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about that second amendment, again

I really have nothing of note to say today except that we should probably talk about that second amendment again


six great resources for vegan & vegetarian meals

In the past several months, I've stopped preparing meat at home. Because we eat the vast majority of meals there, it's been a good way to cut down on meat consumption. For a special occasion out of the home (a really nice restaurant, brunch prepared by family and friends), I'll eat meat. 90% of the time I still stick to vegetarian orders at restaurants, but I don't beat myself up for slurping down a two gallon bowl of pho with all the fixings. While my meat consumption has dwindled, it's more feasible for me to stick to this type of diet rather than a completely meatless or animal-free one.

The reasons I cut down on meat consumption to begin with are varied, but it generally has to do with trying to be a more moral consumer. It's difficult (and sometimes near impossible) to make sure meat is ethically-sourced, regardless of how it's labeled or sold—so I've tried to cut down on my consumption of it as a whole, rather than eat or buy just as much "organic" or "free range" meat, much of which is dubiously labeled as such. I'm glad that industrial farming has received more scrutiny by the mainstream media as of late, and that you can propose to treat animals like the sentient beings—capable of pain, loneliness, and suffering—that they are without being labeled a crazy hippie. I understand that not everybody has the luxury to be so picky about their food, but I think it's a good thing to be so if you do have the resources: it at least has a shot of shifting industry standards to make it more feasible for all (or more) consumers to do so. Consumerism, particularly in the United States, is a weird area fraught with a lot of misinformation and no information. Surely, if you want to, you should be able to eat meat without feeling bad or guilty about it. But you should also be able to access information about where that meat is coming from—and I hope the growing trend of people really scrutinizing the origins of food they buy and appreciating the food they eat somehow leads to decreased opacity in the business of food production.

Plus, vegan and vegetarian fare has improved drastically in both quality and quantity. I remember when, years and years ago, I first began seeing "vegan" food marketed as such, it either looked like bird food (seed-heavy and not tasteful or filling at all) or like synthetic food (totally unappetizing, which is what happens when you reduce it to a poor imitation of meat). The small changes in diet I've made since the beginning of the year have been facilitated by food blogs that offer recipes for dishes that are hearty and tasty—appetizing in their own right, and not relative to how good they are for a vegan or vegetarian dish.

So, without further delay, here are some of my tried and trues!

Daily Garnish: The recipes have, sadly, dwindled on this blog, but I love visiting the archives, still—there's definitely a bunch of goodies in there, with a nice mix of sweet and savory. I love:

Oh She Glows: You don't need me to tell you about Angie's blog, right? And her cookbook? Because everyone knows about it? There's not much to say about it other than the recipes and photography are bewilderingly fantastic and delicious. I also get most of my vegan dessert recipes here—which I think are a vast improvement on most dessert recipes, vegan or not—and also, mercifully, are not filled with things like black bean brownies. Folks, there is no reason to stick black beans in your brownies—ever. I tried it and immediately regretted it. Just don't do it. Okay? Some favorites, both sweet and savory:

101 Cookbooks: I discovered this blog during the winter I found out I was pregnant with Aaron, and it's a sentimental favorite because many of those recipes remind me of standing in our drafty Park Slope kitchen: newly pregnant, making dinner, and wearing ginormous socks (my feet were, strangely, always cold).  It's one of my happiest memories. Old standbys I love are:

Minimalist Baker: I love this blog due to the simplicity of its ingredients and preparations: if I have a bunch of groceries but didn't plan adequately for lunch or dinner (every weekend, basically), I'll usually browse through the archives to see if I can get any ideas—and I almost always get a last minute recipe. Some delicious ones:

And, for my last two notes, I have to share two things . . .

This sesame, ginger & tahini sauce from Cookie + Kate: I've only been recently following this blog, so I haven't made much from the archives, but this tahini sauce is my husband's absolute favorite and goes with pretty much everything. I use it not just for soba noodles, but also as a dressing for quinoa bowls I make almost weekly: I cook a big pot of quinoa in some veggie broth, roast whatever veggies I have on hand, caramelize some peppers and onions, fry up some cubes of tofu or tempeh, mix it all up in a big bowl, and drizzle this sauce on top. It is delicious, and really jazzes up what could be a boring mix of sad fridge leftovers. The sauce keeps well in the fridge; if it seems thick, whisk it with some warm water. Aaron will basically eat anything if this sauce is on it, which is awesome and convenient.

This basic recipe for veggie fritters from Smitten Kitchen: Whenever I find myself with leftover veggies that I really, really don't want to eat, I make them into fritters. My favorites to use are broccoli or cauliflower, although I also like doing the same with leftover zucchini or carrots. And we always seem to end up with this exact mix of veggies at the back of the fridge by Grocery Day! I generally swap out all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour, or shred some gruyere to mix in, but the basic recipe stays the same. You could also bulk these fritters up with some leftover cooked quinoa (of course, you'll need to adjust the eggs and flour ratio in that case—I normally just eyeball it). Try adjusting spices and sauces to the specific type of veggie: I like carrot fritters with cumin and citrusy yogurt sauce, and cauliflower fritters with a tiny bit of nutmeg.

And now. I am starving. Happy eating!


turkish festival in dc!

I'd seen a sign for this in the Metro, but a reader kindly reminded me that an all-day Turkish festival will be head in D.C. 11am-7pm this Sunday on Pennsylvania Avenue, between 12th and 14th Streets. We're going to try our best to head out there, although (ambitiously) we're also trying to paint our apartment this weekend, so we'll see!


reading: a morning habit


In the past week or so, I've tried to instill a habit that has made the day much, much pleasanter: I get up earlier to read for thirty minutes or so before the day starts. I know making a point of getting up earlier than your kids isn't exactly revolutionary, but previously, when I could manage to drag myself out of bed in time, I tried to get a head start in my day by cooking or (badly) tidying up everything I was too lazy to tidy up the prior evening. One of the main things that has helped in trying to read more this year is to view it as part of my day, rather than something I do when I have some downtime. Taking that time in the morning also makes me more likely to actually be productive while Aaron naps, instead of absentmindedly working, cleaning, and reading all at once—and then becoming cranky when I realize I haven't done anything well. 

So, what I am reading these mornings? 100 or so pages each day of Caleb Carr's The Angel of Darkness, sequel to The Alienist. (It's over 700 pages, so it's still taking a while!). I love the half hour each morning when I'm transported back to the last days of nineteenth century New York. 


dc so far (from my iphone)


So, as you may or may not have gathered, we arrived in DC a few weeks ago, and moved in! (To my deep regret, it was not into one of those two beautiful houses pictured above). Since then, we've managed to clear all of the cardboard boxes out of our apartment, which is great! We also don't have a couch yet, but hopefully will by this weekend. So things have been a little crazy, but good—particularly because Aaron has been having a blast wandering through the (air conditioned! free!) museums. 


We live in a leafy neighborhood that's within walking distance of my husband's work, which is a particular perk. I think, in Brooklyn, you kind of just get used to a potential forty minute commute. The range of where you're likely to work in DC is much smaller, which means a longish commute isn't likely unless you live out in Maryland or Virginia. And his hours are so regular now, which is the nicest benefit of all. Aaron is delighted (but not more than me) when his dad appears promptly at 6pm to take him to the park for an hour or so while I get dinner ready, tidy up the apartment, do some editing work, or—more often than not—stare off blankly into space. The luxury!


Maybe I'm imagining it, but our DC neighborhood seems much friendlier than your average street in New York: we've actually met some people who live here! Our neighbors upstairs have a daughter that's a few months younger than Aaron, and the two are smitten with each other. They're always banging on each others' doors to go play, which never gets old. When Aaron gets up in the morning, he often anxiously asks for her by name. It's adorable. 


Also, the city has changed so much since I lived here. Of course, having only lived in one quadrant of DC for seven straight years, it's altogether possible that I just missed some of the gems while living here as a student. For example, the week we moved in, we went to DCity Smokehouse for sandwiches (delicious)—the best fuel for hours of unpacking. Last weekend, we met some friends out for dinner and drinks, and went to this bar (just opened last November) that's located in a basement down a set of unmarked stairs, and this restaurant (I laughed while reading this Washington City Paper article, which described The Partisan as the restaurant you'd take a friend to if that friend were Ron Swanson). In the next few months, I'd also love to try Barmini, Le Diplomate, The Red Hen, and Lincoln.


Any other recommendations about restaurants and bars in the city? I'd love to hear (particularly since we've just hired a sitter!)


upstate new york


(a pretty arch outside the most beautiful restaurant)


(windswept flags)


(my favorite pair)


(a little brewery in a little town)


(rock skipping during golden hour)


(some frightening company during aaron's birthday dinner)

flowers copy

(my in-laws' backyard)


(hot dog eating . . . )


( . . . and hot dog making!)

Where we went: 
Dino BBQ (the one and only original) for Aaron's birthday
Tin Pan Galley for a date
Heid's for Aaron's birthday lunch (celebrations were obviously food oriented)