Thursday, 25 August 2011

Things I Love Thursday

Green sparkly shoes - they give everything I wear them with a little edge! Plus I never realised before thta my office carpet is actually green

Making plans - Maybe it's the idea of autumn (the old 'new school year' feeling), or all the blogs I've been reading about making lists, planning and getting organised. Or perhaps its just the joy of and the sense of control and feeling of relaxation that adding everything you think of to a list. Anyway I'm feeling happy and anticipating the future with a calm glee.

Scrambled tofu - I used to make this all the time and then fell out of the habit. then Dear Heart made it for me a couple of times which has not only gotten me back into the habit but I'm adding loads of veggies to it. So it tastes good, contributes to 5 a day and uses up my courgette glut.

Staying on top of my job list (and not worrying about what's on it tomorrow), live bands, Catching up with friends and relatives, picking sloe berries to make sloe gin, friends who actually know what a sloe looks like, getting inspired about being thrifty (rather than frugal), tea made in a pot.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Phrase of the week

I never buy much these days

Doesn't everyone say this? You spend your lunch hour wandering around the shops telling yourself that you have no intention of buying anything. You're just staying in the loop and keeping yourself aware of what's on offer. After all you wouldn't want to miss out on that perfect item that you've been looking for forever and that is going to make the rest of your wardrobe work. If you could just find it you'd never have to shop again. And what if there's an amazing not to missed sale on somewhere? Plus, you reason to yourself, Christmas is coming up as are a couple of birthdays. You can never get organised for those too early. Anyway I'm not actually going to buy anything - once I've tried it on I won't want it...

I thought I was doing pretty well on the not buying front. I bought stuff second hand. I shopped my wardrobe. I refashioned. In fact I was justifying to myself just this morning that I'd bought practically nothing this summer. So I was entitled to the two pairs of green sequin shoes from eBay. Oh and the white sandals and the pink ballet pumps. Well, four pairs of shoes over 6 months isn't too bad, I thought, after all I haven't been buying clothes. If you don't count the two black skirts, biker style leggings and white dress (now dyed green). But they were all charity shops finds so they don't count unlike the green trousers, black and grey stripped socks and black cotton tights...

Just like being on a diet it's easy to start slipping . You make an exception here and another there and before you know it it's turned into a habit. So I'm thinking that I need to nip this habit in at the bud. A quick search on the Internet turned up The Great American Apparel Diet and a whole range of blogs about making your wardrobe work for you and the financial benefits. I'm quite taken with but there are quit enough variations on the theme for me to spend whole lunch hours surfing, not shopping.

I've spent a lot of time putting my wardrobe together. I have some items that I enjoy wearing. I'd like to do them justice by actually wearing them. I'd like to spend my lunch hours enjoying my food, losing myself in a book or solving Sudoku. Not running frantically from one store to another just in case I miss something.

So I'm thinking that I'll commit to not buying any new clothes for the rest of 2011. Plus I'm going to limit any lunchtime wanders around retail units to once a week and that includes visits to Lush for soap, the market for vegetables, and the oriental grocer for tofu. Let's see how I get on.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

What's in my lunchbox this week?

Here it is - the post V festival lunch box. This lunch box is also a reminder of why you should never food shop when you are hungry (I just popped into the Coop for some odds and ends on my way home from the hairdressers and ended up going home loaded down with food).

Clockwise from top right:


Mango chutney - Yes, it's an Indian takeaway leftover. Yes, I am on a clear out the fridge kick.

Pakoras, samosas and bhajis from an Indian snack pack

Home grown runner beans lightly steamed and served with a dab of vegan margarine

Monday, 15 August 2011

What's in my lunch box this week?

This week's lunch box is the green and gold edition!

Clockwise from top right:

Corn on the cob


home grown runner beans lightly steamed

Mini refried bean tacos (from M&S and much reduced - I find it hard to resist food in the reduced section) on a bed of home grown lettuce

Plum and peach cake

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Things I Love Thursday

Essex Police - for making good use of Twitter to reassure communities during the recent riots

Sudoku - Once again I'm drawn to this fendish puzzle. I've been trying variations but nothing beats the classic.

Driving - My car was in the garage on Monday and I actually missed driving. Still good to take the bus for a change. Routine kills creative thought.

Other stuff - trying new things (Zumba), doing stuff I've put off (finally making a will), Cashew cheese, sleep, allotment produce (yeah I grew it myself), keeping busy, Lego, Scarlett Thomas novels.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Phrase of the week

We must plan a menu

This seems to be muttered about every two minutes in the midorigreen household which makes the fact that I haven't gotten around to actually taking any action on it a disgrace.

I used to plan a menu every week. If I had a few spare minutes I'd start planning out what we might eat over the next few days, what we had that needed using up and look up new recipes to try. I got quite efficient over time coming up with solutions to using up various ingredients. I'd often make a dish that could be eaten over two days in two different ways or where leftovers could form the base of a new dish.

However I've fallen out of the menu habit for a whole number of reasons. Pressures of work, the differences between my diet (vegan) and Dear Heart's (non-vegan), changing ideas about portion sizes and what equals a meal. There's been the question of who's doing the cooking and when.

However the time has come again to start menu planning on a regular basis. Apart from anything else the glut of courgettes, beans and leafy things from the allotment need dealing with before they take over the kitchen. Clearly I'm not the only person to think about this. Mimi at Little Sips of tea has been talking how she stopped menu planning and why she wants to start again.

With our busy lives including long working days and evening commitments it's clear that a few moments of thought about what to eat could make life run just a bit more smoothly. I just need to dig out the mini blackboard and start writing up my plans. When I've got a spare minute that is.

What's in my lunchbox this week?

I'm thinking seriously (once again) about how I eat, what I eat and when I eat. Currently I eat breakfast about 6.30 am. This means that if I wait until 12.30pm to eat my lunch I am very hungry and likely to snack if the opportunity presents itself. Then I get hungry mid afternoon. So I'm trying to spread my food out over the course of my working day and to pack more of it. This could do with a few more veggies but I'm sure I'll get the balance right in time.

Clockwise from bottom left in black/red containers:

Rye crackers and a plum

Apple and blackberry cake loosely based on a recipe from Vegan with a Vengance. Blackberries and apples foraged locally.

Cucumber and home grown salad leaves - I'm always thrilled when I find a cucumber that hasn't be suffocated in plastic wrap. This one was from my local Co-op.

Cashew cheese - this stuff is awesome. The recipe and variations can be found over at the always inspiring Lunch Box Bunch.

The tub on the side contains a mix of spaghetti, quinoa, peas, runner beans, home made vegan mayo and chillies.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Things I Love Thursday

Early nights – I feel so much better when I get to bed before 10pm. It doesn’t need to be much before (a couple of minutes will do). It’s not just how much sleep you need it’s when you get it.

Fruit – I’m mad about fresh fruits of all kinds at present. I guess it does help that it’s the middle of August and not January or I’d be overdosing on apples and pears.

Getting on with it – I made three phone calls today that I’ve been putting off for months and just like that I could cross them off my job list. I need to remember this feeling and stop putting things off.

Other stuff – driving to new locations, working by an open window in the twilight, lunches in the park, huge courgettes, lego pirate ships, late night post band practice curries, plans for lots of burlesque related activities in the autumn, Percy Pig going vegetarian (if not vegan…)

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

What's in my lunchbox this week?

clockwise from top right:

Fresh pineapple - I got two massively reduced ones so one got chopped for consumption, the other chopped for the freezer

Kiwi fruit and blueberries - I know it's the middle of the British soft fruit season but I've been craving Kiwi fruit for days and finally I give in. They are delicious!

Rice and chickpeas - Iwas cooking up a load of chickpeas for the freezer so I kept a cup back to throw in with some rice.

Courgettes in herbed breadcrumbs - I'm ace at growing courgettes and have enjoyed them in a variety of ways - stuffed, raw and grated, fried in tomato sauce. This is an adaptation from Vegan with a Vengance and it's very good. It reheats well in the microwave and goes well on toast too!

Monday, 1 August 2011

What I've been reading

I Love The 80s – Megan Crane
I picked this up because I wanted something lightweight. Plus I thought it would be fun to cringe at all the references to 80s style. What I had failed to take into account is that this is a book where the plot hinges on time travel. Therefore it’s science fiction. So just a few pages in I found that I was enjoying this far more than I expected and for different reasons. Ok the plot line isn’t great but there is an element of whodunit that had me trying to work out who, when, where and why. Surprisingly gripping while being a cross between Back-to-the-future and Sweet Valley High.

Worth Dying For – Lee Child
I like Lee child books. I find Jack Reacher fascinating. However I find there are two sorts of stories in the series. The first type is those with a strong human element. Reacher will often be solving some kind of puzzle in these and we’ll learn more about him and his life. They tend to finish up with 20 pages of serious violence but the journey there makes up for it. Then there’s the second type which seem to be essentially action thrillers recounting in detail weapons, battle and attack plans. I find that I scan read passages describing this kind thing in same way that I do Hardy’s descriptions of the countryside. Still it filled an hour or two and there was a tiny glimpse of that human part of Reacher at the end that was worth waiting for.

Wrong About Japan – Peter Carey
I’m interested in Japan and read a review of this slim volume some years back. However whatever the review said it clearly didn’t inspire me enough to want to go and find a copy. I grabbed this off a shelf in the library as I was passing (the bright cover helped it to stand out). It’s an interesting piece. Peter thinks he can encourage his shy son by encouraging his love of Japanese comics. The ultimate encouragement being a trip to Japan. It seems thought that Peter has his own reasons fro returning to Japan in that eh wants to find the ‘real Japan’. Of course, the book isn’t anywhere near big enough to even scratch the surface of Japanese culture and that I think is the point the Carey is trying to make. It doesn’t just apply to Japan either. We can’t expect to understand a culture that we are not part of. What we do instead is take aspects and use for our own purposes and to reflect our own culture.