• Personally speaking….

    Just the thoughts and cookings of a software engineer that likes to make foodstuffs from time to time in the bay area of California.
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3 ways to keep a resolution

Piles of Cookbooks
Taken in November. Image missing a few cookbooks I later found on another bookshelf.

Happy New Year! Ready for all the “Make a resolution?” questions? Oh, folks started asking you about it a week ago? Then I’m slacking!

1. Keep it simple. The list should be short and sweet. Focus on just a few things you wish to change for the year. Once you have your list, then go through each goal and make it specific and measurable.

2. Reward yourself. When you make the list of goals and break them into steps, include rewards for various milestones. Some that have resolved to quit smoking have put the money they would spend on cigarettes into a jar. At the end of a set amount of time not lighting up, they get to spend the money on something fun.

3. Share. Those that have a good support system, on average, do better than those without. Whether it’s a support group or family and friends, sharing with others will help you get and stay on track.

What’s my resolution? Not sure. It has to be simple. It really has to be simple. Next semester is going to be hectic. Next year has the potential of being a roller coaster ride. Besides, I usually do big changes other than at the beginning of the year (vegetarianism).

I know what I want to do — other than graduate in May — but think it’d be a little too crazy a goal with the crazy months incoming. We’ll save that one for after May or 2010. But, I do have a simple (#1), rewardable (#2), shareable (#3) goal I can do. Yes, the picture is a clue.

2009 Goal:

I resolve to not buy any new cookbooks in 2009. I will cook a new recipe from one of the cookbooks in my collection at least once a month and post it here. Inspirational hat-tip goes to 101 cookbooks. Each new recipe I cook and post from a cookbook in my collection, I will set aside $5. At the end of the year, I will use that money to — no, not buy a new cookbook. At the end of the year, I will use that money to buy camera equipment. (I have my eye on a lens that is less than $100. That’s only 20 recipes!) My support system will be you and the poor guinea pigs — no, the lucky few that get to come along for the gastronomic ride.

Some of the gotchas will be that I have quite a few meat-centric cookbooks, don’t like certain foods (like bell pepper), and will have close to no time from January to May. Some of the helpers will be that I’ve been trying new recipes (for Urban Vegan’s upcoming cookbook which I want to buy) so have experience, have some winner cookbooks in my collection (Veganomicon, for example), and love using food as a way to practice photography.

Bring it on, 2009! Bring it on.

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Basil-flax dressing on salad

I am fortunate enough to be a recipe tester for The Urban Vegan’s cookbook “The Urban Vegan: 250 Street-Smart, Animal-Free Recipes.” This is very fun! (And, very tasty.)

Basil-flax salad dressing
Basil-flax dressing

Delicious and easy to make. The health benefits are an added bonus!

Basil-flax salad dressing on salad
Clinging nicely to a simple salad

The first step is admitting you have a problem….

I have goals. I had a mini-goal this weekend to make some progress on the hobby room. While organizing, I was reminded of Vegetarian Archivist’s flickr stream and paused to take a picture of my books piled together.

Piles of Cookbooks

While gathering them up into piles, I noticed two special ones. One, I’ve had since a very young child.

Special Dishes for Special Days

I guess I made a lot of deviled eggs or something.

Special Dishes for Special Days

The other was from my grandmother after I admired hers often. It’s the one I used the most.

Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook

I miss you, Grandma.

I used it so often that sections are coming off the spine.

Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook

Now. Do I keep all these cookbooks are whittle it down? And, if I whittle it down, how much is reasonable? Most of the time when I’m looking for something to cook, I look online. Even with cookbooks I specifically want to cook from, I look online to see if anyone has a favorite recipe from it!

[edit:] Oops, missed one! Vegan with a Vengeance. πŸ™‚

Review: Eat, Shrink & Be Merry! (with Recipe)

I recently grabbed a copy of Eat, Shrink & Be Merry, cookbook by Janet & Greta Podleski with cartoons by Ted Martin. Yes, cartoons. Not only are the cartoons great, but there are “funky factoids,” “cooking tips,” and puns — lots and lots of puns. This is one of the only cookbooks that I’ve read.

When I was looking for a recipe to cook, though, I skipped the cutesy titles and read the subtitle which was more descriptive of what the dish is. For example, “Livin’ on the Vedge” is subtitled with “Roasted vegetables with lemon couscous.”

There are many illustrations, but mostly cartoons and not photos of the food. The photographs of food are a few pages throughout the book. It’s not gathered up in the middle like some books. The photograph goes with the recipe which is nice, in a way. Sometimes I just like to “shop” for a recipe by looking at the pictures. What? Yeah, I’m a visual creature. Each recipe has nutritional information (calories, fat, saturated fat, protein, carbohydrate, fiber, cholesterol, and sodium) which is great for those following a point or other numerical system.

I checked for vegetarian dishes. And I don’t mean boring sides either. I mean main dishes that don’t just have lettuce as the major ingredient. Interestingly, there’s a section called “Don’t Have a Cow, Man!” that is full of meatless entrees. Nice! (And Greta recently did a “vedge” week.

The authors have a home at http://www.eatshrinkandbemerry.com and there are even videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/GranetPub.

Here’s the gem I settled on cooking:

Curried Cauliflower Soup
Melancauli Baby
(Available on their website in PDF form so you can see the whole page.)
Curried cauliflower soup with Swiss cheese and wild rice

1 tablespoon Butter or olive oil (I used olive oil)
4 cups Chicken or vegetable broth (I used vegetable broth)
2 cups Leeks thinly sliced (about 2 large)
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoon Garlic minced (I used more, of course)
1/4 teaspoon Black pepper freshly ground
4 cups Cauliflower small florets
1 cup Brown and wild rice blend cooked (I had frozen brown rice so used that)
1 1/2 cups Sweet potato peeled and cubed
1 cup Evaporated 2% milk
1 1/2 teaspoon Curry powder (My curry powder ran away so I made up something)
1/2 cup Swiss Cheese shredded and packed
1 teaspoon Ground cumin

Heat butter in a large, non-stick soup pot over medium heat. Add leeks and garlic. Cook and stir until leeks begin to soften, about 3 minutes.

Stir in cauliflower, sweet potato, curry, and cumin. Cook and stir for 1 more minute. Add broth, salt, and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

Transfer half the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Return pureed soup to pot with remaining soup and mix well. Stir in cooked rice, milk, and Swiss cheese. Heat soup for 1 more minute. Serve hot.

Note: I was halfway through and realized I didn’t have curry! So I made up a curry-like flavor with these guys:
Spices used

Lunch: Leftover sweet potatoes, green beans and grapes

Light? Perhaps. But I was full till 5 p.m. yesterday when I ate sweet potatoes so we’ll see today!

Better on the landfill touching, definitely.

Lunch

  • Sweet potatoes, mashed, in the green bean container. Didn’t overnuke this time! Was heavenly. Mmmm.
  • Grapes. The last of the grapes. Not organic. I wish. I know they should be. But at least they’re not going bad this time! I made a conscious effort to eat them before the fuzz took them.
  • Utensils and washcloth. The towel was too big so I brought my fork in a washcloth. Much better size. Smaller space in a laundry pile too.

Eating while glancing through Eat, Shrink and Be Merry which came in through Interlibrary Loan last night! Woo hoo!

Eat, Shrink and Be Merry!

I love me some Interlibrary Loan πŸ™‚ I can feed — groan — my cookbook addiction without paying for books or overloading my already overloaded bookcases.