Wednesday, January 03, 2007's been so long!

First of all, I hope you have had a wonderful holiday season. I was incredibly busy. It started Thanksgiving when I had to make an impromptu week long journey out West to see my mom and grandparents. I'm not complaining, but boy did I get sick during and after my trip! The week after that I had that party to cater for my dad's choir group. It went very well, I have to post about that (next post, promise!). I thank everyone for their recipe suggestions!

And then, well, that whole Christmas thing... Family, friends, work, shopping, cooking, seemed never ending. I made gifts for a lot of my coworkers and boy did that take time!

I should also mention that I began a concerted effort to workout at least 3-6 days a week. I joined the gym in my office building and go at least 3 times a week. I've been doing this since just before Thanksgiving and it has helped me to de-stress and fit in to my pants. Both are good things.

Sadly, I haven't had the time to do much blogging. Oh yes, I cooked, I baked, I even burnt weird little designs on my hands and fingers from knocking around in the oven and not realizing that my skin has touched a searing hot oven rack (or worse-the door) until after the damage has been done. Goodness, after all the blood, sweat and blisters, I feel I should have more to share!

Here are a few of the highlights of my hiatus:

Wilma :)

She is my mom's little Yorkie/Chihuahua mix. She was the family dog until I moved out! She's 7lbs of spunk and love. She is a little love that enjoys opening doors, stealing the eyes out of unsuspecting stuffed animals and sleeping in the crook of your knee. She lived for several months as a feral dog, the leader of a small pack of strays that lived in the woods for an unknown amount of time. You would never know it now...

Emily :)

Wilma's playmate. My mother and her husband decided that Wilma needed a canine pal a few years ago. Enter Emily, the toy poodle. Wilma and Emily get along, but are usually just competing for attention. Emily is a kiss monster.

Pumpkin Muffins from VwaV

Yikes. I made these for Thanksgiving breakfast. Everyone loved them. The word 'vegan' was not used, I just told them that there was no butter or egg. My memere loved them so much she wanted the recipe!

Road Shots (driving from Vegas to Lake Havasu, AZ)

Some of the shots are a little blurry, but please bear in mind that I am an amateur with a digital camera and I was taking pictures through the window of a moving car.

Some interesting bits around my grandparents house in AZ

Their prickly pear cactus is HUGE!

They have a little palm tree they planted in the backyard that is so incredibly cute...

And these pretty flowers. I have no idea what they are. I should have asked my memere!


My last meal in Vegas, made with Thanksgiving leftovers. Collard greens, chickpeas, butternut squash and my addictive cranberry sauce.

Quinoa with spinach, garlic and tomatoes topped with some tofu pan fried with nooch.

Pumpkin hummus (chickpeas, pumpkin & sesame oil) and broccoli for dipping. I think I got the idea for this off of a fellow blogger's site, but it escapes me. Props to you whoever you are!

M's second favorite dish, Soyboy tofu ravioli in marinara sauce. Thank goodness for simple pleasures!

I found these when I was at the conventional grocery looking for some cheapy baking supplies. They were on the expensive side, but it did mean not getting take out for dinner. In the grand scheme of things, they were really very good, though they were shaped much like fish sticks for those of you who might harbor painful memories of school lunches.

I made scrambled tofu & roasted potatoes more times than I could count. It's fabulous as a no brainer stand by.

Okay, Sammy was drinking at the time...I couldn't help it, I so rarely get him still while he's conscious!

So that was a nice journey down memory lane...

Now, let's get up to speed.

My New Year's resolution was to go macrobiotic. I don't know for how long, perhaps only a few weeks or months, perhaps forever. I have issues with energy and health that just haven't been resolving themselves and my doctor really hasn't been a help. Exercise has helped immensely, but I need something else. I have the luxury of having a macro buffet place close to home and work, so I knew that the food could be delightful. I had a day of decadence on December 31st which included red wine, peach bellinis, French Cambodian food, champagne, chocolates, and Banana Split Brownies from VwaV.

Starting January 1st, I started eating like this:

(blurry shot of lentil stew with quinoa, boiled collard greens, kinpura carrots and parsnips, and cabbage pickle)

Butternut squash soup garnished with toasted nori

Scrambled tofu (macro style), quinoa & boiled broccoli

Miso soup with tofu, wakame, daikon, shiitake & red miso

Pressure cooked cauliflower and millet

So far, so good! I like the food, but it is a little more work than I am used to. If anyone out there has any tips or experience in this realm, please--enlighten me!


Anonymous said...

First, I have to say above all else, I love your grandparent's pink house. It is just the most adorable little thing. Your food pics look terrific. I don't know much about macrobiotics but I'm interested in hearing how things work out for you. Kati might be a good resource. She is here:

Too Fond of Books said...

Sammy is such a cutie and I know what you mean about greyhounds being still and conscious at the same time. Vinnie is either going, going, going, or sleeping, sleeping, sleeping.

I've thought about trying to add more microbiotic meals to my diet. I feel like I have been eating a lot of junk and too much of it. I don't think I could do it full time because C is such a picky eater, but I'm interested in picking up a cookbook and trying to incorporate more macrobiotic meals into our lives. Any suggestions for good cookbooks?

Ruthie said...

Nikki -

Good to know you're still doing well! I was starting to worry about your Dad's party. :)

Your poocher is such an angel face!

Your food looks absolutely delicious. And your pictures of the West are just beautiful!

Good luck with macrobiotics, I hope it works for you. I think we all have to find out for ourselves what we each need to live happy, healthy lives. Please keep us notified on your results. :)


Anonymous said...

I was thinking the same thing as VV - I love the pink house!

I'm not familiar with macroboiotics either so it'll be interesting to see what you do.

Nikki said...

VV and Midwest-My grandparents just painted it that color last year! It used to be beige, like every other house on the street and they were so sick of it. My grandmother decided that was the color she wanted and my grandfather liked it too!

Sadly, I don't know all that much about macrobiotics either. I've read a couple of books and essentially I've learned that it's a diet based on whole grains, seasonal local produce as much as possible, and balance (yin/yang, acid/alkaline). There's a long laundry list of restricted foods, and I tear up about the loss of some of them like asparagus, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, potatoes, zucchini and bananas. In addition, there is lots of stress on fresh foods and no weird methods of preservation or cooking (no frozen or microwaved foods). I got a small soup thermos thing, but it does not keep anything warm, so I end up with cold lunches. I'm a little soured on the whole thing, but I am going to try to stick with it for at least a month. If nothing else, it is a good detox.

Kati @ The Veggie Voice actually suggested a book to read that I couldn't find at the book store, but I am going to take a glance at it when I see it. It's called 'The Hip Chick's Guide to Macrobiotics'.

Ruthie-He is an angel face! :) This is how he gets so many treats. Oh, and have I mentioned that he now has 3 beds? Spoiled little sweetie.

Books-Isn't it wonderful to be a greyhound mommy? It's certainly never boring. :) As for cookbooks, I only own two macro books and neither book has many recipes that are anything to write home about. I do know that Christina Pirello (Christina Cooks) has a bunch of macro recipes on her site, though she does use some of the forbidden foods, which if you aren't strict really don't matter. She also has a couple of cookbooks out and stresses whole foods cooking. The site is Good luck!

wheresmymind said...

Awww...that little black toy poodle looks a lot like Steph's family's dog Zoe...too cute!

bazu said...

It's good to have you back, Nikki! Happy new year.
Awww, I'm a sucker for all the dog pictures. Wilma sure doesn't look like a former feral dog. She's adorable!
And your food pics are inpiring. I have so many cans of pumpkin, that hummus is going to get made, and soon. And your post new year's food looks eerily familiar especially one plate. I had a dinner than involved lentils, greens, and carrots just last night!
Do keep us posted on the macrobiotic foods and your progress, and good luck!

Melody said...

I love all the pics, but the last if my favorite.. there is just something about Greyhounds... so magestic and peaceful creatures...

Your macro food looks great!

Kati said...

Wow, first of all, I'm really excited to hear about your journey with macrobiotics! I think you've made more macro things than I have - I made that one big meal and then got lazy (REALLY lazy). I have been eating more brown rice and trying to eat less tropical fruit, etc, but it isn't easy. Maybe you will inspire me to do a little better.

I also really enjoyed your pictures of Vegas and AZ - J and I took a road trip out there last December and have a lot of really similar pictures to the ones you took on the road. Fun!

Anonymous said...

Nikki !! You're back ! :))

I hope that you are well rested after all of that ! And I'm worried about your hands ... You didn't feel the burning ? The way I understand what you wrote is that you noticed you were burned by seeing it, not feeling it...

Did you have tourtiere ? :p I thought of you when I was making mine.

Kisses to the pups :)

madeinalaska said...

Happy new year..
we have had almost the exact same time off from blogging..I too came back to it today.. but, my post is much less exiting as yours.
nice photos.. good luck w/ the whole microbiotic thing.. I feel so un-educated about it all.
take care,

aTxVegn said...

Glad you're back, Nikki, and happy new year! All your food pics look just super and I'm looking forward to your pictures from the catering event.

Good luck with the macro diet. It seems a little boring, but I always feel great after a macro meal.

- Diann

Urban Vegan said...

Welcome back, chiquita. Missed you!

Here's to pink houses, jeans that fit, fab furry freinds, and oodles of good vegan grub.

Happy New Year!

Candi said...

Hey Nikki! :)

Congrats on learning more about macrobiotics! That's not an area I am familiar with, but I am curious and the macro foods you made look very good!!!!

Cognrats on the gym visits too! You must feel great already from that!

Cuuute pooches!!!!

Celine said...

all the food you make looks so incredible!!! and don't get me started on the pups either. :]

Pixie said...

Thanks for introducing me to your blog. That miso soup made me drool, yummmm....Ooooh, that cactus plant at your grandparents' is totally edible. We call them nopales. Next time, take some home with you. It's so good. Well, it sounds like you had some busy months. And now you must rest.

Kati said...

Nikki, in response to what you said on my blog: you really need to get your hands on a copy of The Hip Chick's Guide to Macrobiotics. I know I recommended it before, but it's really helpful because it is geared towards women (unlike the books by Kushi, etc). The author says that the traditional 50% grain diet may not be suitable for women, who often need more yin foods. Try reversing the proportions of vegetables and grains (50 veg, 25 grain). Ultimately, I think you can work within the parameters of macrobiotics to find what works for you, whether it's the traditional way or not.

Then again, any change in diet like this one can leave you feeling a bit off for awhile. I wish you luck! Oh yeah, and way to go with the exercise! Once again, you are my inspiration - I don't exercise nearly as much as I'd like.

Carrie™ said...

So sorry you were feeling ill during the holidays. That really sucks. I'm also curious about the macrobiotic diet. Does it take a lot of planning and preparation? I somehow think it would. I don't know anyone that has ever tried it, so it will be interesting to follow your journey.
I also like your grandparents pink house, the dogs (especially that cutie-pie, Emily) and all of your delicious looking meals.
Happy New Year!

primaryconsumer said...

Hey girlie! I'm back in the blogging world as well!

I loved all your photos (food, traveling, and furry friends), and you're macrobiotic food looked really, really yummy! I'm interested in macrobiotics too (not to eat all of the time, but maybe a couple of times a week).

Cheers, and Happy New Year!

laura jesser said...

Wow, what a huge post! I'm especially loving the shots from the road trip... I can't believe how beautiful it is out there. I would love to make it out there some day.

All your food looks fabulous! And congrats on joining the gym--I could use a little more working out myself.

Dori said...

Glad to see you back, obviously like alot of others before me. Macrobiotics.... I've talked to a gal who believed in this type of diet and really lived it. I'll be interested in learning more about it on your blog.

Congrats on joining the gym too, I'll be going to our new wellness center in town soon.

Vicki said...

hi nikki! way to go getting us up to speed! :o) i really want to get my hands on some of those falafel sticks! and the best leamonade i've ever had was sweetened with prickly pear cactus & it was the prettiest shade of pink & high in anitoxidants. do your grandparents eat/drink the cactus?

Anonymous said...

Wonderfull post, i love the pictures. im happy to know that oyu are ok!

Emmy said...

Hi Nikki, I hope you're feeling better. Glad to hear the party for your dad's choir group went well. I look forward to your post about it. Wilma and Emily are just so cute!!!!
The pumpkin muffins look yummy. I made some this past fall when I had access to fresh pumpkin. What great shots from your vacation. Looks like you got to see some really neat scenery.

Good luck with your new year's resolution to go macrobiotic :) Your macro food looks really good.

Celine said...

re: your comment on my blog about fig not-ins: hooray for big snacks!!! :D:D:D

Mikaela said...

Woah. What an update! Congratulations and good luck with your life changes :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Nikki,

Greetings from the Canary Islands and congratulations on 1/ your incoming wedding and 2/ such a lovely blog/pics/pooches!

Any chance you can give me the recipe for the pumpkin muffins?
I would love to cook them myself!

Cheers :-)