My Super Suburban Weekend

You know you’re getting older when you spend an entire weekend acting out the life of a suburban housewife and you find it to be AWESOME.  You see there was a time not too long ago where I would be so pumped each week to spend the weekend getting dressed up to go out and about, stay up late, dance, etc.  Now I’m finding that what I really enjoy about the weekend is the time it provides for relaxation as well as actually getting some stuff done, all of it close to home.

On Friday night I attended a soup swap at the home of a neighbor.  In preparation, I spent Thursday night making an unreasonable amount of soup:Grown Up 001That’s five quarts, and there had to be at least another quart or two still on the stove at this point.  I had both of my largest stockpots going simultaneously to cook it all and it still barely fit!

Each participant in the soup swap brings 5 quarts of frozen soup and puts it on a big table in the middle of a room.  We had 25 people (so, 125 quarts of soup!).  Then you draw numbers and take turns picking a soup off the table.  Whoever’s soup is gone first gets a prize.  Also, whoever’s soup is gone last gets a prize.Grown Up 007

I chose to make my Easiest Lentil Soup for the swap, because it is one of my favorite things to eat in the world and  everyone loves lentil soup, right?Grown Up 006

My humble entry (1 of only 5 vegetarian options, only 3 of which were vegan) did not come in last (thank goodness), though it was near the end.  People seemed much more interested in the bacon- and cream-filled soups.  Oh well. [Oh, and that Carrot Soup with Lemon and Ginger next to mine?  Sounds veg-friendly, doesn’t it?  But it’s not.  It’s made with chicken broth.  This was actually the case with like 50% of the soups there.  Why do people insist on ruining perfectly good soups with chicken broth?  Food for thought: if you used vegetable broth, it would taste pretty much EXACTLY the same AND it could be enjoyed by more people.  K end of rant.]

I actually had a wonderful time at the soup swap and it was a great chance to meet some ladies from town.  And drink wine.  Plus, the lack of veg options worked out to H’s advantage because I ended up using all of my turns to pick out stuff for him!

On Saturday, H was out helping his brother move and so I had some time to do some work around the house.  In addition to cleaning and grocery shopping, I also got a new rug for our sitting room and a fun new apparatus for my kitchen:Grown Up 011

It makes the whole kitchen feel so much more organized.   I’m in love.Grown Up 008Yup, organizing my kitchen is what excites me these days.

We stayed in on Saturday night and enjoyed Netflix and this:
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On Sunday morning, I got in a Ragnar training run (in short sleeves!!) before we headed out to have brunch at Walnut Grille with friends who were visiting from out of town.

I got the Mighty Greek omelet (veganized as a tofu scramble with Daiya):Grown Up 014It was tasty but definitely benefited from the liberal addition of hot sauce and ketchup.

After brunch it was time to get ready for the Superbowl!  To get in the Seattle spirit, I enjoyed a homemade iced mocha:
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To make: nuke 1/2 cup nondairy milk (I used unsweetened almond-coconut) with 1 tbsp. dark chocolate chips for about 1 minute and stir until chips are melted.  Add 8 oz. cold coffee and lots of ice cubes.  If you’re feeling feisty (and I usually am), throw some Kahlua in there and go to town.

We went to a party at our neighbors’ house (not the soup swap neighbor) and brought Spinach Artichoke Dip with Garlic Cashew Cream OBVIOUSLY, and Skittles for Marshawn and also guacamole.

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This was the best guacamole I’ve ever made.  Seriously it was outrageously good.  I mean really how can you fail when you’re working with something as gorgeous as this:Grown Up 018
You can’t.

Well, maybe you can if you’re this guy:
Grown Up 022So, in summation, my suburban weekend consisted of a soup swap, cleaning, grocery shopping, staying in, running, brunch, and a neighborhood Superbowl party (complete with small children).  I’m not even mad.

How was your weekend?  Any good Superbowl eats?


One of the best pieces of healthy-eating advice I was ever given was to incorporate a rainbow of colors into my daily diet. Doing so provides the body with a wide and diverse variety of essential nutrients. Plus, it looks beautiful! I especially love going to salad bars and piling my plate with all the different colors. I also love putting meals together that incorporate a rainbow, and presenting them in a way that showcases their beauty. Below, some photos of rainbow meals or dishes that I’ve prepared and enjoyed. Thinking about them makes me happy on these cold winter days…

A mango and tomato salsa that Dad and I made last summer, tossed with lime juice, finely chopped onion, and cilantro–SO fresh and delicious!

I bought these absolutely gorgeous groceries and just had to arrange them nicely in a bowl…here we have avocados, lime, lemon, tomato, mango, fresh basil on the left, and fresh cilantro on the right. Pretty sure I was making guacamole that afternoon!

A typical snack for A.Cook…delicious sugar snap peas, baby carrots, and grape tomatoes. YUM.

And finally…

My rainbow of roasted potatoes! Despite the dark picture, I’m sure you can see that this dish contained red, yellow, and purple potatoes! I had never had purple potatoes before this, and though I found them a little starchier and less enjoyable than the others, it won’t stop me from eating them in the future, because really, how can you not love a naturally purple food??

The Finals Chow-down

Once again it is that time of semester when I am exceptionally busy and constantly exhausted. Law school finals are no laughing matter, and I’ve got four of them to contend with in the next two weeks, so wish me luck! After this post it’s back to studying Civil Procedure and Sales Contracts for the next 12 hours, with a 30-45 min. walk/run break. Joy.

Despite my impending exams, I’ve been feeling pretty great lately, mostly due to the major improvement in weather, and the fact that it lets me study outside! It’s also put me in the mood to cook light and edge toward more summery dishes. I cannot even express how excited I am for long, warm days and amazing summer produce…

Anyway, the theme of this post, I guess, is kind of a mixture of quick eats (suitable for finals time) and lighter stuff (suitable for days of lighter eating…yay summer!!).

First up, a beautiful Hummus & Tabbouleh Collard Salad that I threw together recently.

This baby is seriously filling, mostly due to the large quantity of raw collards that form its base.  This is 4 collard leaves, rolled into cigar shapes and then chopped, 4 T. of hummus, and 4 T. of tabbouleh.  The entire thing has less than 200 calories and contains around 8g protein and 7g fiber.   And it’s delicious, obviously!

Next is a little thing I like to call Taco Rice

Basically this is basmati rice that I cooked up with “taco” spices (chili powder, a little cumin, some oregano) with a similarly-spiced hodge podge of diced tomato, black bean, and Smart Ground.  This is a really fast dinner idea that works really well with variations, depending on what you have lying around that needs using up.  Last night I made another version that let me use up the remainder of a red bell pepper as well as a jalapeño.  I had the jalapeño leftover from….


Oh my goodness.  Whole Foods had a sale on avocados this past week–$1 each.  I couldn’t resist, and made 2 batches of guacamole, one for a dinner with friends, and one just to have around.  I also shared some with our neighbors since it unfortunately lasts, like, a day.  But it was soooooo good!!!   To make this, I used 4 ultra-ripe avocados (I spent time at WF finding some that were so soft that they’d probably have to get thrown out the next day), 1/3 chopped red bell pepper (orgaaanic of course), 2 T. lime/lemon juice, 2 tsp. sea salt, a few sprinkles of black pepper, and of course, a whole diced jalapeño.  The first batch I made was perfect, but the second one was not nearly spicy enough, so it eventually contained 1 3/4 whole jalapeños as well as a couple dashes of cayenne pepper.  Perfection!

Two more things (sorry for such a long post but I have been gone far too long!):

1) Scripp Networks has recently launched a really interesting new food & beverage website,  They have asked me to contribute blog posts on there, which I am obviously thrilled about!!! As the only vegan contributor, I will be doing sort of product-review/trend alert sort of posts, and posting about once a week. You guys should check it out 🙂


2) I’m participating in Chocolate Covered Katie’s New Foods Challenge, and here is my first entry!  Funny enough, I discovered that there aren’t all that many fresh foods in my WF that I haven’t tried, probably because I have such a love affair with produce!  So anyway, these caught my eye and I tried them: Dark Chocolate Covered Mulberries

I wasn’t aware that mulberries were, like, a real thing existing outside of a children’s song, but there you are. They are delicious and right up Katie’s alley! Highly recommended.