Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Empty Space


Art, after all, is traditionally displayed against vacancies: paintings on dun walls, sculptures in empty spaces, music in quiet halls.
John Hart

I was searching for some quotes about "empty space" as I thought of it. You know, I guess something like that spread in Oprah's magazine, Breathing Space. Maybe I was thinking of something more "empty". Anyhow, I ran across this quote by John Hart. I am currently sifting through my first Google result of "wiki John Hart."

I don't know much about art and I'm not sure of Hart's context, but I like this quote.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Unplugged

I was relatively computer-shy this weekend and it was nice. Wait, let's be real, I was "internet-shy" since just a plain old computer and software just won't do anymore, right?

With much of Friday afternoon off, I started my weekend early. Before figuring out what to do in Greensboro proper on the weekend before the official start of summer, I made a side trip to Whitsett for a tour of the Red Oak Brewery. A lot of the brewmaster's well-paced speech was almost over my head, but the beer samples and beer jelly samples at the end made us all appreciate all of the science and care that goes into beer...and Red Oak in particular.

The brewmaster starting off the tour.

I made another side trip to Salisbury to watch my friend Josh Sandman (formerly of Forest Oaks in Greensboro and now a high Point resident) play in the eGolf Professional Tour. It was the first time I was a spectator a tournament for a full 18 holes and with plenty of breaks on benches and grassy inclines, water and hummus and pita chips, I made it! Follow Josh's developing professional career on Following the Storm.

Josh in the foreground practicing before his tee time.

Sunday was a shame because I missed Summer Solstice at the Arboretum. I know that this seems to always have a hint of lame to it but I was diligent and happy to just do some life housekeeping on Sunday. I am always looking for things to do in Greensboro and part of those to-dos in the city are, I figure, a way for me to relax. Though I had waited a year for Summer Solstice to come around, I missed it, but it wasn't all for naught. In celebration of the Greensboro event, however, I wore my huge FeltmyHeart pink ruffle flower headband all day, the one I bought at The Shindig earlier this spring. Now that was pretty fun. Here comes summer!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

How do you buy food in Greensboro?

Greensboro-licious!

How do you shop for groceries in Greensboro? Sometimes farmers' markets fit in my equation, but it's usually a social thing when I go with my friends to check out the goods. This post is going to revolve around a couple of groery stores that I frequent amongst others.

I have made the effort to curb a bad habit of mine...a bad habit with good intentions. I have made Earth Fare one of my usual stops for groceries but recently I had been stopping by the store several times a week. I had even been there twice in one day! You'd think that it be where everybody knows my name now, but I mostly feel like staff there are thinking, She's here again?! No worries. The staff are nice and helpful there, and I think I've seen most of the regular staff there!

Anyhow, Earth Fare caters to my food preferences but I don't live close to it and I barely work close to it. Most things are 15-30 minutes away from me in either direction whether I'm at home or at work. From work, it takes between 10-15 minutes to get to Earth Fare, a usual lunch stop. But my bad habit of going there all the time during lunch or after work or whenever else was getting out of hand. I was spending a lot on gas and with those quick trips, I was mostly buying Rice Dream vanilla pies and other one-time eats.

So, most recently I've started shopping there one a week for the motherload of groceries. You know, that big bill that covers enough meal and snack options for at least the week. It's been a good experience so far. I still mostly cook for one so there isn't too much thought that goes into the shopping. i am able to shop at a slower pace because I don't have to rush back to the office or back home so that I can get everything else done before I get to bed at a reasonable time.

*****
How do you shop for groceries? Is it an everyday thing where you get a little of this and a little of that? Do you shop for yourself or maybe two people or for a bigger family? Do you feel like you spend too much on groceries?
*****

Now, of course, the photo above is from Deep Roots Market. I loved the "Greensboro-licious" line. My mini-bad habit now is stopping by Deep Roots for snacky-type things. Also, the drive down Wendover to get there is for some reason pleasant to me. Agh, all of this driving! I used to do this frequent stop-and-shop thing at the Friendly Harris Teeter where you go to see and be seen!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

¿Cómo se traduce...?

Necesito ayuda para traducir esta frase:

"Reach out a hand to one and influence the condition of all."

La parte que me da problema es "Reach out a hand to one..."

He leído la traducción, "Dele la mano a uno..." (y todavía estoy confudida entre "dele" y "déle").

¿Puedo usar alargar o alcanzar en este contexto?

O, ¿Debo usar simplemente ayudar?

¡Gracias!

Finding fitness in Greensboro


Belay's on! Generally speaking.

I'm sort of in a fitness rut. I think it's a productive rut, though. That may be an oxymoron so maybe I can refer to it as a fork in the road, a stall, a...ok, when I feel like I need to get a thesaurus out, it's time to pause.

Since the beginning of this year, I have been attending Zumba classes to jump start a lifestyle that includes fitness. Fitness, as a part of wellness, hadn't been a strong point for me in the past. I wasn't athletic or sporty and I used the gym in college as a place to be social more so than it should be.

The only time I really got up and moving on a regular basis was when I was in college. I am not just counting the fact that I had to walk everywhere and only sat down for three hours at the most during the day; I actually used the gym productively once in a while!

I got into indoor rock climbing at The Edge at UNCG which was social and productive as a workout. I even bought rock climbing shoes! (Read: begged and convinced my father to buy them).

I'm trying to find something like that that will get me hyped up about working out again. Zumba has done that, but I am trying to add to what I do in a class or facility. Of course, there is the indoor climbing facility at Tumblebee's. I have been there twice but I still haven't convinced myself to pay so much to work out there. As a UNCG alumna in Greensboro, I really could just get a UNCG membership and use The Edge again but, honestly, using The Edge specifically would just make me feel like an old mid-20-something year old (which, I would be!).

I know that there are lots of options in Greensboro. I even travel out of my way to High Point to work out. That isn't too environmentally-friendly. I've started signing up for 5Ks but I haven't worked up to actually running in them yet. I'm not sure how I feel about running, yet. I have joined gyms in the past but I often find myself uninspired to do much past the elliptical.

So, I'm still searching and trying out new things. Hopefully all of this trying out random workouts has some positive wellness effect on me even though it isn't consistent.

Then there's general day-to-day fitness: getting up from the desk once in a while, taking the stairs, riding a bike, taking a walk, stretching, breathing...all that kind of stuff.

I did buy a hula hoop (a real one from me&e) and I have a primo jump rope that I often break out when I'm bored or feel like I need a burst of energy.

It's a process. And, no, I won't be tabling things like chocolate peanut butter cake. I'll just have to work those calories off somehow!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sheesh, is that Cheese? Part 4

I'm working on a vegan Caprese salad. Relatively recently (can I use an adverb right after another?) I fell in l-o-v-e with the mozzarella Caprese, which is often referred to as a salad.

Pesto, basil, tomatoes and mozzarella? Are you kidding me? That's heaven! Caprese salad is one of the few ways I can enjoy balsamic vinegar, too.

However, I am cutting out dairy from my diet and so when I bought a block of Follow You Heart mozzarella, I had a light bulb of an idea. I found that I enjoyed the "mozzarella" when it was cold (I am still iffy about it's melting ability). I wanted an excuse to buy pesto (without anchovies, please!). I wanted to give balsamic vinegar another chance. So, here I am with a container of yummy goodness for lunch; I can deal with that!

This salad is pretty simple to arrange. I am not sure what I mean when I say that I am still working on it unless I am just referring to the serving style. Most Caprese salads like this are often fanned out or layered with a pattern of tomatoes, cheese, basil and drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. I did see a photo of a recipe where the tomatoes and cheese were cubed and tossed together.

Well, I guess that no matter how it looks, it all goes down the same, right? Aw, let's make it pretty!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Salty sweet and all that chocolate jazz.


Yesterday I decided to make a cake-cake. No cupcakes. NO CUPCAKES?! Well, really, it's all the same, just in different form, right? I decided to make a cake because (1) I want to try to make a layer cake and (2) I thought it'd be easier to prepare a cake than to fill cupcake cups.

I'm not convinced that it's easier to prepare a layer cake than it is to prepare cupcakes and that's mostly because I had myself a time frosting the thing, but I am glad that I tried. I even did a crumb coat! I'll probably try a layer cake again with two pans of cake so it's higher. That'll be a whole lotta frosting I'll need to make then! Hmmm, maybe that's why I like cupcakes; the less Earth Balance margarine and Spectrum shortening the better...that stuff ain't cheap!

Yesterday, my idea was to make something chocolate-banana-peanut butter. Any combination of the three seems like a good idea so I went for it! I made chocolate batter according to the VCTOTW recipe and added half a mashed banana in there. Later in the day I whipped up some VCTOTW peanut butter frosting. That stuff is so nice; salty sweet if you make it that way and fluffy! Moreso than the VCTOTW buttercream, I would say. I went to Earth Fare to pick up some groceries including the peanut butter for the frosting. The recipe says to use creamy peanut butter and not the kind that has the oil separated in the jar. It also calls for a bit of salt to get that salty sweet flavor. I have assumed that the type of "creamy" peanut butter the authors refer to is something along the lines of my favorite mainstream creamy, natural peanut butter by Skippy. The first time I made the frosting, I had the Earth Fare store peanut butter on hand, so I used that; it tasted great! It's the kind you can crank out yourself (though I never have!). It is gritty and oily, I guess, but unlike jar peanut butters that lack added oils, the oil and ground peanuts don't separate.

There wasn't any pre-packaged regular peanut butter from the crank station (or whatever it's called). There were different flavors of PB and I think almond butter. But then I saw it...dark chocolate peanut butter! What?! I had to get that for the cake frosting. More chocolate? Of course!

(I did have the experience of chocolate overload once...)

I can't really taste the difference between the dark chocolate peanut butter and the regular peanut butter in the frosting but that could be due partly to the fact that I covered the whole cake in fine crumbs of Newman's Own Newman-O's in peanut butter (which Amazon doesn't seem to have here). Even more chocolate and peanut butter!

With all of those chocolate-peanut butter textures to the cake, it came out to be something with a POW! of flavor! You know how you sometimes get a huge slice of cake from a restaurant or bakery (so much for portion control but the price reflects the size)? When I do, I am overwhelmed by the size of the cake and when the cake has a strong flavor (usually of chocolate), I often give up before I get halfway! This cake I made was pretty low in height, but an eighth slice was too much for me. It was one pan of cake sliced in half. I made two batches of the VCTOTW peanut butter frosting which is what I needed to fill between the layers and frost the top and sides of the cake but it was also just enough to add what seemed like extra (mmm fluffy) frosting on top. I think that the actual cake took a backseat to the frosting in this cake but with the cookie crumbles, it wasn't too much frosting. And, once more, it was so fluffy and not dense and overwhelming.

Oh, and the banana that I added in the batter? I can't taste it. I only added half a banana and one that had only had brown/black spots for a couple of days. I think I was too afraid to add much because I didn't want the cake texture to be odd or for the cake to take a longer or shorter time to bake without me knowing. But, hey, we're experimenting here, right?!

There was a time when I was told that I was allergic to chocolate and tree nuts. *Tear* That's all over, thank goodness...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sheesh, is that Cheese? Part 3

I went to Deep Roots Market recently and grabbed a bunch of to-dos to make a sandwich. An unexpected lunch buy but good because I could use the groceries for more than a day though, of course, the Rice Dream mocha pie was eaten up ASAP. And I mean ASAP. I mean, can I get Rice Dreams ice cream bars and pies in packs of, oh, about 500? Thanks. Check out the grocery bag items below. All vegan, all tasty. All new to me (except the Rice Dream, of course) and pretty exciting!

White French sliced loaf


Deep Roots carries some bakery items from the local area and I was surprised to see bread loaves from our own Simple Kneads! This was a very basic loaf that I thought would go well with my "chicken' salad and cashew cheese. I would have gotten it in any case because I l-o-v-e French bread (I was raised to love it!).

The loaf simply has unbleached wheat flour, water, sourdough starter, and sea salt.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sheesh, is that Cheese? Part 2

I went to Deep Roots Market recently and grabbed a bunch of to-dos to make a sandwich. An unexpected lunch buy but good because I could use the groceries for more than a day though, of course, the Rice Dream mocha pie was eaten up ASAP. And I mean ASAP. I mean, can I get Rice Dreams ice cream bars and pies in packs of, oh, about 500? Thanks. Check out the grocery bag items below. All vegan, all tasty. All new to me (except the Rice Dream, of course) and pretty exciting!

Totally Nuts Cashew Cheese


I was sort of on a let's-try-something-new roll when I ran into Deep Roots for some lunch and I grabbed this cashew cheese with a what-the-hell kind of attitude. Thank goodness for that!

I know cashews are used for...um...dairy-ish purposes? From some recipes I've skimmed, it seems to be a good ingredient for creamy, full-flavored consistencies. I heard of almond cheeses but I wasn't sure of any other nut cheeses. I never tried almond cheese (and anyways, the one I just checked at Earth Fare wasn't vegan) and there was even a Totally Nuts vegan almond "ricotta" cheese. But, I don't like ricotta cheese on the regs so I didn't want to try the vegan version. Go figure!

So! This stuff was great! I kept on saying that I didn't know what pimento cheese was like since I never had it, but that this stuff reminded me of it. Mostly because it was bright orange. I still am not sure about pimento cheese but that isn't quite the priority. The thing is...this could totally be sold as not a cheese substitute. The dairy industry was whining about using the word "milk" for non-dairy products or...gasp!...fakes! but I figure that there is some general noun-age and verb-age for works like "milk" so let's use English to it's fullest extent, mmkay? Ok, calling something "cheese" may be stretching it but again, check out this article for some great points on the name-game.

This cashew cheese could be called a dip, spread, or something to that effect and I feel like those omnivorious-licious folks wouldn't shrug it off or act like "vegan" were a dirty word. I would even think that some people would think it's exotic (and probably expensive). A cashew dip? That'd be a great addition to next week's dinner party crudites!

Aaaanyways, the flavor. Well, the "cheese" is full of flavor and kind of tastes like cheese. I was shocked by it's tastiness when I first ate it, but I am not sure if it's because I thought it tasted like cheese or because I just thought it tasted great. Obviously it doesn't have the texture of most yellow/orange cheeses that I assume most people think of. It's all about the flavor here. If I were to serve it to non-vegans, I wouldn't refer to it as a "cheese". I'd just let it be.

I am not sure how I'd sub it for regular cheese, but I did use it one on side of my sandwich with the vegan chicken salad and it tasted great!

This product is local, too. It's made in Brown(s?) Summit, near Greensboro. I haven't found any info on it online, but the producer's contact info IS on the package...well, hello there, neighbor...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sheesh, is that Cheese?

I went to Deep Roots Market recently and grabbed a bunch of to-dos to make a sandwich. An unexpected lunch buy but good because I could use the groceries for more than a day though, of course, the Rice Dream mocha pie was eaten up ASAP. And I mean ASAP.

I mean, can I get Rice Dreams ice cream bars and pies in packs of, oh, about 500? Thanks.

Check out the grocery bag items below. All vegan, all tasty. All new to me (except the Rice Dream, of course) and pretty exciting!


Ok. Searching for this "chicken" salad's brand brought me t ONESTOPNATURAL, which I had never heard of. Looks hardcore. Will read about it later. The ingredients are listed there. Pretty basic stuff. We demonize "processesed foods" a lot and I will still do it (evil) but I do figure that vegans and vegetarians eat there share of processed food such as the top two ingredients in this vegan chicken salad. Well, I better not stick to that assumption; I'll learn more aout Textureized Vegetable Protein (TVO) and Isolated Soy Protein later...

I am not that into fake meats (I love this post on the topic) but when I recently tried Gardein for the first time, their frozen tenders, I realized that, damn, even the fake chicken is seemingly less-processed than "real" frozen chicken. Ugh. I hate talking about animals like that; I just watched Food, Inc. yesterday for the first time (where it was noted that industrial farms aren't raising animals, they're raising food).

Well, this vegan "chicken" salad (quotes added) tasted...great! I mean, I was never into chicken salad and the best I've had was recently (shhh!, don't tell! my bad!) from Hogan's Groovy Gourmet, but this seemed like a great substitute. It had the flavor of a chicken salad but I attribute that to the spices and mayonnaise. The TVP may not have had the texture of chicken but, let's be serious, how often does chicken have the texture of chicken?

Sad but true.

NEXT...Totally Nuts Cashew Cheese

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Gnam Gnam not that, please.



A great grilled veggie salad with a not-too-tart balsamic dressing; warm in a frozen plate! That was kinda cool.

I wrote about going to Gnam Gnam Gelato before here. I've been there a few times since then and have loved the sorbet so far. Since Gnam Gnam is basically pretty far out of the way for me, I don't plan on going there often, but I'll know what to get if I do go there. The issue I had the first time I went there was that though I knew that it was a gelato shop, I wanted to know if there were any non-dairy items (you know, the dirty word, "vegan"). I hated asking that not because I didn't want to be a bother (like I sometimes feel) but because I felt like I was saying..."I know you sell this item and it's the name of your shop, but would you have something else that isn't that?" if you can imagine how I would feel like I was insulting someone's realized dream of opening up a gelato shop.

Sigh.

I was assured that the sorbets had no eggs or milk/dairy so I got myself a nice mix. I realized a bit later that the cute wafer that is added in your cup is probably not vegan but...too little, too late, eh?

I sat at a table and watched as a woman came in with her child and requested the same I did: a non-dairy product. But, it felt like a slightly different situation. She was asking because it was for her child, her child that had an allergy to the ingredients she was questioning. If I remember correctly, she thanked the server for using fresh scoops for the sorbets. I wouldn't have thought that they would mix the spoons between the flavors but in any case, that was nice of the server if she did it.

The journey towards veganism continues...

By the way, I just started playing rec softball and realized I needed a mitt or glove or whatever it's called. A non-leather glove? Yeah, it probably exists but apparently "leather is the best." Hmmm...time to Google and such...