind me. Dumb, right? The next morning, I woke up and searched around for my keys. I couldn’t find them in any of the normal spots. It finally occurred to me to check the door. Aha! Keys. Relief.
Then I walked down the front steps, looked over to my left, and saw my car. My car was parked in front of the fire hydrant with a white ticket flapping underneath the window wiper. That’s not where I parked my car, you guys. I walked over to my car with trepidation and peered through the windows.
Everything inside my car seemed to be in order. Not a serial killer in sight. I got in and noticed that the seat had been scooted back a few inches. All I know about the thief (borrower?) is that he’s a few inches taller than me, drives a manual transmission and has an iPhone, apparently, since he took my cord with him. That leaves a lot of suspects.
The brown armchair in my living room has become the scapegoat for everything that is wrong with my life. It’s not a bad-looking chair, really. It has a nice shape and swivels around in a circle. The nubby brown fabric, however, hangs onto dog hairs for dear life. It will soon be a sweater chair. The longer I sit on my couch and stare down the sweater chair, the more I despise it. It must go.
I’m going on about the chair because last week’s pantry makeover was followed by a borderline obsessive-compulsive fall cleaning spree. I’ve gone through every belonging I’ve stuffed in this place and filled my trunk with junk destined for goodwill. It had to be done. The sheer volume of stuff that I own had been weighing on my psyche. The state of my living quarters is representative of my state of mind, so I’ve felt extra scatterbrained as all the visible projects have been calling for my attention. I’m finally feeling better now that I’ve cleared out some space.
I spent last week gallivanting around Denver with old friends, sharing meals with favoritebloggers and admiring those Colorado clouds—clouds so fluffy and low that I wanted to reach up and run my fingers through them.
In contrast, this week has gotten the best of me. It started going downhill when my short, direct flight home turned into a lengthy tour of Missouri by air. Too bad I couldn’t see out the window from the middle seat. Since then, I’ve been trying to do two weeks’ worth of work in one, all while starring in my own personal episode of Extreme Makeover: Pantry Edition. (You should see my pantry now!)
Sometime between Denver and now, summer changed to fall. It’s still tomatoes-and-sandals weather here in the middle of the country, though, so I thought we could hang onto summer’s last breath with one more colorful, crisp salad. Pumpkin-and-scarf weather will be here soon enough.
I’ve been holding out on you guys. It’s about time we talked coconut bacon. I don’t remember where I first encountered coconut bacon, but I do recall being struck by how much it tastes like real bacon. (You know I have a major weakness for bacon, right?) The savory, smoky-sweet flavor of maple syrup, tamari soy sauce and Liquid Smoke tossed with toothsome coconut flakes turns into vegan “bacon” once baked. It’s really the only “meat substitute” that I support. I’ve been perfecting my coconut bacon for a year now, batch by batch, and I think I’ve finally got it down.
Late last summer, after making a test batch of coconut bacon, I threw together a kale salad with tahini dressing (like this one), added some beautiful slices of ripe tomato, and tossed in a handful of coconut bacon. Holy moly, it was good. So good that I added it to my list of recipe ideas as, “holy moly raw kale BLT salad with garlicky lemon tahini, coconut bacon, heirloom tomato…”
Then last week, my friend Alissa sent me home with a few drop-dead gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, fresh from her backyard garden. I went home and happened to reach for some spices in my pantry while wondering what to make for this week’s recipe. That’s when a bag of coconut bacon fell on my head and plopped onto the counter. Things are always falling out of the cabinets or refrigerator in my teeny tiny kitchen. This time, however, it was a fateful fall, and here we are with a holy moly raw kale BLT salad.