Saturday, July 31, 2010

Lychee Lime-aid and Kitties?

Lychee Lime-aid

4 limes (juiced)
1 cup of lychee berries (peeled and pitted)
1 cup of water
2/3 cup of sugar

After peeling the lychee berries and juicing the limes, add all ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth.  This may take several minutes to break the berries down.  Chill for 30 minutes.

Lychee berries are a lot of fun.  Now that they are in season, I grabbed a small bag at the Asian farmers market.  I had the idea of making a lime-aid when I noted the limes were 10 for $0.99.  It all came together in the kitchen a few hours later.

If you have never used lychee berries, they can be a bit filmy so make sure you rinse them well after you peel them.  Also, this drink is very rich, if you want it a bit less tart, add more water.

Early in the day, Ashley and I took a road trip to Cosmo's Vegan Shoppe.  We browsed around and I ended up getting some match meats.  I have never used them so we will see how it goes.

Once we got back to my house, I began making the lychee lime-aid and Ashley went to the front yard.  I went to see what she was up to and saw this little bugger and it's 3 sibling on my front porch!

It seems that they may have been living under my back deck or even in my crawl space.  They look like they around about 5 weeks old.  I am not sure if they are strays, feral, or just run away domestics.  As much as I like cats and miss Tato, I do not really want 4 kitten to live with me.  I am much more of an old cat guy.  These kids sure were cute though!

I am not sure what to do.  I have been putting food out for them because it looks like their mom is gone.  I may end up taking them to a shelter.  They are very skidish and run when i get close to them.  I do not really want to force them into domestication, I am not sure what to do.

Friday, July 30, 2010


After a week of garden neglect due to vacationing, my veggies were in sad shape.  Over the last week, I have casually been paying more attention to them and it has been rewarding.

I noted the first major veggie from my new house!  It is a bell pepper.  I think this one will grow to be orange once it is full grown.

Also, late in the season, I planted some okra.  I have never grown okra before but I hear they are very resilient.  They were somewhat withered when I got back but after several days of watering, they sprung back to life and even showed their appreciation by offering me my first home grown okra!  I will give it another day or so to get full grown but this rocks!  I am not sure what I will do with one lone okra but we will see.

Next summer I hope to have more time and dedication to a large space and hopefully, I will not lose all of my herbs to the bunnies.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Blueberry Muffins and general food update

Since being back from vacation, I have been pretty busy.  I have a closing that I am working diligently on and have still been putting in too many hours at the jobby job.  I have also been being plan my next trip.  In the beginning of September, I will be meeting my mum and my brother in Las Vegas and we will be heading out to the Grand Canyon and beyond.  It will be another great trip and it is only about a month away.

The food in the last week have been minimal.  I have been too busy catching up to do much innovating cooking.  I have just been pumping out the classics.

Veggies with cucumber and dill dressing with soy chicken and country potato salad

 Chocolate strawberry pancakes

I did make some blueberry muffins and realized that to my surprised, I have never posted my recipe.  Let me say it again,  I am not a good baker.  This is an easy fool proof recipe that even a potato-head baker like me can pull off.  Oh...and I don't skimp on the blueberries.

Blueberry Muffins

2 cups of flour
2 cups of blueberries
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of applesauce
1/2 cup of non-dairy milk (almond or oat is great)
1/4 cup of vegan margarine
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Pre-heat the oven at 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients and the blueberries.  Adding the blueberries with the dry ingredients will prevent them from all falling into the bottoms of the muffins as they bake.  Then add all wet ingredients and mix well

Line a muffin pan with the proper sized paper cups.  Then spoon an even amount of batter into each cup.  Bake for 35 minutes until the tops begin to brown.  Let cool for at least 20 minutes.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

One last mention

I know that for over a week now, all I have been blogging about was my vacation.  This will be the final blog dedicated to the trip.  An essay of pictures mainly.  I take many pictures, and I have to pick and choose which are the best and most relevant to share with readers.  There were far to many picture that captured the trip Ashley and I took and I wanted to share a few more.  Enjoy.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Day Nine; wild caves and wild cows. The final day.

Day Nine.

Saturday morning, Ashley and I woke up in the tent at Mammoth Cave National Park.  We packed up and prepared for what we knew would be the most strenuous day of our vacation.  It also may have been the most rewarding.

We ate some breakfast and traveled to the visitors center to sign in for our 6 hour, 6 mile caving tour.  I have taken a few walking tours of caves in my life, including an awesome one in Florida and the great Cathedral Caverns on my 29th birthday.  I never been caving.  Ashley had never even set foot in a cave.  This was going to be pretty grand.

The tour started at 10am, where after we put our pads, gloves, coveralls, and helmets on we were bussed to the cave entrance.  We forgot out hip packs and I had to pocket our water bottles.  We paraded down the walkway past several walking tour groups into the cave. Within minutes we were on our stomachs inch worming our way through the first hole.

We could tell right away, with our three guides and 14 person party that we were in for a wild adventure.  With over 200 miles of caves in the park, we were going to only see 6 miles but it would be unforgettable.  We went from crawling on your bellies, to walking through very narrow passageways with large sharp rocks jutting out on either side.

It was not long before I realized that my knee pads were not fully covering my large knees and they were rubbing raw.  I began to struggle a bit with the crawling due to the pain in my knees but I still pushed on.  Ashley, with her height impairment, struggled with the climbing on boulders and scaling up the walls of the cave.

Some sections of the cave were similar to hiking uneven ground, until we hit 50 degree water that was waist deep.  Some sections required using upper body strength to pull yourself out of holes and prevent yourself from falling dozens of feet onto ragged rock.  There was of course the claustrophobic cave crawling as well.  Belly crawls through 6 inches of thick wet mud, or passages so narrow that you are forced to turn your head to the side just to make it through the 10 inch tall rock cave.

It was an amazing experience and I can not wait to get some more in, as soon as I correct the knee pad situation.  Once we were out of the 50 degree cave, I peeled my pads off and looked at my shredded knees.  They were in bad shape.  Concerned about infection I dumped peroxide over them.  It was painful but they are beginning to heal now.

During the caving tour, we met a guy named Peter Liptak, who is an aspiring photographer.  This guy was crazy enough to bring his camera on his first caving trip.  Although he regretted it by the end, he took some great photos and Ashley and I are grateful.  All of the picture from the cave were taken by him.  Thank you Peter!

After rinsed off, Ashley and I immediately jumped in the car and headed 2 hours south to Nashville Tennessee.  I have never been to Nashville and we were only there for the night.  We were able to go get some dinner at The Wild Cow

This would be the last leg of our vacation and it was one of the better meals. We shared some nachos.  I had my second philly cheese steak ever with a side of cole slaw.  Ashley had a buffalo tempeh sandwich with a side of tofu chicken salad.  For dessert we snagged a caramel filled chocolate cupcake and an amazing slice of gluten-free chocolate cake.  The icing was some of the best icing I have ever had.  It was a lot of food but we had earned it and were starving after 6 hours caving.

This was the last day and the ride back to Atlanta in the morning would be long and sad.  The first day back from vacation is always the worst.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day Eight; mammoth and more dogs?

Day Eight.

Friday morning we got a slower start out of Louisville than we would have liked.  Once we were on the road again, it was smooth sailing to Mammoth Cave National Park.  The was the last major stop of the trip.  The heat was beginning to wear on us and we were slightly irritable.  After securing a campsite, getting out tickets for the following days caving adventure, we headed back into town to play some mini golf and check on a zip lining place.  The zip lining was closed until the following day but we got in a game of golf.

We headed back into the park to scavenge some firewood because we had picked up some vegan hot dogs (had to continue the coneyz trend) and planned to grill them on a campfire.  We also got in a short hike and saw a huge turtle on the path.  For some reason I did not take a picture.  Deer, butterflies, and wild turkeys seemed to be more populating than humans here.  We even hiked to an overlook area that was a very nice space with great views of the park.

The campfire.  Sigh.  After some difficulty with my primal manhood ability to create fire, Ashley walked to the campsite next to us and asked for help.  He brought his lighter fluid and showed me up.  Oh well.  We then began the cooking of our dogs.  We had some cilantro laying around so I threw some on the dogs as well.

I was able to get some decent campfire pictures before it went out.  Then it was a humid night of tossing and turning in the tent.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Day Seven; foodies foodies foodies, dogs dogs dogs.

Day Seven.

Thursday morning came and went quickly and Louisville was Atlanta style hot.  This was Ashley's day to shine.  Basically, it was a relaxing day with about 5 meals several snacks, some pool time at the hotel and a nap.  This was the rest stop before the last leg of the trip.

We had our lunch spot at the Third Avenue Cafe.  This was very much a diner type of place with slightly rude waitstaff, many sandwich options and more hipsters than you can count.  I had a Bar B-Que tofu sandwich with cashew coleslaw and fries. I love Bar B-Que so how could I pass up Kentucky Bar B-Que?  Ashley had the veggie cream cheese sandwich.  This place was decent but I was left with feeling that other than the Bar B-Que sauce, it was nothing special.

After a few hours of relaxing and resting our tired bodies at the hotel, we headed back out to our new favorite Louisville spot.  Cones and Coneyz!  The owner remember us from the day before and we had a nice little chat.  He seems very excited to be running a dog and ice cream shoppe and it is fun to be around him.  It seems like such a rare thing these days.  It is like he has a special relationship with each customer.  We gorged ourselves on dogs.  We had chili dogs, Chicago dogs, Coney Island dogs, it was amazing!  We even got a local root beer to share.  I wish this place was in Atlanta.

After the coneyz, we stopped back by Sweet Surrender to grab some cupcakes for a bedtime snack as we had opted to stay another night in Louisville.  They had more strawberry cupcakes and we snatched them up!  We also grabbed a chocolate cupcake, a chocolate cupcake with strawberry frosting, and a carrot cupcake with cinnamon frosting.  Still, by far, my favorite was the strawberry cake with strawberry icing.  It was great.

 We dropped the cakes off at the hotel and headed to our next food stop.  The Swan Dive.  As the name indicated, this was a dive bar.  Not my typical spot but they had an all vegan menu and there was no smoking allowed.  I would have refused to go to the most awesome vegan spot in the world if they allowed smoking.  Swan Dive was in a residential neighborhood and in someones basement.  It was very dark as you would expect.  The service was slow (maybe because we were not drinking) but the food was pretty solid.  I had my first philly cheese steak ever with some vegan mac and cheese.  Ashley had a  french dip with fries.  We shared some great buffalo not-wings.  The not-wings were fabulous and I am not generally a fan of hot wings.

As we were waiting for our food, a dog ran up to our table for some attention.  The story goes, he was a rescued bait dog for competitive dog fighting rings.  He now was living with a lawyer who was involved in the pursuit of litigation for animal abuse against the dogs abusers.  This guy was such a sweetie!  His manners were a bit lacking (he liked to jump onto our table) and I am a bit of an enabler.  I was feeding him parts of my meal under the table.  I guess, I am a softie.

This great little doggie had been bit on his head and had a massive scar. His teeth had been filed down so that he could not hurt the competitive fighting dogs.  He was in sad shape and I wanted to take him home with me.  He was a good guy.