Monday, October 18, 2010

#Unprocessed October Sisters in the kitchen!

Living with my sister has been a blast!  (Besides the fact that I miss my kitties and dog so so much).  My sister is an incredible woman and also a great support system!

I heard about the Unprocessed October challenge through twitter (where I actually get a lot of useful would be surprised how useful twitter can be when you follow the correct people!).  The challenge, as set forth by Andrew Wilder, is to take the month of October and cut processed foods out of your diet.  When I came across this challenge I thought it would be incredibly easy, as I already eat a lot of food from the farmer's market...and I am vegan, so how bad could my processed intake be?!

The answer...pretty darn bad!  I'm not sure I realized how heavily I rely on processed soy product until I started this challenge and realized that soy protein, TVP, and soymilk with additives are all main components of my vegan diet.  I started taking a long hard look at all of the unpronouncables on my organic "all natural" products and started to get creative in the kitchen...oh, and drink my coffee black (for now).
 The other night we made an entire FEAST from all of the different veggies we collectively picked up at Farmer's Markets.  We made spicy stuffed peppers with quinoa, beans, cilantro, tomatoes, garlic and onion. 
Zucchini Bread and Pumpkin Bread

Corn on the cob and fresh green beans.  We also made collards with dates.  We were on a serious roll!  It is nice to make a lot of food at once because it saves gas money (or electric money of you have an electric range), and you can pack your lunches for a few days to come. 

It's so nice having my sister take on this challenge with me!

Pumpkin Sightseeing

What is better on a fall day than to spend time outdoors and take in the beautiful sights of a bright orange pumpkin patch?  Well, nowadays it is not really the patch that you get to scurry around in...but the farmers do a nice job of setting all the pumpkins up together to give you that harvesting-it-yourself feel.

Chris and I met at Jone's Family Farm in CT to check out the pumpkin patch.  My sister and her hubby and I had already picked up pumpkins from various farmers market.  Myself in Rye, and my sister and her husband in Amish Country (aka our hometown) on their way down to their cabin.  This trip to Jone's Farm was really just about meeting up and being outside and taking in the sites.
 Some of the berry patches (We wandered off from the pumpkin patch)!
 This little guy is so freakin' cute eating the pumpkin.  I love love love little pigs!
Chris checking out the pumpkins
The view, including the trees they grow for Christmas holiday.

Jone's Family Farm was really nice.  I especially like the Farmer's message on the phone hot-line.  The area around there is very beautiful, and the drive from Rye during the fall season was really breathtaking.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

How to Begin...

I have been avoiding this blog and avoiding posting since my last post because so many millions of things have changed since I started this blog.  A lot of things remain very much the same, especially in my mentality and ideas of why I started blogging...BUT the structure of the blog will be a little tricky.

Things that are way different:

1.  I moved.  I now live in NY.  Actually, I am staying with my wonderful sister and her husband until I find a place of my own in NYC...for now I am in Westchester.

2.  My cats are staying with someone down the road from me, and my dog is in Pennsylvania with my mom.

3. My garden and plants were completely torn apart.  Some of my plants came to NY and went into my classroom.  Some came to my sisters house or went to her cabin in Maryland...not all survived the trip.  Some stayed in Rhode Island.  My garden is completely gone from my life right now.

What has remained the same: I still want the same things out of life, and I want to rebuild my growing capacity and have my animals around me again...but none of that will happen right away.

New things:  Right now I am participating in Unprocessed October.  A challenge set forth by a food blogger Andrew Wilder.

I really had no idea how much processed foods I was eating until I took the pledge to cut it out for the month.  I am not going to lie: It has been interesting and even a little more challenging than I had anticipated...but it has opened my eyes up to my own eating habits in a very real way.  I have been tweeting my meals...and my sister and her husband have joined in on the challenge.  They are incredibly supportive and amazing people.  I am lucky to be around them.

Lastly...while I was looking for apartments, I got jumped.  I have been recovering for a few days now as my head is still killing me from being hit...I had to miss a day and a half of teaching, which in itself was really hard on me.  I look forward now to finding a tiny shoebox of an apartment in a safe area...and not letting the idea of a HUGE community garden next door to the apartment overshadow the frequent shootings in the neighborhood.  I am not kidding.

Here is my sister's wonderful cat Zappa.  He is such an awesome personable and he plays catch!  He is also a great cuddler...but I still miss my farm.