Friday, November 11, 2011

Mint Tulip-icious

Whether or not you are Vegan, you will love lunch at Mint Tulip, simple, vegan food done well. We just finished up the vegan burger and a grilled veggie sandwich. The veggie burger was a lovely shade of pink thanks to the sweet beets. With the regular burger fixin's and some vegannaise, it was very satisfying. The grilled sandwich had tomatoes, asparagus, artichokes and what I think was cashew cheese. The bread was perfectly toasted and the cheese added a nice flavor. Strangely, what really stood out for me were the sides. The potato salad was perfectly balanced with mustard and not-too-mushy potatoes. The pasta had a lovely earthiness from (roasted?) mushrooms that added a depth and intensity not usually found in a pasta salad.

The aesthetic reminds me of places we used to frequent in Portland and Seattle--good colors, quiet music and a lack of pretension. Their hours are 10-4 Monday-Saturday and dinner is served on Fridays. Tonight's menu includes polenta with grilled vegetables and a faux meatloaf.

I sincerely hope that their location near campus (2110 Central) and word of mouth will help them stay in business for a long time to come. While I am not usually out and about during lunch hours, I think we'll get here when we can. Vegan places are few and far between here in the land of carne adovada and posole and I welcome Mint Tulip with open arms!

Monday, November 7, 2011

It's Most Assuredly Fall

It's 5:30.

It's dark.

I rode home in driving sleet.

This mac and cheese recipe is in the oven and the fire is going in the woodstove.

It's definitely fall around here.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Catching Up

I've been away from the blog for quite some time now. Teaching has been occupying most of my waking hours and, sadly, left little time for writing. As the seasons are turning and things are settling down on the work front, I'm hoping to be able to write more often.

Since the last post, not too much has happened. We're down to one chicken--Buffy couldn't take the summer heat. Chippy is still clucking on and we're getting the most delicious eggs. The garden has been hit by frost. The last remaining butternuts won't make it and I wasn't able to salvage the last of the tomatoes. We've had a good run, though, considering my lack of garden attention. Here is a pic of some of the squash:
Overall I think the volunteer butternut brought in ~10 good-sized squash. Not bad for not even trying!

The haphazardly planted flowers are saying their good-byes, too. The cosmos and zinnias are finished but these are still blazing on:
I planted a "save the bees" mix from Botanical Interests and wasn't sure what was going to come up. The cosmos, zinnias and India blankets did the best. I should snag some of their seeds for next season!

Here are some long overdue pictures of our new back wall. We are so glad to have some privacy and the wall acts as a sound barrier, too.

Yes, the fence around the coop looks pathetic. Chippy figured that out right away and we've given up on trying to contain her for now. She's a free-ranger, that's for sure. The bottom of our shoes can attest to that!

We asked to have hooks for the ladder installed when the wall went up. Clever us! Thinking ahead really paid off this time.

In other Lean-to news, the North Valley Dirt Park opened just a few weeks ago. This is a county-owned and managed project that is just a few miles up the road. It is behind a community center and offers  spectacular dirt riding, from the pump tracks to the table top jumps to the bmx practice course. If you are unfamiliar with a dirt park, it's a place to ride bmx, dirt jump and mountain bikes. We are almost always the oldest people there by about 20 years and I am invariably the only woman. I've had very incredulous looks by the adolescent males at my bike and I, but that usually stops after they've seen me ride. One young person even told me I was "shredding it." Hah!

The dirt park has been a great way for us to get more in touch with our community and it is good fun to be out there with the youth. As a middle school teacher you would think I would get enough of that during the work day, but in this environment it's a totally different story. One of my favorite things, though, outside of picking up on tween slang, is seeing how much we improve week after week. I can jump my bike higher and further than when we began and my confidence is improving. While I'm no where near doing 360s or "one footers," I'm having a blast. And it's fun to go wearing my cardigan:

See that guy in the back? I can do that, but on a smaller scale. :)

The last few evenings we've been at the park until dusk and I'm already mourning the loss of sunlight that will come with the change in seasons. I hope that I can finagle my work schedule such that I can still get a few laps in before sunset.

We've also been enjoying revisiting local restaurants, like Thai Vegan.
The P.E.T (pumkin, eggplant, tomato) dinner combo is great!

Yet I'm lamenting the fact that I've been so exhausted that cooking really feels like a chore. Today I woke up with the woodstove raging and rain pelting our windows. It was a perfect kind of day for lots of tea drinking and veggie chili making. I think  more days like that are on the horizon. I've got to use up all of that butternut squash somehow!