Sunday Afternoon 1/31/2016

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It was a beautiful day for a swim meet!

We spent over six hours at the pool yesterday for the Kaua’i swim finals. Six hours. In the sun. We got to the pool at 8:00 a.m. and left at 2:30 p.m. I was thankfully under an umbrella most of the time, and wearing a LOT of sunscreen, so didn’t get burned, but it was still hot, hot, hot. The meet ended on a high note too: the girls’ team won the championship by 47 points! And now it’s on to track & field . . . .

Today is the final day of what has been a very good month, and a good start to my “one month at a time” plan for the year. I’m more than ready to get going on February. Continuing on with eating vegan is a no-brainer because I’ve enjoyed it this past month and I feel great. This month’s “goal” is to try at least three new vegan recipes, ones I think the whole family will enjoy. I’m also going to keep on with the daily bike riding as well, 15 minutes twice a day, but will give myself a little more resistance on the bike starting tomorrow, to kick things up a notch.

Otherwise, this afternoon I am:

  • Reading: I’m a little over half way through Dennis Lehane’s The Given Day and it’s a terrific book, a genuine page-turner. I’m already looking forward to the next two books of the series.
  • Listening to: There’s a gentle rain falling this morning, and Brett and the girls are reading, so it’s very, very quiet around here. I can still hear some birds singing, but that’s it. The rain is appreciated – we’ve had a very dry winter here.
  • Watching: We’re of course watching Downton Abbey and Mercy Street tonight. Brett and I have been watching Making A Murderer on Netflix. It’s been an extremely intriguing show and has given us lots to talk about, but I have felt from the start that the filmmakers have an agenda (because all documentaries have an agenda), and I’d like to know more about the case and Steven Avery beyond what’s been presented. I feel there’s more to the story than what’s being shared in the film, and having sat on a jury for a criminal case (thankfully not murder though) I’m interested in how the jury reached their decision. We’ll watch the last episode tonight and then need to find something new to watch.
  • Cooking/baking: I made sausage and eggs for the girls’ breakfast this morning, what they were supposed to have for dinner last night. I ended up making big chef’s salads for Brett and the girls yesterday because we made a big salad for the after-meet potluck, but no one brought plates or forks so there was no way for anyone to eat salad and we ended up bringing it home. We’re having spaghetti and meatballs (vegan for me) and more of the salad for dinner tonight; the girls will be making the meatballs later this afternoon.
  • Happy I accomplished last week: Brett and I got all the screens vacuumed and windows cleaned – compared to our last house this chore is a breeze here. I also got quite a bit more cleaned out of the freezer. One more week and we should be able to defrost it!
  • Looking forward to next week: I’m getting together with a friend on Thursday for coffee, and then on Friday Brett and I are having breakfast with faithful reader and friend Denise and her husband at the Kountry Kitchen followed by a hike along the coast. I can’t wait – we’ve been waiting a year for them to come back to Kaua’i!
  • Grateful for: I’m feeling very grateful these days for my exercise bike. The daily bike rides have been a great way for me to fit in exercise, and I enjoy being able to ride “outside,” both in the morning and the evening. I know that if I had tried to stick with the early morning walks I would have given up by now, but with the bike riding I can sleep in a little later, the 15 minute sessions are easy to fit in, and the exercise is low impact so no joint or other pain.Mercedes-Benz_230_SL,_Bj._1964_(2009-05-01)
  • Bonus question: If an anonymous stranger was going to buy you a car, what would you ask for? The Adventures of Travel Penguin asked this question today and it didn’t take me more than a moment to come up with an answer: a 1963 Mercedes 230 SL. I am not a “car person,” but I have always loved the sleek look of this particular car. Hopefully my anonymous benefactor will also make sure it’s white ;-). Second choice would be a Karman Ghia from the early 1970s. I loved the orange ones back then, but these days I would prefer either white or something in blue.

Hope you are all having a wonderful Sunday afternoon! How was your week?

Feel Good Friday

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The little black container on the right comes from Japan, and holds a mosquito coil while it burns.

Did all of this past week go perfectly? No way. But, looking back and reflecting on all the good things that happened, even if they weren’t very big or important, I can no longer remember the things that didn’t go right or as hoped. It was a very good week!

  • I got both my mammogram and annual blood draw done. To say I procrastinate about these things would be an understatement, so I’m happy they’ve been completed.
  • Brett and I bought two beautiful plants for our lanai at the farmers’ market, from one of our favorite vendors. The cost for both of them was less than one would have been at a nursery or Home Depot.
  • I’ve been able to stick to the menu plan I made without making changes. All leftovers have been eaten too.
  • I’ve done two 15-minute rides on the exercise bike every day, and vegan eating continues to be enjoyable.
  • We put $13.62 into the change/$1 bill jar this week.
  • We earned 200 more frequent flyer miles from Hawaiian Airlines through Foodland grocery store (200 miles earned for every $250 spent).
  • Only WenYu will swim in tomorrow’s final meet for the county, in the women’s 100m freestyle. YaYu said her prayers were answered when she was told she would not be swimming.
  • Brett got both our taxes and the girls’ FAFSAs done. We will be getting a tiny refund on our federal return this year, and owe nothing to Hawai’i (and no refund either because we have nothing withheld).
  • After being informed that the two nightgowns I ordered (on sale, from Garnet Hill) would take two to three weeks to arrive in Hawai’i, they arrived the next day, just two days after I placed the order. Amazing!

How has your week been? Hopefully many good things happened for you, both big and small!

Tattoo or Not to Tattoo?

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Traditionally, members of our household have always been of the “not to” persuasion. All of the standard reasons are cited often: stigma, risk of infection, aging—given that today’s cute butterfly might someday resemble a charging elephant on a sagging butt—or worse, everyone will know that you picked #37 from that sign in the window. Then, the other day, out of nowhere, a strange woman who otherwise resembled Laura in every way said, “The skin on your legs will probably never sag, so you could get a tattoo.” Doh, WHAT!?!

Ever since then I’ve been looking around, and pondering just what sort of tattoo I might like (perhaps the #41; also a prime), one that wouldn’t hurt as much as breaking a leg. What do I have to say to the world, in indelible ink?

I’ve thought a great deal about Hawaii, Mayans, calligraphy, symbols, and my own heritage. Since I am neither Hawaiian or Mayan, and despite the fact that I enjoy their art, it’s just not me. Calligraphy? People get tattoos of characters from the writing system of another culture all the time, and frequently a symbol that they believe means “peace” or “wisdom” or “heart,” actually means “gum wrapper” or “ugly monster” or “garbage” or something worse, like 痢 (diarrhea). I’ll be having none of that, thank you.

By the lunar calendar, I was born in the year of the tiger, as were my father, my grandfather, and one of my daughters…

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Tiger

…can you feel the burn? Nope, this is not for me either if only because it would just be too painful.

My heritage being 96% English, people of the forest and fields, I could have a tree inked on my leg, but wouldn’t that require something on the other leg, how about a plow? How about NOT.

Perhaps the Union Jack?

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Union Jack

OK, I’m in no particular hurry to get inked <synonym for hurt>, so while I may have decided I might want a tattoo, I have not decided what to tattoo. Again, no hurry.

Tuesday Miscellany

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Matcha mug cake

A few things too small for their own post:

  • Have any of you tried making a mug cake? Do you like them? I found a recipe for a matcha (green tea) mug cake, and it’s easy to make and good tasting (and vegan when I use soy milk). The consistency is a little weird though, so I’m wondering if it’s just this recipe or if they’re all like that. If you have a favorite mug cake recipe, I’d love to hear it!
  • Yesterday I got butterflies in my stomach for the first time over the upcoming Mystery Vacation™. I almost can’t believe it’s coming up in less than two months! Within two weeks of returning from that trip WenYu and I will be making our quick (and probably exhausting) trip to Colorado Springs to check out the college. Our Oahu trip is coming up in June, but yesterday we were reminded that if YaYu attends summer school the dates for that trip will have to change.
  • Meiling is back at work with the same company as she worked for in Portland, but with a new boss. He gave her nearly full-time hours, but with fewer responsibilities than she had at her old location, so she is happy. She says her schedule still gives her plenty of time for classes, homework and assignments. Although the business she works for is located on campus, the job is not school-related so she will continue full-time employment during the summer, and will just have to figure out where she is going to live after she has to move out of the dorm.
  • Both Meiling’s and WenYu’s FAFSAs were completed and submitted this past week – so glad we are done with those for now. The timing for the FAFSA submission is changing this year, and we will be submitting them again this fall for the 2017-2018 school year using our 2015 earnings once more. The move to a fall submission will be a big step toward helping families better figure out how much aid they will qualify for so they can make better decisions about college expenses and affordability.
  • Once again I am feeling very grateful that we stuck it out with the navy and earned those benefits. It was time to renew a prescription for WenYu that she uses to control her acne, and when Brett called the automated renewal line yesterday he was told the cost would be $60 for a 23-day supply. We didn’t remember paying that much for it the last time the prescription was filled, so Brett called back and spoke with a real person and it turns out the cost is $16 for us, not $60. The reason we are feeling so grateful though is that while we were trying to find the price through our insurance we discovered that the regular price for a 23-day supply (there is no generic) is $470.95! Yikes.
  • I will be able to finish up the rest of my annual medical check-up this week. There was an opening at the hospital’s women’s clinic later this morning for a mammogram (I was expecting to wait weeks), and on Wednesday morning I’ll have a fasting blood draw to check my cholesterol and thyroid levels. So far so good with my thyroid, but I have familial high cholesterol (thanks, Mom!) and last year my cholesterol numbers were a little high even thought I take a statin (Lipitor). My doctor would like to continue with my current dosage, so I’m hoping that my eating vegan and getting more exercise this past month will improve my numbers and the dosage won’t need to be increased. My doctor is impressed though that at nearly 64 years old the statin is the only medication I need (I’m relieved).

This Week’s Menu Plan

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Kalua pork plate lunch with mac salad and “two scoops.”

Our small garage freezer is in dire need of a defrost, so meals this week (last week too) have been planned around using up what we have, and clearing out enough that what’s left in the freezer can fit into the one in the house during the defrost and re-chill. I have frankly been surprised by how much we have on hand. This week would typically include our monthly “big shop” at Costco, but we’re postponing it by at least another week because we frankly don’t need anything; what we have can easily get us through another week, maybe two.

This is also Week Four of my January vegan experiment, and it’s gone so well that I will be continuing it into February. I feel fantastic, and have not missed anything or craved meat, eggs or dairy. I think I may have lost some weight too – my clothes are feeling looser these days and I just don’t feel so “big.” I know the daily exercise on the bike is helping with that, but I am eating less these days while enjoying it more. We’ll see how this goes though after another month.

Even though I had hoped to avoid making changes, last week’s menu plan ended up getting rearranged. I discovered a steak at the bottom of the freezer, picked up from the discounted meat section who knows how long ago, and as I also had some flat-leaf parsley to use up I made grilled steak pizzaiola for Brett and the girls on Thursday. I had a bowl of vegetable soup that I made to use up odds and ends of things from the fridge. That menu change bumped the yakisoba to Saturday, and we decided to push our sushi dinner to this week and have grilled hot dogs last night.

Here’s this week’s plan:

  • Monday: Mabo dofu with steamed rice and cucumber salad. I’ll have sesame-peanut noodles as the mabo dofu contains ground pork.
  • Tuesday: Plate lunch for dinner: slow cooker kalua pork, steamed rice, macaroni salad and leftover cucumber salad. The macaroni salad will be made with vegan mayonnaise, so I’ll just be skipping the kalua pork.
  • Wednesday: Panzanella (bread salad) with beans & feta cheese. The salad is completely vegan other than the cheese, but YaYu doesn’t care for feta so I’ll serve our portions and add the cheese for Brett’s and WenYu’s servings.
  • Thursday: Sushi (inari, kappamaki and nigiri). I’ll substitute hiyayakko (chilled tofu) for the nigiri sushi. 
  • Friday: The girls have their last spaghetti dinner of the year, so leftovers tonight for Brett and I.
  • Saturday: Breakfast for dinner: Scrambled eggs, sausage, roasted sweet potatoes and fresh fruit. I bought some vegan sausage so will only have to skip the eggs.
  • Sunday: Spaghetti & meatballs, garlic bread, green beans. The girls will make the meatballs (they want to try Anne Burrell’s recipe for Excellent Meatballs but without veal), and I’ll get to have those very tasty vegan “meatballs” again – yum!

Fingers crossed for no changes this week!

Sunday Afternoon 1/24/2016

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Our Trader Joe’s care package that will be arriving soon :-)!

It’s another gorgeous Sunday here on Kaua’i. Although I would love to go to the beach for a while, Brett wants to go hiking and do some trail maintenance, and I have laundry as well as a couple of other chores to take care of so I’ll be hanging out at home today. I can always put up my umbrella, and sit with my book and some iced tea out in the yard if I want some sun.

We spent five hours yesterday afternoon at the pool. Five hours. It was the last meet of the year for the county high schools (all four of them), but because of some issues with the timing equipment the meet dragged on much longer than usual. Brett and I were thankfully prepared with comfortable chairs, an umbrella for shade, and a cooler full of drinks and healthy snacks. I had on plenty of sunscreen as well, another good thing because my doctor showed up half way through (her son is on the girls’ team) and I would have heard from her if I hadn’t been sufficiently protected from the sun. The other parents at the meet were great company, the girls’ team did well, and both girls had good races. YaYu swam like she had rockets on her feet for the 50m freestyle – that girl can sprint! The finals will be held next week and swimmers for the state tournament chosen, but the girls won’t know until Tuesday which races they’ll be in.

This afternoon I am:

  • Reading: I’ll finish A God In Ruins tonight. It’s been a great book, one of those ones I almost don’t want to end. Next up is Dennis Lehane’s The Given Day. It’s the first of a three-book series, and the third book, World Gone By, is considered by many critics to be one of 2015’s best books. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve ever read by Lehane (with Mystic River and Shutter Island on top) so am looking forward to getting started on this series.
  • Listening to: It’s been a very quiet morning here. The girls are tired from yesterday so are quieter than usual, and Brett has been reading. Only one lone mower is going in the neighborhood. I sometimes can’t get over how much quieter this neighborhood is compared to our old one, especially the lack of noise from the chickens and roosters. We can hear them, but they’re background noise versus front and center like they were before.
  • Watching: More Downton Abbey tonight followed by another episode of Mercy Street. I wasn’t exactly grabbed by the premier last week, but I’m going to give it a few more tries to see if I can get into it. Brett and I finally finished all the available Murdoch Mysteries, but they ended with a cliffhanger so of course now we can’t wait for the next season. We started watching River on Netflix, and last night rented the movie Mr. Brooks (with Kevin Costner) because we all wanted to watch something creepy.
  • Cooking/baking: Last night I made up a pan of pecan sticky bun french toast for Brett and the girls so all Brett had to do was stick it in the oven this morning. It smelled heavenly, but I was good and had naan bread with peanut butter and a papaya instead. We’re having grilled hot dogs (vegan for me), macaroni & cheese, and coleslaw for dinner tonight.
  • Happy I accomplished last week: Getting all of us everywhere we needed to be on time and still getting to the beach twice. It was a crazy week for everyone in the family when it came to schedules and appointments. I also did not miss a day getting in my two 15-minute rides on the exercise bicycle.
  • Looking forward to next week: Not having any appointments other than heading up to the clinic one morning for a fasting blood draw (my annual cholesterol check). I’m hoping to get together with a couple of friends for either breakfast or lunch, and for good weather again so Brett and I can get to the beach.
  • Grateful for: I’m feeling especially grateful right now for friends who are willing to bring over items for us from Trader Joe’s when they come to Kaua’i. It’s the one mainland store I miss, and there are no replacements here for several of their items. Faithful reader and friend Denise and her husband are heading over to Kaua’i soon (yeah!!) and I am feeling extremely thankful she is willing to bring us over a few Trader Joe’s items. What she’s bringing should keep us for quite a while!
  • Bonus question: When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? My secret goal growing up was to marry Prince Charles and become the Queen of England. I wanted to wear the tiaras. And then I thought I might become an artist, but that dream ended when I accepted that I could barely draw a stick figure (I love color though, and am good at putting colors together and arranging things). My family’s dream for me was that I become a nurse, and so I headed down that path until mid-way through college I realized that even though I liked working in hospitals, nursing was everyone else’s dream for me and not my own. It took me a while to figure out that what I wanted to do was stay home and raise my children and take care of my home and family. I got an advanced degree and worked as an ESL instructor for many years, but my teaching never overwhelmed my life or got in the way like my mother’s job had when I and my siblings were growing up.

I hope all of you are enjoying your Sunday afternoon? What are you up to today?

Feel Good Friday

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My morning view from the exercise bike

It’s been a busy, but very, very nice week here at Casa Aloha. Other than a rainy day on Wednesday, the weather has been positively glorious. It’s almost hard to believe it’s still January.

There’s lots to feel good about this Friday, too:

  • I finally got my hair cut! I cannot tell you how great it feels to be rid of the “old lady pouf” (which is what happens to my hair when it gets too long).
  • Brett and I went to the beach twice this week. Both days were gorgeous, and the water warm. I am no longer the color of a blanc mange.
  • Both times at the beach we were treated to some spectacular views of humpback whales swimming by. Last Sunday we saw three whales breach; yesterday we saw one – it completely cleared the water (one did on Sunday as well)! Beautiful creatures . . .
  • I rode my exercise bicycle twice a day for 15 minutes every day, another 46+ miles and 1900+ calories burned again this week.
  • Still rocking’ the vegan eating. Did you know that Costco’s apple strudel is vegan?
  • No problems with my teeth and the dentist said my gums are in perfect shape (I was having a couple of issues six months ago).
  • Our new gas dryer was delivered – two weeks early!
  • We put $9.02 in the change/$1 bill jar.
  • The family has done a masterful job of eating leftovers and the fridge is almost cleaned out. For some reason we ended up with more leftovers than usual this week, but the girls took some for their lunches or ate them for breakfast, and Brett and I kept at them as well.

How was your week? What good things happened for you?

Tokyo On My Mind

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Ever since our son and family’s visit this past Christmas I’ve had Japan on my brain. Like, how soon can we get back there again? Brett and I still plan to go in 2019 to begin our annual three-month’s stay, but neither of us thinks we can, or wants to, go that long without seeing our grandson. And, we just flat-out love being in Tokyo.

There’s no way we can go this year though – we just have too many other things on deck. But in 2017? When YaYu has spring break? We’re thinking this may be doable.

This time we could stay at the New Sanno Hotel, just a 10-minute walk from our son’s condo (without Brett I was ineligible to book a room there, which is why we didn’t stay there last spring). The New Sanno is a 5-star hotel run by the U.S. Navy, and for exclusive use by active duty military and retirees. Staying there would be less than $100/night, taxes and fees included, or around $750 for our entire stay. Even if our son moves before then (they are thinking about relocating this year to another nearby neighborhood) we would still only be a short train or subway ride away from them.

I can most likely find substantial savings on airfare too. I always set a limit for what I am willing to pay, and then search for something lower. If I find it, and I usually do, I grab it without hesitation.

We would plan to stay in the Tokyo area this time, and not buy rail passes, or other more expensive travel items, so our daily expenses would not be as high as they were for the girls and I on last spring’s trip. If there’s one thing Brett and I are very good at, it’s eating cheaply, but well, in Tokyo. We’re not big souvenir shoppers either (nor is YaYu) so won’t have to bake in a lot of extra for that. A budget of $175 – $200 per day for the three of us would be more than adequate to cover daily meals and snacks, transportation expenses and other needs while we’re there.

The first hurdle though will be whether we can get a room at the New Sanno. Reservations open up a year in advance but can sell out quickly, sometimes in just one day. There’s no online booking either; you have to call Japan and speak directly to someone at the hotel. We’ll be on the Mystery Vacation™ when the first day of our possible Japan stay opens up, so we’ll have to call from our mystery location, in the middle of that vacation. IF we can get a room, then we’ll keep going; otherwise we’re either going to have to come up with Plan B or give up going at all (And no, we won’t stay at our son’s even though they always invite us. If it were for a couple of days, maybe, but for nine days the three of us would be too much strain on their household).

So, our fingers are crossed once again. Japan is calling us, and if the stars align we may be able to do a nine-day visit for around $5000. We’ll have to pull together and use all of our savings skills once we get WenYu off to college to make it happen, but I think we can do it.

Living on Less in Hawai’i

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My favorite Kaua’i activity is less than five minutes from our house and it’s free!

It’s great when a 20 something says ya, move to the islands its a great place to live, but when your talking kids, spouses and a mid-level standard of living, it becomes a different kettle of fish. Yes, if you refuse to buy new clothes, quit eating meat, forgo medical/dental care or insurance, walk instead of drive, sit in the dark instead of using electricity, no worries. But really, do you want to live like that? Your kids will NEVER need braces? Never break an arm? Never want a car? College? I think the islands are a great place to live. But I would never have relocated with children in school unless I had the means to place them in private school. (Which we did not). Better to delay that gratification than to subborn your childrens future.

The cost of living is high in Hawai’i – there’s no denying it. But, you don’t have to be wealthy to live the good life here. The above is the “advice” I received from an anonymous poster when I wrote to a Hawai’i forum in 2013, a full year before we moved to Hawai’i, asking whether our proposed budget for living on Kaua’i was realistic or not.

Most of the answers I received to my question on the forum were thoughtful, full of good advice and encouraging. For most budget items I was told I had actually estimated too high, which was a good place to be. But, even with our budget outlined, and with the explanation that we were retired military with healthcare provided, and with a low tax burden because of our income sources, this person predicted nothing but gloom and doom for us. She was backed up by another frequent contributor to the forum. According to them, with an income of less than $100,000 (after taxes) we were sure to find ourselves in dire straits sooner rather than later.

None of her predictions have come true, nor are they likely to happen either. And, our income is nowhere near $100,000 per year.

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We primarily use a “solar dryer” on laundry day

There are three reasons I believe that we have been able to live well here on a smaller income. And, not only live well but have money left over to save for travel and other activities:

  1. We have no consumer debt.
  2. We live within our means, which in our case means renting right now instead of buying, owning only one car, and sticking to our monthly budget.
  3. We practice everyday frugality – we didn’t change our frugal habits just because we moved to Hawai’i.

Without any one of these three things in place there would be more of a possibility that our income might not be sufficient, and we might be living closer to the life predicted by the poster. Many people move to Hawaii’i convinced their income will be enough, but make no adjustments to their lifestyle to accommodate the higher cost of living, and end up leaving in a year or less, poorer but hopefully wiser.

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No food waste around here: Brett had the last of some guacamole, hummus, feta cheese and rice for lunch one day

We are not minimalists by any stretch, and live a very rich, full life in my opinion. But, we live a simple life. We take advantage of the benefits we have earned. We are thoughtful about our purchases and the choices we make, but we don’t deny ourselves anything. Kaua’i offers abundant recreation for free (beaches, hiking, etc.) and there are discounts offered to residents. Our children stay very busy thanks to school clubs and sports, and work hard to earn scholarships to pay for college. The amounts I budgeted back in 2013 did turn out to be much higher than we actually spend, meaning more has been available to put away for travel and other extras. Less has really meant more here.

I may just write back to the forum one of these days to let them know that we are still here, that we’re living the good life in paradise and not sitting in the dark wondering where we went wrong. We eat what we want including occasionally going out to eat, and we don’t worry about turning on the lights. We’ve got college covered so far.

I wonder if that “helpful” poster is still reading?

This Week’s Menu Plan

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Yakisoba with vegetables

Fresh sweet basil isn’t always available at the farmers’ market, so when one of my favorite vendors had some last week I bought it, and a quick change was made to the menu plan in order to use it: hot dogs were swapped out for Martha Stewart’s One Pan Pasta, which the girls had been requesting. Also, I forgot that WenYu and YaYu would be at their swim team spaghetti dinner on Friday evening (I’m not sure how I could forget this- we provide garlic bread every week!), so Brett and I enjoyed leftovers that evening, and will do the same again this Friday.

Once again I am happy to write that I am thoroughly enjoying eating vegan, and still have yet to miss having animal products in my diet. I’m continually finding things that are compatible with veganism – this past weekend I discovered that Starbuck’s cocoa mix contains no animal products, and makes a delicious treat when mixed with vanilla soy milk. I was initially planning to add animal products back into my diet next month, but now I’m thinking I might just keep going vegan for a while longer. I am eating w-a-y more fruits and vegetables than I did in the past, a lot less sugar, and I feel terrific!

Here’s what’s for dinner this week:

  • Monday: Tuna noodle casserole. The family loves it, but I’m going to have lentil soup and bread.
  • Tuesday: Tofu and broccoli in spicy peanut sauce with rice. This long-time family favorite meal is already vegan.
  • Wednesday: Bulgar Mexicana. This is seasoned bulgar pilaf topped with traditional taco condiments: shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, avocado, grated cheese, salsa, sour cream and cilantro. It’s another long-time favorite recipe that, other than the addition of cheese and sour cream, is already vegan.
  • Thursday: Grilled hot dogs, macaroni &cheese and coleslaw. I bought some vegan hot dogs which I hope will be as good as the vegan Italian sausage was last week. The coleslaw will be made with vegan mayonnaise.
  • Friday: Leftovers for Brett and I.
  • Saturday: Yakisoba with cabbage, onions, red pepper and carrots. My portion will have fried tofu; Brett and the girls will get stir-fried chicken. I’ll be using Japanese Bulldog sauce to make this – it tastes the same as Worcestershire sauce but is vegan.
  • Sunday: Sushi. I’m going to fix inari sushi (vinegared rice in fried tofu pouches) and kappamaki (cucumber roll) which are both vegan. We’ll pick up some nigiri sushi (raw fish) at the market for Brett and the girls, but I’ll have hayayakko: chilled silken tofu topped with soy sauce, ginger and diced green onions.

Things can of course change again, but I think we’ll probably stick to this menu pretty closely this week. I’m going make a big bowl of tabouli salad later today to use up the last of some mint and parsley and will eat that for lunches this week, but there’s also leftover beans and mashed sweet potato from last week’s burritos to enjoy as well (YaYu turned up her nose at those last week but ended up eating two of them and asking for more!)