What I’m reading – 26 May 2020

My book pile didn’t change for 2 weeks (although my virtual pile of e-books did). But during that time I finished 2 books and nearly finished a third.

I was drawn back into the Welcome to Night Vale novel and I’m hopi g that the same will happen with Dickens.

Just one more chapter of An Everlasting Meal to savour.

Chapters in The Screwtape Letters are short so I’ve been reading one before bed (part of a master plan to stay away from screens at that point in the day and work on my insomnia).

Asterisk (borrowed from my Mum) is there for jollies!

New to the pile

Asterix

In progress

Bleak House

An Everlasting Meal

The Screwtape Letters

Completed

Finding Your Own North Star

Welcome to Night Vale – A Novel

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What I ate – 24 May 2020

I’m definitely starting to see a pattern in our meals. But I’m also noting that some weeks I have a lack of inspiration when it comes to menu planning. I like to browse and see what looks good or good value and then make a meal from that. Right now I’m doing the opposite with maybe the exception of a Friday. Then I’m trying to clear the fridge for the next week.

Sunday

I was so excited to find Beyond burgers in the local Tesco. The taste took me back to A&W in Canada last summer. I just need a frosty root beer to go with it.

It’s a while since I used soy mince and I’d forgotten how good it can be. I left it to soak with various seasonings and then added in kidney beans, tomato purée and a drop of super hot chilli sauce . It has a good tang to it.

Monday

Monday was a bit of lost day. A lost of time was taken with finding some missing deliveries. Maybe it caused so many emotions because Lockdown doesn’t much in the way of variations. Or things to vent about. Anyway it was all resolved by dinner time which was comforting vegan sausage, mash, spring greens and gravy.

Tuesday

I finally got my hands on some olives to go in the pizza salad. This is always delicious and the olives only enhanced this.

I had loads of the seasoned and hydrated soy mince left over from making chilli. So I added some gram flour and made meatless balls.

Then I kept with the Italian theme that was developing for the day and made pasta.

Wednesday

Another weekly favourite! And to think that when I first made it about 6 weeks ago I thought it had a lot of ingredients. Now I think of it as simple!

The tofu for this nearly didn’t get made. I heated up the soy milk, stirred in the lemon juice and then left it while I ate lunch. But I was a way into my afternoon work when I recalled that I hadn’t drained and pressed it. Happily it separated beautifully and pressed in time to make black pepper tofu.

Thursday

Potato salad! With gerkins and German sausages! On a bed of rocket!

Friday

I saw this recipe on a Japanese TV channel. You basically take a load of vegetables, stir in gram flour and then add sparkling water to make a batter before frying. They were really good. Not healthy but very good.

Saturday

I got a load of green onion tops so they’re going to be in pretty much everything for the next week. And I’ll probably make some stock too. This was chicken style strips with green onion, rice and a sesame sauce. Served it with Chinese lettuce for a make your own green wraps experience.

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What I ate last week – 17 May 2020

I have no idea what we ate prior to Monday. We must have eaten on Saturday and Sunday. I hope it was good!

Monday

More pizza style salad. I think this one is going to be part of my regular rotation forever.

I had some kind of idea about doing a salad with pieces of these vegan southern style fillets from Tesco. I liked the idea of hot and cold.Then wraps seemed appealing and so I made flatbreads and ended up with these. They were surprisingly filling.

But not so filling that I couldn’t squeeze in a bit of frozen cheese cake. this is oat based and the bulk of the recipe came from Vegan Yack Attack. As usual, I had to make a few twists.

Tuesday

And another one for the weekly rotation is Kale, tampeh and tomato salad.

I couldn’t be be bothered to make proper pancakes for dinner so I made gram flour ones. they came out like a vegan omelette which worked great with the filling (mushrooms and greens on a sunflower seed sauce).

Wednesday

What to do with the random beetroot? I recalled a tasty recipes for a beetroot and satsuma salad from last year. That recipe used cucumber and herbs but this version was ok. I chucked in some chickpeas for a bit of protein and added a tahini sauce.

This dish get made every time I get pak choi in my veg bag. So here it is again. The tofu I made didn’t turn out great but held together long enough to fry in cubes with black pepper.

Thursday

I had sushi rice but had run out of nori sheets. So this was a bowl of seasoned sushi rice topped with green beans, peppers and radish. The tofu feel apart when I tried to fry it so it became tofu scramble. Topped it off with some miso and wasabi sauce.

I’ve done a few weeks now of leek and potato soup. To shake things up a bit I added chickpeas and noodles and ended up with with this. More pasta dish then soup but still tasty. Sling it all in, right?

Friday

Friday night is becoming one pan past night. I’ve run out of cooking inspiration and it’s a good way to use up anything lurking in the fridge. Plus I was able to bake cupcakes while it cooked.

Saturday

I plan the menu on Saturday afternoon so lunch was a roll with with vegan cheese and deli slices and a handful of greens.

This started out a barley/mushroom/Brussels Sprouts harvest bowl. Then I replaced barley with bread and subbed spring greens for Brussels Sprouts. So essentially I turned it into mushrooms on toast. I will make the original at a later point.

And here are the cupcakes with icing!

Eat well folks!

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My reading pile – 14 May 2020

I seemed to have stalled a bit on Bleak House and An Everlasting Meal. I’m doing small chunks of the Night Vale title because it is naturally strange and so is the world right now.

I’ve been reading a few more e-books than usual but I would like to clear my stack of physical books.

Plus a I’ve snuck in a few graphical novels in electronic form.

It’s far to say that there’s no shortage of reading material for me even with libraries closed.

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What I ate – start of May 2020

Food seems to be falling into a rhythm. The same dishes on the same days of the week. I’m not sure if this is because this is the way life is. When Pak choi turns up in my veg bag I make black pepper tofu. If I have it 3 weeks in a row then I made the dish 3 weeks in a row.

Or am I buying the same things over and over at Tesco? Hence I’m experiencing none of the variety that buying from markets and hunting yellow stickers offers.

Sunday

Gram flour pancakes for brunch topped with bananas and golden syrup.

The millet bowls for dinner with hummus, salsa, spinach, radishes and pepper. I topped the millet with course radish stalk pesto.

Monday

It was Star Wars day! It of course we wear Star Wars T-shirt’s all the time anyway. I made pizza salad bowls from Salad Samurai again. They do taste better every time and I actually had mode of the ingredients this time note the vegan Parmesan topping!

And for dinner port style TVP with mushrooms, mange tout and home made sweet and sour sauce. I was super happy with how this turned out.

Tuesday

Tempeh , kale and tomato salad again. The dressing turned out really well. It was so tangy.

So I made up another batch to go on the side salad at dinner. The mustardy flavour went great with the chickpea cutlets and potatoes.

Wednesday

I was honestly going to make borscht for lunch. But it somehow turned into a kind of stew and a spoonful of tahini made it super creamy and luscious.

Black pepper tofu and vegetables for dinner. I got the amount of sauce right so it was flavoursome but not heading in the direction of a soup!

Thursday

I’m a bit out of practice with sushi making. Hence I rather ivestuffec this bunch I knocked up for lunch. They were still tasty though and have got me thinking about using sushi rice as a base for a salad.

Loaded leek and potato soup. The mass of parsley hides the spring greens and vegan sausage slices I chucked in.

Friday

We ate the last of the soup for lunch on Friday. In the evening I put all the odds and ends from the fridge into one pan pasta. I did intend to add some garlic bread but the remaining chunk of bread was covered in fuzzy mould 😕

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My reading pile – 7 May 2020

This week’s pile is a random mix of the ongoing, the half completed and the one I put off (because then the series would be over).

One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor – gifted by my mother this is an awesome story of historians and time travel.

Welcome to Night Vale by Joesph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor – I read about half of this when I got it and then put it down for some reason. It’s my favourite podcast in book form. Delightfully strange.

An Everlasting meal by Tamar Adler – I was going great guns on this and then had to take another break. When I read this all I want to do is cook.

Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck – I’m taking my time working through this because each chapter has plenty of interesting points to consider.

Locke and Key: Alpha and Omega by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez – the very last volume. I’ve been saving these so I can savour each page but it’s so easy to get caught up in the storyline!

I’ve also downloaded a few ebooks to read at night if I can’t sleep.

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Playing tennis with the universe

Today it has occurred to me that life is like playing tennis with the universe. I’m terrible at tennis but bear with me.

Some days you feel good. You got enough sleep and ate well. You smash back the balls.

On other days you don’t do so well. And just to make it more interesting your tennis partner turns out to have a sense of humour. Instead of tennis balls, you’re being served fruit, scoops of ice cream and plastic rocks!

Or the game changes completely and it turns out you’re actually playing ping pong.

But remember it’s only a game and another ball will come your way in a minute.

Photo by Jeff Finley on Unsplash

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What we ate last week

Menu planning right now is a balance of making sure the fresh stuff gets eaten at the start of the week but the end of the week isn’t too dull.

I’m making progress. I know that the bread needs to go in the freezer after the first few days. And that bagged spinach needs to be eaten first.

So here’s how food went last week

Saturday

Lunch – lovely fresh baguettes with the last of the vegan deli slices, pickle and spinach.

Dinner – Leftover pasta bake with breadcrumbs and a good handful of spinach

Sunday

Lunch – Vegan sausage sandwiches with more spinach

Dinner – black pepper tofu with mushrooms and bok choi. Served with rice.

Monday

Lunch – crackers, hummus, salsa, radishes, spinach and apples.

Dinner – Southern style fillets with potatoes and radish leaf pesto

Tuesday

Lunch – Tempeh, kale and tomato salad from Salad Samurai. I had avocado on hand this week which made this even tastier.

Dinner – fried tofu, pasta and salad

Wednesday

Lunch – pizza style salad bowls from Salad Samurai – with a few substitutes and omissions. It still tasted great.

Dinner – Didn’t really happen. Neither of us felt too good so an early night took priority.

Thursday

Lunch – TVP with onions and mushrooms in homemade sweet and sour sauce. Served with rice.

Loaded potato and leek soup with miso, rhubarb chard and sausage slices – served with bread from the freezer

Friday

Lunch – leftover soup and the last of the bread

Dinner – Vegan sausages , potato and swede mash, spring greens and gravy

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Menu plan 25 April – 1 May

Last week’s menu plan didn’t go exactly as I expected. We acquired a bag of rolls and some vegan burgers while on a post run. These made a delicious additions to the menu but threw things out a bit.

And they also meant the bread didn’t get eaten at the start of the week so the end of the week was spend picking bits of mould off. Oops. It’ll be going in the freezer in future in there’s no immediate need to consume it.

Usually I’d pick up bread or rolls as I needed them – or munch the whole loaf in 2 days as ‘snacks’. I love bread so much.

So this week’s menu is a bit vague. To accommodate unexpected burgers. And because I’m still struggling to plan based on a weekly shop. Yellow stickers used to be my inspiration.

Saturday

Lunch – mini baguettes with spinach, chutney, Tofurky deli slices and vegan cheese plus radishes and sugar snap peas.

Dinner – leftover pasta bake topped with breadcrumbs served with salad, radishes and sugar snap peas.

Sunday

Lunch – sausage and spinach sandwiches

Dinner – black pepper tofu with mushrooms, Pak Choy and rice

Monday

Lunch – crackers, hummus, radishes and sugar snap peas

Dinner – southern fried fillets (new addition to the local Tesco Metro) with some kind of potato and salad.

Tuesday

Lunch – I’ve become a bit obsessed with tempeh, kale and tomato salad and this week I finally have avocado to go in it.

Dinner – seasoned tofu with pasta and radish leaf pesto

Wednesday

Lunch – maybe soup? I’ve been very enthused about leek and potato soup – and there’s all that bread in the freezer

Dinner – TVP and mushrooms in a homemade sweet and sour sauce.

Thursday

Lunch – more soup?

Dinner – sausage and mash with gravy. Plus greens if there are any left…

Friday

Lunch – whatever’s left turned into a salad, soup or if all else fails beans on toast (from the emergency bean stash)

Dinner – swede gnocchi

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Capsule wardrobe equals stress

One of the sure signs that I’m feeling a little bit on the stressed side is what I search for on Google. And top of the lists during difficult times is capsule wardrobes.

Of course, I never follow up on any of the suggestions combinations. The thought of having to take a toon is usually more than my brain can handle. So after making notes on my perfect ratio of tops to bottoms to dresses to jackets I stop. Otherwise I might have to make a choice about whether to donate or sell my my unwanted items.

And I’m certainly not about to spend time buying new things. My year of not buying clothes in 2014/15 went along way towards removing that urge. I have a well stocked wardrobe. The contents make me happy and only a few items (usually gifts) get added each year.

If anyone had asked I’d have guessed that lockdown would have me compiling my idea capsule. But that hasn’t really been the case. I’ve been hanging out in a handful of baggy t-shirts and those trousers that aren’t quite pyjama bottoms. For my weekly vegan bag run there’s a pair of leggings and hoodie which get washed on my return.

Yet today I did feel a tiny urge to wear something else. It wasn’t anything I acted on. But an image of a tube skirt versus a pair of jeans fluttered through my head. But the idea of wearing either, of getting dressed up to go out seems utterly alien.

I wonder how things will when lockdown restrictions are slacked at some point. Will we all be desperate to get dressed properly again? Or will jogging bottoms become the new office wear?

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