Friday, June 25, 2010


Last week, Matt and I canned a few jars of dilly beans, cauliflower, and one jar of pickles. I used the recipe from my canning workshop: mustard seeds, peppercorns, dill seeds and garlic. There were a couple notable things about this canning experience. It was my first time re-using jars that I did not get specifically for canning; we'd gotten some pasta sauce a few months ago, and I realized that the jars it came in were Mason jars! The large jar on the left with the dilly beans is the reused jar. This was also my first time using the large Weck jars. We'd preserved some strawberry syrup in a tall Weck juice jar a few weeks ago, but somehow, the large jars seemed to behave differently--they took longer to seal. And of course, because I was impatient to test the seals, I ended up unsealing the two Weck jars, and had to re-process them the next morning. The re-processing worked out just fine, and the jars sealed. I learned a valuable lesson: the heavy glass lids and thick rubber seals of the Weck jars take longer than thin metal lids to seal.

If any of you are wondering, I bought the beautiful Weck jars at the co-op. I've been coveting them online for a good few months, when I unexpectedly ran into them in the bulk isle of the co-op. When I was buying a couple jars for my mom, the cashier commented that she'd never used an "alternative" method of canning. I was quick to correct her that this method of canning--with the rubber gasket and glass lid--predates the metal lids that we are so used to now. The Weck jars, although more expensive, are much more aesthetically appealing than the Mason/Ball jars; the lids are also reusable, and I would imagine it would take a good few canning sessions to wear out one of the rubber gaskets. I think that as long as the co-op is carrying the jars, I will continue to add to my collection; I look forward to more canning with them, too!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Urban Land Scouts--Badges

Just a quick post tonight; I received my first Urban Land Scout badges today, and just had to share. They are the badges for the first two levels, and for the seventh level. I looked back over the list and think that I may have a few more coming my way in a few weeks. Here they are:

I have also had the fortune of the gift of vegetables from one of my co-workers: a whole bucket of green beans, several zucchinis and yellow squash, cucumbers, and hot peppers. One of the zucchinis was as big as my arm! So tonight we made double batches of both sweet and savory zucchini bread. I'm taking some to my co-worker (after all, he brought us the produce), and will be posting another short post soon about our canning adventures.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Today--my fourth of ten days raw--was not difficult, per se, but I wavered in my conviction of doing the project (or cleanse, whatever you want to call it). I worked an eight-hour shift, and the food at work smelled and looked a lot more appetizing than the chard and guacamole wrap that I'd brought for lunch. Don't get me wrong, I love guacamole, but the potato chips and the roasted portobellos were calling my name so much, that I turned to a co-worker and said, "Would it defeat the purpose of the raw period if I had raw all the time at home, but had (cooked) sandwiches while I was at work?" He looked at me and said, "Yes, of course it would. You're the one always telling me about willpower, why quit now?" And he's right, of course. It was my choice to do the raw thing, and I will do the full ten days of it, possibly having some cooked food on Friday night, but not before.

Of course, that got me thinking more about choice and commitment and how those are ways of acting upon knowledge/the acknowledged. I acknowledge that eating raw for a stretch of time is incredibly good for my body and mind, partially because it allows me to have a break from caffeine and alcohol. (There are also practical reasons for doing it: the CSA baskets this time of the year are almost all leafy greens and salad mix; because Matt is out of town, this means that I have the task of eating all of them on my own--and what better way to do it than raw?) So, if I acknowledge the benefits (finishing the CSA basket, cleansing and feeling better, experimenting with new ways of raw food preparation), I can see how choosing raw has a positive impact on my ten days. In a more extensive way, I can acknowledge the positive impact that veganism--my veganism--has, and I know that it is a choice that I make on a daily basis. I choose to be vegan. As Matt once said, "It wouldn't be so much of an issue if meat didn't taste good." But to most people, it does, and it is certainly more convenient to be an omnivore--and therefore, being vegan isn't a simple preference, but a conviction, a commitment, a choice.

I had to write all of this out because I recently found out that one of our friends who was vegetarian isn't so anymore. And when I found out, it bothered me--and it took me a while to figure out why. This person is someone with rather strong convictions, and it was just so strange to hear that he had abandoned them! It was a choice made for whatever reasons, but a choice made in direct opposition to the previous acknowledgements of the harms enacted by the meat industry.

I'm tired. It has been a long, long day, so I will close with these words form the first chapter of Cafe Gratitude's Dessert Cookbook Sweet Gratitude. I came across this book completely by accident today, but the words resonated with me, and so:
Our choices are not isolated incidents, they are powerful decisions that create a ripple effect on the rest of the world. What we choose now sooner or later has a direct impact, not just on ourselves, but on many others and the whole planet. Sometimes what we choose is influenced by habit or what makes us comfortable. To step into our power of choice is to be consciously aware of why we are making a choice and to be present to its impact

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Raw Again-Day 1

As one co-worker exclaimed, "You already have one of the most restrictive diets, why would you want to eat raw for any specific amount of time?" I corrected him--I don't think of veganism as restrictive; if anything, I eat a greater variety of things now than I did two and a half years ago. And eating only raw for a little while (the goal is ten days, like last year) reminds me to appreciate the produce of the season in a different way. I look forward to the CSA basket more than ever! Just as last year, I will have to be just a little more creative than I would on a daily basis, but this just means that I'll end up trying more different things.

Today, I made the raw ranch dressing from Gena's wonderful blog. I also started the raw coconut yogurt, and hope to have it tomorrow for breakfast. I'm excited about the next week, and know that the various little raw projects will keep me occupied while Matt is away in Louisville.