Good Change In The Air

My mom brought me this diminutive bouquet of English daisies and buttercups to cheer me up the other day.

My treasured elderberry is budding out!  Since I will be digging it out of its bed in the next couple of weeks to transport to California I doubt it will fruit.  The buds will probably just die off.  But the sight of these umbels is still thrilling.

I almost didn’t spot this artichoke in the tall waving quack grass.  There’s one more bud out there so we may get to eat two artichokes this year before we leave.  I intend to grow a bunch of them at my father in law’s if he’ll let me.  I want to marinate my own artichoke hearts eventually.  That’s my favorite way to eat artichokes.

Philip got a job!  He starts on June 1st so he came back up north to us to finish a couple of freelance projects and to help us start packing.  We’re so beyond excited that he got a job (with health benefits!!!!) that we’re kind of floating at the moment.  There’s a lot we have to do for this move to happen and go smoothly and I’m a little overwhelmed but I’m so much less stressed knowing that this part of our life is now settled and we can turn our attention elsewhere.

Some of the things we have to do are use up everything in our freezer.  I think I’ll be making and eating a lot of muffins.  I’ll have to check it every few days to see what I can do with it.  It’s hard to focus on the freezer when the farmer’s market has such amazing produce all of a sudden.  Carrots, favas, spinach, lettuce, and the first zucchinis!  I made an amazing minestrone soup on Friday using mostly fresh local produce and fresh herbs from my garden (I used a tiny bit of loveage, a bunch of oregano, and some parsley and thyme).  It was one of the best soups I’ve made in a long time!  I will be making it again and then I will post the recipe here.  Maybe next week or by the end of this week.

It’s also time for me to start counting calories again and tracking my exercise.  Yes, I know, I said I was going to do that a million times before and as recently as two months ago so what happened?  All that stress and not sharing what was going on and Philip being in a heightened state of stress undermined me completely.  Now that things are lining up and we’re headed home I feel like I can focus on my health.  To me this means eating cheese in much more modest amounts (time to start practicing for my dairy free cooking challenge that begins in August!) and eating smaller portions and really ramping up my fresh produce (not smothered in cheese) intake.  More fruit.  Fruit is not much in season right now and I’m easing up my local food restrictions to help me make the transition to a cleaner better diet.  Don’t be disappointed in me – please! I bought bananas and I’ll be buying cucumbers too and some other things not in season that normally I wouldn’t be buying right now.  Whatever it takes to transition my eating from super cheese laden to much lighter – I’m going to do what it takes.

It turns out I don’t get to go to BlogHer Food in Seattle and I’m bummed about that.  I’m bummed until I realize that the reason I can’t go is because we have huge moving expenses coming up and a paycheck gap between Philip’s new job and old job and the weekend it happens he will have just started work and can’t come be with the kid.  So the second I feel bummed I remember how HAPPY I am that Philip has a job and how excited he is to work for his new company.

Instead I may (big uncertainty here) be able to attend the big BlogHer event that’s in NYC again in August.  We’ll have moved and there’s a good chance that with Philip’s new pay we’ll be able to afford it.  So I want to lighten up before that.

The big thing is that I need to make some shifts and it’s like moving a mountain – but I know that once I get going, once I make a little progress it will be much easier to keep going.  Once I move back to Santa Rosa I am going to join the YMCA which is only a small walk from my new house.  I belonged to the Y for years when I used to live there and I made good use of the gym to lose the weight I gained while pregnant.  The Y is a great place to work out and has some really good fitness classes as well, though I prefer the elliptical and weights.

One last thing before I get back to work – I got two more Culinaria books – the one for Hungary and one for Russia and they are great!!  I intend to convert a few recipes from those books to vegetarian recipes.  The Russian diet isn’t necessarily known to be thin-inducing but they use buckwheat a lot and I’m going to learn to make that well.  I grew up eating buckwheat with steamed vegetables and loved it.  I tried making buckwheat last year and it turned to complete mush on me.  I think the Culinaria instructions deserve a try.  The only difference I’ll make is I’ll only use one tablespoon of butter or oil instead of an entire stick of butter.

I also got a couple of vegan cookbooks from the library and there are some good ideas in them but “The Conscious Cook” relies heavily on processed meat replacements and soy products.  I love tofu but I’m not a fan of highly processed soy products.  That’s one of the things I object to in a lot of vegan cooking.  If I was ever to be vegan I would want most of my food to be free of processed vegan products.  I can see how useful vegan mayonnaise is and when I go dairy free I’ll definitely be using that.  But no fake processed cheeses.  I don’t eat fake processed cheese based on dairy so I won’t use non-dairy versions.  Have you looked at the ingredients on tofu-dogs?  They’re no better than regular ones.  Maybe even worse.

Anyway, I’m ready to start eating better than I have been.  Time to go have a look at the freezer!

Have a great Sunday!

7 thoughts on “Good Change In The Air

  1. NM

    I am happy for you. And I love your violet teacup.
    Mayonnaise doesn’t contain dairy products.

  2. angelina Post author

    That’s true – I was thinking of using the vegan kind when considering doing vegan meals for a year. I may still work with the vegan one for some vegan dishes.

    I love that teacup too – so bummed I broke the saucer that goes with it.

  3. Chelsea



  4. angelina Post author

    ME TOO!!!! I spent last night not drinking beer and instead sitting in bed looking through my cookbooks for dairy free and vegan recipes or recipes that would convert really well. I’m getting myself inspired.

    AND I CAN’T WAIT TO GO TO THE Y! (are you still a member and would want to meet up there for workouts?)


    Oooh – and sewing too! Maybe I’ll finally finish my really cool quilt and then work on making a quilt for the wonderful quilt top my friend Pam made me. Sewing!

  5. Chelsea

    Of course I still belong to the Y!!

    But do I go to the Y??


    Because I have no friend to keep tabs on me!!! (plus a gazillion more excuses…)

    Sewing would be awesome! I, too, have about 6 quilt tops and nothing finished. We could sandwich and maybe even quilt together like old Amish ladies (who drink). They also just started a Modern Quilting Guild in Petaluma and I’m dying to go!

    So thrilled Phillip got the job! I know you’ll miss the U-picks, but at least you’ll get a break from Jesus…

    Ahh, so contented you’re coming back…

    cannot wait!!

  6. angelina Post author

    Thank you B!!

    Chelsea- today was a really horrible day – one of those days that you want to skewer on metal sticks and burn over fire. That good. Reading your comment just made it so much better! I felt so alone all day but to know that you are really looking forward to me coming home – it’s the best. Normally I don’t do well with group type stuff but I’d totally check out the modern quilting Guild with you – that could be a lot of fun and I’m really inspired by a lot of modern quilt designs. It would fulfill a dream of mine to have a cupboard full of hand made quilts. (Even though its a climate in which one really doesn’t need many. Whatever.) Would you be interested in walking Spring lake when it’s not too hot? I did enjoy doing that with you too. All I have to do is keep packing and hang on. Yes, the u-picks were great here, but I’m determined to either find some in Sonoma or to work out deals with farms buying bulk and also growing stuff on my FIL’s property. (He has no idea of my plans for his property – haha). Must stop chattering – your comment just made up for the horrible day.

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