“Cream” of Broccoli Soup (Vegan)

The day started with a shared bagel and leftover veggie smoothie. Computer time then fitness time, followed by veggie tacos. The rest is a pleasant blur.

For dinner? Soup!

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 leeks, the white parts, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 qt. vegetable broth
  • 2 heads of broccoli, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 tbs. Italian herbs (thyme, oregano, etc.)

Directions

  1. Cut up the leeks and saute them on medium heat in a large skillet or pot. Use a bit of water or veggie broth to keep them from sticking to the pan.  Cook ’em for 10 minutes. Add herbs and cook for 1 extra minute.
  2. Add the chopped broccoli, broth. Bring to boil then reduce to medium heat. Cover and cook for 10 minutes until broccoli is tender.
  3. Blend it.
  4. Add pepper and salt to taste.

Serve with toasted, buttered bread because that’s the best.


Tonight’s about catching up on the blog.

Playing Nurse

I headed to Brooklyn on a sticker mission for work.

You came home early with lymph-nodes exploding.

I made vegetable broth, and nursing maneuvers.

Pleasure reading, letting you sleep, and easing into the Thanksgiving break.

Get-Well Veggie Broth

Water brought to a boil. All the leftover veggies in your fridge and on your bar top: 1 whole (medium) onion, mushroom stems and (3) mushroom caps, carrots, celery greens, herbs (nothing spicy for the sick boy). A dab of butter. Dash of salt? What else?

Bring to boil, then let simmer for 60-90 minutes.

The Joy of Cooking says you can put your whole onion in the broth without peeling or cutting it. This adds to the broth color (allegedly).

Broth seemed to the satisfaction of the sick boy, and after a long sleep, he seemed better.

Just Another…

Happy day.

We slept in, exercised together on the John T. Brush stairway, did laundry, grocery shopped and got to hangout with David’s sisters. We played Settlers of Catan and ate…

French Onion Soup

You’ve gotta have:

  • (like 4 medium-large) onions
  • (like 32 oz or 3 and 1/2 cup) broth
  • (2 tbs) butter
  • (2 tbs) white wine or sherry
  • (2 tbs) oil
  • stale (french) bread
  • cheese you like
  • herbs (thyme, or Italian)

And:

  • a nice pot
  • some kind of oven
  • stirring spoon
  • knife
  • cutting board

Then you gotta:

  1. Chop the onions nice and thin. Cut ’em the right way: off with the ends, right down the middle, peel the outside side, then lay halves on flat side and cut thin.
  2. Heat the butter and olive oil on the stove.
  3. Add the onions (with a generous dash of herbs).
  4. Let the onions brown for 20 minutes on medium-high heat. Stir them regularly.
  5. Turn to low heat and cover for 40 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  6. Add the wine. Then “let it cook off”. You can turn the heat up.
  7. Add the broth, stir and return to a boil. Stir frequently.
  8. Turn heat to low and let simmer partially covered for 20 more minutes. You can stir it every now.
  9. While the soup is simmering, cut the stale bread and top with cheese you like. You can toast these if you like (but the soup will melt the cheese nicely if you don’t, so no worries). These are your “croutons”.
  10. Put the croutons in serving bowls and ladle the soup into the bowl, covering the bread and melting the cheese.
  11. Don’t burn your tongue. Eat. Enjoy.

Post-meal reflections:

  • Not as good with veggie broth as with beef broth?
  • Brown the onions more. Would make them sweeter?

Dog Food & Finances

Chloe is a 14-year-old bichon poodle mix. Mom has taken to homemaking Chloe’s food in order to help her skin irritations. Mom’s friend recommended the recipe.

My day started with chicken liver retrieval duty. I also picked up peanut butter and honeycrisp apples.

The Recipe:

Ingredients: chicken livers, oil, frozen veggies (peas, carrots, e.g.), instant (brown) rice, water.

Mom heats the oil and dumps in two containers of chicken livers. (Some grocery stores carry them, some do not.) Once in the pot, she cuts the chicken liver into smaller pieces.

At this point, Chloe begins to dance around her in the kitchen.

When the meat is cooked, Mom adds 1 cup of instant rice and 2 cups of water.

When that is cooked (it doesn’t take long), she adds a pleasant ratio of frozen veggies.

Scoop a serving, let it cool, sprinkle with angle eyes medicine, promptly serve to pooch.

Mom stored half of the remaining batch in the fridge, half in the freezer.


Husbometer looks good. David and I continue to touch base by phone.

Husbometer_Oct24

Other highlights of the day included a run, reuniting with our friend Kris and neighbor Ellie, catching up on my budgeting (finally!), and visiting with my brother Zack and his foster dog. Doing minor tasks to keep tabs on EveryLibrary work-life.

Mom did the stairs for the first time today post-surgery!

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I spy a loyal companion who hasn’t left her mama’s side.

Sauce

Homemade tomato sauce and Barilla veggie noodles is a staple for us. The homemade tomato sauce has been a go-to recipe for David in my time knowing him. Every grocery list seems to include canned whole tomatoes. He especially loves the Muir Glen brand.

How is it made? It’s pretty simple. That’s probably one of the reasons we go back to it so often. (That and we always have the ingredients).

Ingredients: 1 package mushrooms, 5-6 onions, (4) 28-ounce cans of whole tomatoes*, oil, salt and pepper.

*Feel free to use fresh tomatoes. If you do this, we have a friend who recommends roasting the sauce in the oven to bring out the flavor.

Tools: pot(s), stirring spoon, cutting board, knife

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Cut the onions. Put them in oil, on heat.
  3. Cut the mushrooms. Add them to the onions.
  4. Open tomato cans. Add contents to separate pot. Squish whole tomatoes with your hands.
  5. Add tomatoes to onion and mushroom pot. Add salt and pepper. Mix.
  6. Let everything cook. Get your noodles cooking in the tomato squishing pot if you want to eat this as a meal tonight. The sauce should cook until it’s no longer watery. Taste it to tell if it’s done.

I’m updating the website to give the blog a more permanent role beyond the first 100 days (of marriage), and also to revive its primary purpose as my professional/personal corner of the web.

In the transition, I pulled some of the About page text from the about page. I am copy+pasting it here to restore its place in public:

How we met

David and I met in the aisle of the University of Connecticut’s Jorgensen Theatre on October 9, 2014,  after a lecture featuring eminent philosopher, Peter Singer.

David got his selfie with Peter Singer and ran out of the Jorgensen in time to find me unlocking my bike.

The first date? Lakeside in Coventry after my rowing practice. David brought risotto with homegrown garden veggies, and his canine companion, Russell.

Fast-forward four years.

We mastered the middle-distance relationship, survived an election season, and built an enduring friendship. Join us in this new adventure, and all the side-adventures along the way.

I love you, master of sauce.

Exchanging vows.
Exchanging vows in Vergennes, VT. David and I pictured with our officiant, Zarina Suarez O’Hagin. (September 15, 2018). Photo Credit: Sourinho Photography.
Summer Squash n' Scalloped Potato Casserole

Summer Squash n’ Scalloped Potato Casserole

The summer squash n’ scalloped potato casserole is the love child of Robin’s Summer Squash Casserole and the Scalloped Potato recipe from Forks Over Knives by Del Sroufe.

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Vegan cookbook.
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Scalloped potato recipe from Forks Over Knives.
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Summer squash casserole recipe ingredients according to family friend, Robin.
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Robin’s summer squash casserole recipe process.

Ingredients

  • butter (I used salted)
  • whatever kind of milk you have (in this case, coconut/almond)
  • approx. 6 (yukon) potatoes that need to get eaten (peeled and sliced thin)
  • 2 medium onions (cut into rings)
  • paprika
  • salt
  • peppercorns = freshly ground pepper, cause that’s how we roll
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 sleeve ritz crackers
  • cheese (I went for aged cheddar) (sliced)
  • 1-2 summer squash

Supplies

  • cutting board
  • sharp knife
  • mortar and pestle (had to look that up for spelling; if you don’t have one, a bowl and some determination will do just fine)
  • colander
  • nice, big, clean baking dish

Hints

  • Don’t heat up your oven too soon, you dummy. Or you’ll be in unnecessary sweltering heat. Eventually you will set it to 350 degrees. That’s step number 7… lucky.

Instructions

Accessed your recipe and gathered most of your ingredients? Woo-wee. First step is done. Here are the rest:

  1. Peel those potatoes. Cut out any of the unsavory bits. Think about watching a YouTube video on how to cut potatoes real speedy.
  2. Cut yer onions. Make ’em into rings. Stick them in a large skillet, turn on the heat to medium or so, and add a tablespoon or two of water to keep them from sticking to the pan. Keep ’em cooking for about 10 minutes, stirring every now and again. Add a dash of water as needed.
  3. Parboil your potato slices. That is, boil up some water. Add salt to the water. Add potatoes to that boiling water. Keep them in there for about 3 minutes and then drain into a bowl. You’re going to reuse your boiled water for steaming squash!
  4. Set down a nice, hot layer of parboiled potato slices in your cooking dish.
  5. Quick! Cut your cheese if it’s not already shredded. Already shredded? Skip to the next step. Cheese not shredded? Too lazy to shred? Slices are fine. I went with cheddar, but you can do whatever kind of cheese you want. You can even substitute a vegan cheese concoction (from Forks Over Knives: blend 1 onion, 1 red pepper, 1 cup nutritional yeast, salt to taste, optional 1 tbs tahini / 3 tbsp cashews).
  6. Cheese ready to go? Layer it on top of those potatoes.
  7. Time to crank up the oven. Set it to 350 degrees.
  8. How’re your onions doing? 10 minutes up? Layer some of those onions on top of the potato layer in your baking dish.
  9. Add a layer of paprika, salt. Crush peppercorns with mortar and pestle, or whatever. Add that.
  10. Repeat the layering process: potatoes, cheese, onions, spices.
  11. Ope. Shoulda cut your squash already. That’s okay. The cutting board was busy. Nice thin slices. Set your collander over the boiling water that you saved from parboiling. Put the squash in there and let them steam until they’re cooked, like, “halfway through”.
  12. Crush ritz crackers with mortar and pestle. Melt 3-4 tablespoons of butter. Mix that into the cracker topping. Set aside.
  13. Ok, now we need: 4 tablespoons melted butter, 1 cup milk, 3 eggs. Mix it all together. You can do this in a liquid measuring cup. We’ll call this the magic mixture.
  14. Are your squash slices done? Layer ’em in the main baking dish. More cheese! Pour over the magic mixture.
  15. Add the ritz cracker topping in a nice layer.
  16. Now in the oven she goes! Bake 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven (…I always burn myself here). Serve, let cool somewhat, enjoy.

Estimated total time: 2 hours

Number of people it can probably feed: 8 souls / servings

Hubby review, takeaways:

  • Also incorporate third recipe partner, The Joy of Cooking.
  • More butter? Something about a rue? Cream?
  • Ate all that I gave him.

Other thoughts:

  • Try sprinkling skillet-cooked veggie bacon on top.
  • Play some classical music while you cook.
Elephants being loving

Photos and Risotto

9.24.2018 10:47 PM
New York City apartment
[I don’t think the default metadata is working on the blog.]

I’m having more fun with photos tonight than writing. I’ve been digging into the archives. I went looking for photos of Zach.

It’s been an emotional day. Looking back over the whole thing, I have a very clear realization:

Waking up next to David is the best.

I hope I still get feelings like that – moments of appreciation – when we’ve made it deep into the future.

Today had me thinking about deep into the future. Nothing is guaranteed.

On my commute to work (-it was good to be back-), Kristin messaged me. I learned about the sudden death of a friend and former coworker from UConn Outdoors, Zach. Last week he’s congratulating me on my wedding, this week he’s gone.


I also found this photo of my grandparents. I lost my grandma this month last year, and my grandpa in the following spring.

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Grief is a strange thing. Grief. Is that the right word to describe it?

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On a different note, David got extra communication points on the husbometer today. He came to me about messaging with his former long term girlfriend.

That conversation was preceded by a team-cooked dinner, David cleaning the kitchen, and a boosterino from the internet guy (ethernet speeds now up to 430mbps). We gave the Spectrum guy a beer and a small batch of risotto.

David says there’s two schools of thought when it comes to making risotto:

There’s the people who believe you need to babysit it the whole time, like 45 minutes stirring it. OR – you “just put everything in like rice pilaf”.

(He says there’s two schools of thought, and he’s in the latter… but really, we spent 45 minutes babysitting the risotto.)

Here’s the lazy man’s version of the family recipe:

  1. Pre-slice your vegetables. Because you’re smarter than the cook that wrote this.
  2. Brown the uncooked risotto rice in butter. For a medium-normal sized pan, that’s like 2 tbsp of butter. Take your time with those grains. Low heat and lots of love is where it’s at (where “lots of love” means attentive, well-paced stirring – with intervals of rest for browning).
  3. Is it scrumptiously golden? Ay? Good work. Now it’s time to add your (WARM-ROOM TEMP) white wine ration. We did about half a water bottle’s worth.
  4. Now let that wine evaporate and get some vegetables cooking in another pan. You’ll add those to the finished risotto later. Bonus points if the veggies are from your garden, or your family’s garden. (We gave our veggies a little water to prevent from sticking, and then later added a little oil. Not sure what this method of cooking is called.) Take care of it until the risotto is done.
  5. Hungry yet? Too bad. Let that bad boy cook. Start adding (warm-room temp) broth to the risotto once the wine has evaporated. Keep doing this gradually as it evaporates off or gets absorbed. The rice will start to poof. You will be stirring and adding broth for a little while, so feel free to crank some jams and chill. How much broth will you add? I’m not entirely sure, but David seems to be of the disposition that there is never enough broth for the recipe. So best have a lot on hand. Like at least a carton’s worth.
  6. Eventually you will taste the risotto to see if it’s done. You won’t know what done tastes like, so you will ask your husband. He will ask you if it tastes crunchy and you will respond indecisively and use that as an excuse to try another bite. You will tell him “kinda”. And he will tell you it’s ready and try a bite for himself.

Voila! Ingredients: risotto rice, butter, (room temp) white wine, vegetables, (room temp) veggie broth. Random water and oil, also.


Post edited 9.25.2018 to exclude some parenthetical commentary of the scorched earth tone, paragraph 8.