The puppy excuse

I’ve been trying to get the backyard finished but have run into a few little hiccups – there are 2 trees back there (the quintessential “weed trees” that are all up in the wires and need to be removed (read: expensive). It was early January when I moved into the house, so determining where I was going to plant my summer veggies was a bit premature I am discovering. The leaves started coming in, and then plateaued. The backyard still received mostly full sun, so I happily built some easy cinder block beds and planted some starts and sprouted seeds.

backyardprogress

And then more leaves appeared. And more. The backyard is now mostly shaded. Booo! The front yard, which was mostly shady during the winter is now, surprise surprise, full sun. So this weekend, I will be doing some vegetation juggling and throwing down more grass seed, clover seed, and planting ground covers. Until then, let me show you the real reason I haven’t completed much around the house…

greta1

greta 2

greta vesper

Meet Greta. She is the newest addition to the Hasen Haus – a rescue 4 month old shepherd mix puppy from Justice Rescue. I’ve had her for 3 weeks and she’s already made herself at home, and grown! The cats are not thrilled about Greta’s presence, and Vesper has taken to living under the couch for the time being. I really am hopeful that things get better between the cats and dogs, but until then…this snuggly soft puppy isn’t letting any hissing get her down!

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Running + Canoeing

Things have been busy over here in the Hasen Haus. March and April were a little derailed for me, but now after some long thoughts and re-prioritizing my goals and life I feel back on track. So how about some sharing of things I’ve done?

Last year I ran my first half marathon. I do not consider myself a runner but rather a bicycle rider who runs, so long distance running is hard for me. It’s mostly a mental block around the long distance and I discovered that 13.1 miles is a horrible amount. I came in 4th to last (not last!) and completed in a touch over 3 hours. The course was hilly at the beginning and end (and by hills, I mean HILLS) and I didn’t stick to my training plan towards the end of my pre-race training. But, I finished! And then swore I wouldn’t do it again. And then signed up for my second half marathon 4 days later (wait, what?). I was all slated to run in the Love Run at the end of March 2014, but this time sticking to a training plan to appropriately increase mileage.

Well…my body decided that wasn’t going to happen. I will go out on a limb here (pun intended) and say that this running injury is all my own fault. I increase mileage quicker than I should have and when achilles heel pain started at the end of August last year I ignored it…and ignored it…and ignored it. One morning in early 2014, I woke up like normal and put my feet to the ground next to my bed and could barely walk on my right foot. My entire right heel sole felt like a massive bruise, and man did that hurt! I put my feet up and stopped running while contemplating what to do. Ultimately, I canceled my bib number and received a partial refund for my entry fee and worked on swimming and weights at the local YMCA instead of running. I didn’t think I would miss running…

I started having dreams about running.

Many dreams about running.

And it felt like flying.

Weird.

Come April, I ran a couple of times knowing that I had an epicly awesome race coming with my dear friend J. We were teamed up for a running and canoe race in the Perkiomen Watershed – the Lenape Survival Challenge. Our unofficial team name was/is Teamnacity, cause we are tenacious beasts of awesome. I even whipped up a couple of team uniform cotton flannel cowls, embroidered with our initials and team name of course, from the lovely line of fabrics ‘Take a Hike’ from Jack and Lulu for Dear Stella. I mean, how often do you see fabric with canoes on them, right before you are entering a canoe race?!

teamnacity-1

The race boasted a 4.6 mile run followed by a 2+ mile canoe. Mind you, I have never canoed in my life. My teammate is a native of Cape Cod. She has canoed a lot. Mind you, this also included a 500ft elevation at the end. This turned out to be a ski slope. Literally, running up the backside of the slope and down the front. I kid you not. This was an intense route and this was the first race that both of us had run in 2014(my break due to my achilles, and J’s due to a knee injury). Of course the famed West Philly Runners cleaned up like gazelles while Teamnacity swept up the back end. We completed in 1hr 42min, and were really not all that far behind the pack.

teamnacity-2

teamnacity-3

teamnacity-4

Man, was this a great time! I learned to canoe on the fly, while canoeing and steering through some sections with rocks and fast running water and strategically placed dive teams (what!). We did not flip the canoe once! Apparently, lots of other teams had trouble staying in their boat. We came in 2nd to last, but mostly because the sweepers didn’t let themselves beat us.

Teamnacity will be back next year, for sure! That was awesome.

teamnacity-5

Now I need to figure out where I can canoe locally and how insane (or smart?) it would be to have my own canoe that I toted around by bike…hmmmm…

Old to new

Life has been pretty busy since I bought a house in early December. The holidays came flying by, followed by a very busy work month of January. Now that I’m finally getting back to a normal busy life instead of work-all-the-time busy, I can actually get elbow deep in settling into my new home. I’m about half unpacked but as I started to unpack my meager belongings, in a space that is at least 3 times the size of my 1 bedroom apartment, I found that I needed more storage, shelving, cabinet type pieces. Not wanting to buy brand new or IKEA, I’ve been casually looking online at Craigslist and other vintage/antique wood furniture local finds. The snowy days we’ve had in Philadelphia has created the love of all of my vintage wool blankets, that I received in the splitting of the stuff before Kasy moved onto his boat. The downside of so many lovely wool blankets is…where do you put them in a house built in the 1920s (read: no closets except small weirdly shaped bedroom ones). My new focus – wooden trunks.

blanket trunk 1

Of course, since getting back into blogging is still new for me, I forgot to take a before picture of the trunk. It was beautiful but dusty, dirty, and in desperate need of some oil. After a quick google session, and remembering that I have a full bottle of Ecover Wood Floor Soap, I set out to clean up this little number with my morning coffee. Using the bits of information I gleaned from the internet, I found that by using clean towels and rubbing (with the grain) the wood soap into the wood that it would take up the dirt while oiling the trunk. I used more soap than needbe, wanting to let the linseed oil really penetrate the wood to protect and nourish it long term. I’m going to let it sit overnight, and then wipe any excess oil off before placing any of my prized woolens into it.

wood trunk 2

And here it is! Looking gorgeous and filling out the wee little landing perfectly. I’m sure the cats will appreciate a new sitting location, as well, since it will allow them to view all the activity on both floors while staying out of the way.

For anyone in Philadelphia, I purchased this item from Attainable Vintage, along with another wooden trunk and a fantastic highboy style dresser. Both of those pieces still need some restoration love, but I am really excited to welcome all three of these into my house.

a vacation of firsts

first time visiting wisonsin.
first time camping alone.
first time going on a bike tour alone.
first time vacationing alone.
first time heading to a place where i know nobody.
first time i’m going to have to put my bicycle together by myself.
first time i’m planning the logistics, from beginning to end.

unpacked

packed

getlost

i’m nervous and excited to do this trip, which i have deemed my spirit quest. this is going to be a big trip for me, since i will not have the loving and logistic filled embrace of all of the planning that kasy would always do for any of our bike tours. after years of watching him do the heavy lift of logistic planning, i know that i know what to do and i know that i am capable. this is the first time i will force my own hand in doing it all myself.

this is growth.
this is summer vacation.
this is going to be awesome.

see you in a couple of weeks!

Recipe | Vegan Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese

Of course I had all good intentions of posting this back when the weather was still primarily winter feeling, here in Philadelphia, but life got in the way as it sometimes tends to. Spring has arrived and the weather has been absolutely lovely, but evenings are still pretty chilly. I’m sure dinners of warm comfort food will still be desired for a few more weeks until the evenings warm up. Perhaps something like this is exactly what you’re looking for…

Vegan Pumpkin Macaroni + Cheese

Vegan Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese Sauce
Time: barely anything, especially if you do this while boiling pasta and sauteeing veggies
Yeilds: enough to generously coat 1lb of pasta and sauteed veggies

-1 can of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
-2.5 cups of water
-2 tbsp mustard
-1 cup nutritional yeast
-1/4 cup flour
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp garlic
-1 tsp black pepper
-dash of soy sauce

1. Whisk together pumpkin puree, water, and mustard until evenly combined
2. Add all dry ingredients and whisk until evenly combined
3. Either simmer on the stove, in a pot, until bubbling and thickened or pour over cooked pasta and your choice of sauteed veggies, in a large casserole dish, and bake in the oven at 300F for 15 minutes.

I prefer to pour over cooked pasta and sauteed veggies, and mix really well to make sure the sauce is evenly distributed and coating everything as well as possible (I tend to mix straight in the casserole dish, mostly out of a desire to not dirty another pot or bowl). Pop the casserole dish into the oven, at an estimated 300F, and bake until it’s a little thicker and bubbly (you’re preference on casserole consistency might be different from mine, so do a visual check to see when you want to take it out and serve). Somehow the consistency and warmth of that process is exactly what I want when I yearn for comfort food like this.

In the photo above, I used this sauce with penne pasta, homemade seitan that was chopped and sauteed until crispy in soy sauce, and local kale, also sauteed. It was so good, I think I’m making it again for dinner tonight. Best part, as a single gal this amount of food is enough for 2 dinners and a lunch. Talk about advanced, delicious, meal planning.

Enjoy!

Recipe | Vegan Curry Carrot + Sweet Potato Dip!

Move over soups. I might start becoming obsessed with making dips.

Curry Carrot + Sweet Potato Dip!

By nature, I love condiments and dips. Sometimes I choose food to eat based purely on the sauce, dip, whatever I will be dipping it in. I am a dipper. When I eat a veggie burger, I cut it in half and dip it in ketchup, but let’s not get into ketchup and my undying love for it. That deserves a whole love letter post.

Tonight I’m getting together with some of my favorite knitter lady friends for some guilty pleasure television season premier episode watching. We love Pretty Little Liars. Don’t hate. That show is the best worst show ever, and thoroughly addictive. I wanted to bring a snack and felt the pull of my cookbook bookcase to figure out what to make. I don’t often remember to leaf through these great books I have, but I am glad that I did today.

Veganomicon is a great cookbook, if you don’t already know, but I’ve not ventured into the Dips section before. In fact, there is a whole lot of things in this particular book I haven’t made. The Curry Carrot dip immediately jumped out at me as something that would be delicious and a crowd pleaser, and lucky for me I just got a nice bunch of carrots from my winter CSA with Greensgrow. I had to modify the recipe a bit, since I didn’t have a full pound of carrots. I added a sweet potato (also from my CSA) and used cumin, coriander, and tumeric instead of a general “curry” powder. I think you’ll like this dip. It has the texture of hummus and tastes different from the usual dips we have at parties and get togethers.

Grab some pita chips and crackers and get cooking, friends!

Curry Carrot + Sweet Potato Dip!

    Vegan Curry Carrot + Sweet Potato Dip

(adapted from the Curried Carrot Dip in Veganomicon)

Time: 25 min plus chill time
Yeilds: at least 2 cups, depending on the amount of carrots and sweet potato you use.

Ingredients
-half a pound of carrots, peeled and cut into small cubes
-one or two sweet potatoes (I used one very large one)
-1/4 c roasted sunflower seeds, salted
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-1/2 tsp minced garlic
-1 tsp cumin
-1 tsp corriander
-1/2 tsp tumeric
-1/4 tsp salt
-juice from half a fresh cut lemon
-1 c water

1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil and boil carrots and sweet potato until soft. Drain and set aside to cool.
2. Place sunflower seeds in a blender or food processor (I used a blender) and process into crumbs.
3. Add 1 c of water first, then the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Depending on the amount of vegetable you have in your machine, and the texture you prefer for dips, you might want to add more or less water.
4. Adjust salt and spices as you prefer.
5. Transfer to a covered container and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Dust with cinnamon before serving, if you like!

I hope you enjoy this dip as much as I do. I know that I’ll be keeping this in the back of my mind for all future parties I host.

Recipe | Vegan Smokey Black Bean Soup

Hurricane Soup

First soup of 2013 has been made, inaugurating my new 6qt dutch oven and filling my apartment with delicious smells.

I mixed this soup up, for the first time, in the fall during Hurricane Sandy and then perfected the recipe for a soup swap with the South Philly Co-op and have been meaning to make it for myself, again, ever since. So here we are, on the third day of the New Year, with a freezer that has no homemade soup in it, and the desire for warm comfort.

Vegan Smokey Black Bean Soup

Vegan Smokey Black Bean Soup

Vegan Smokey Black Bean Soup

Vegan Smokey Black Bean Soup

Vegan Smokey Black Bean Soup

Ingredients

o 1 large onion, chopped
o 2 large carrots, chopped
o 3 stalks celery, chopped
o 2 cups of cooked black beans, whole
o 3 cups of cooked black beans, blended/ground
o 4 cups of vegetable broth
o 1 can of crushed tomato (28oz)
o 1 tbsp. garlic powder
o 1 tsp. chili powder
o 2 tsp. ground cumin
o 1 tsp. liquid smoke
o 2 tsp. salt
o 1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
o Black pepper to taste

……………………………………………………………..

Yeilds ~ 3 quarts

1. Heat skillet w/ some olive oil and sweat the onion, carrots,
celery, sprinkled with black pepper, for 5 min.

2. In a large pot, combine the vegetable broth, crushed
tomato, whole black beans, and all seasonings. Bring to a
boil.

3. Add vegetables from skillet and blended/ground beans.

4. Boil for 25 minutes. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes to
thicken.

a love letter

friday night vegan borscht

I have not always loved soup.
In fact, I downright hated it for most of my life.
I prefer cold foods to hot.
I don’t think food that comes from a can is good.
I like to chew my food instead of drinking it.

….and yet, 4 years ago I tried making my own soup for the very first time.
And everything changed.
I love soup.
All year long.
I make it constantly, freezing it for later use, gifting it to friends, reading soup recipes when I should be doing work.
I make so much soup that I am researching small chest freezers because I have outgrown my freezer capacity.

These days, in post-breakup reality, cooking for one has become more of a chore than a labor of love.
Cooking for one is damn hard, as my default is to cook for 3-4 rather than single, solo me.
Soup has become my go-to perfection meal, especially since it just gets tastier and tastier as the days pass on.

So, dearest soup. This holiday season, I thank you for your warm embrace.

As I end this hellish year of 2012, I am working on some soup recipes of my own to share with the world.

Perhaps you will make them to share with yourself, or your family, or your loved ones, or strangers.

Happy Solstice, internet.

rising and setting

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with the sky. Clouds and colors and textures and everything. Riding a bike is one of the best ways to really have time to spend with a sunrise or a sunset. As you move in the environment, you can watch everything above you change second by second, minute by minute.

I’ve been thinking a lot about why I’m so attracted to everything above me and while I haven’t come up with any solid reason, I’ve found a few nuggets of information that I often forget.

The sky makes me feel small. It makes me feel a part of something so much larger and more amazing than the humdrum that society hammers down our throats telling us that it is what we should be caring about. The sky is unpredictable but always there. No matter how many beautiful clouds, sunrises, or sunsets you see, the future always holds more. When you’re caught up in your own spiral of being stressed out or busy or unhappy or unfulfilled or uninspired, you can look up and see something natural and incredible. And it’s free. This is something we can all see, if we just take the time to look up every now and then.

I take a lot of pictures of the sky, and in general I prefer a sunrise over a sunset. Philadelphia has been the host to some absolutely incredible skyscapes over the past few months and I look forward to what the sky will look like this winter, as I enter my third season of my new life at 30.

That’s another thing the sky does. When you begin to wonder how the hell did my life become this, you can look up and be reminded that life isn’t a linear path of logic. It too is a swirling thing full of color, texture, sunlight, and clouds. And if one day it’s unimpressive, the future still holds some amazing sunrises.

good evening, west philadelphia

good morning, philadelphia

the day after

good morning

Vegan Pumpkin-Oatmeal-Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Let me introduce you to your new favorite cookie to bake. I started playing around with vegan pumpkin-oatmeal-chocolate chunk cookies during the past month, and have come to a nice mashup between recipes online.

They are delicious. They are cakey. They are not too sweet. They are amazing dipped in coffee. Enjoy!

……………………..

Vegan pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chunk cookies

Yeilds – a lot of cookies, and all depends on the size of cookies you make

Ingredients:
2.5 cups of all purpose flour
1.5 cups of rolled oats
1.5 cups of sugar
1 cup of Earth Balance, melted (OR 2/3 cups of vegetable oil)
1 can of pumpkin puree (not pie filling!)
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
cinnamon and nutmeg to taste (I like lots)
2-3 tablespoons of molasses (depending on how much you like molasses)
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1 teaspoon vanilla
1.5 cups of chocolate chips or chunks*

*the store was out of chocolate chips when I was getting ingredients, so I purchased a 1 lb bar of dark chocolate and used a knife to chop flakes/chunks to use instead.

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • mix dry ingredients, except chocolate chips/chunks
  • mix wet ingredients
  • fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients
  • mix in chocolate chips/chunks
  • scoop dough and place on ungreased cookie sheet approx 1.5 inches apart, flattening the dough
  • bake for approx 15 minutes or until the bottom edges are slightly browned