Things Making Me Happy

It gets a little rough here by February. Don’t get me wrong, I was always (and still am, a little) offended inside by people talking about how hideous February is in Ohio. My birthday is at the end of the month, and when you add in Valentine’s Day to break up the monotony, it’s not so bad, right? Hmmm. I haven’t seen the sun since last Wednesday I believe. I know there was some Friday, but I arrived to and departed from work in darkness…Definitely not a ray detected in the past 3 days. I think I’m just trying to see if we’ll break the record that I tracked a few years ago when we went 9 days without noticeable sunshine! All of this calls for me to internally review my personal philosophy–just hang on for spring, stay busy, and keep taking Vitamin D. After all, it would be worse in Alaska or Greenland, I suppose.

So, in the spirit of February (love it or hate it) here are 5 things I am pleased with right now. I hope you might pick up a tip or two along the way!

1. This snow was pretty today. It came down in huge flakes (look in the upper right corner of the tree picture!), and fast. I caught my tree with my neighbor’s tree just behind it.

tree Feb 2013

2. This French Lentil Soup with Tarragon and Thyme was out of this world. I finally cooked a full recipe from Veganomicon. I fully recommend you try to find this recipe and make this…or buy or get the book from the library. This is a superb cookbook to have, whether you eat vegan or not. This recipe was not as detailed as some of the Veganomicon recipes appear to be.  As I mentioned in the past, I have used this cookbook quite a bit for basic knowledge in cooking veggies. Oh, how I just wanted to inhale this soup in between gazing at how pretty it looked in my red pot.

PPK Lentil soup







3. This greens mix is contributing to my Zen attitude. I noticed the Power Greens mix (also by Earthbound Farms) was out at the store. I like this better anyways. I found this at Whole Foods. The greens (all young) are spinach, Asian mustard, Kale, Chard, and Mizuna.

Zen Blend










4. Cast iron pan. I’ve always been frightened of these things…certain that everything would stick. Believe me, I could make butter stick (back when I used it). I had looked at Lodge brand pre-seasoned cast iron on Amazon before, but was still skeptical. I found this Lodge skillet at Home Goods for only 14.99, and the seasoning looked reasonably likely to work. I just got it out today and look how pretty it is.  I feel confident I can use it for most tasks. The care is simple, wash and use a stiff brush only with hot water. Lightly oil with a paper towel after each cleaning.

Red pepper in Lodge cast iron pan

5. Recipe from Happy Herbivore Abroad cookbook by Lindsay Nixon, for “Nona’s Chickpeas”, using cast iron pan. All for me!! My significant other hates green olives. I find most of Lindsay’s recipes are on the easier (quicker!) side–and if I haven’t made it clear over the past year, that is a good thing. They are super healthy, fully plant-based, and don’t even use oil. They fit into my meal planning pretty easily. The truth is, I do have to alter some things for the boys, but that’s to be expected in my world.

HHA recipe-"Nona's Chickpeas"

6. Ok, there’s a quick 6th. Have you seen the movie The Blind Side? The real-life main character was on the winning Baltimore Ravens in the big game last night. They featured him with his adoptive family on the news tonight. I just love that story and movie. Truthfully, I would really love to meet the real-life mother, Leigh Ann Tuohy. Read/watch the above link and you probably would love to as well… If you haven’t seen the movie, you should. I think I’ll be watching it again soon…Distraction in February is the key…

How’s your winter going? Or if it’s your summer, please fill us all in. Give us hope!


2 thoughts on “Things Making Me Happy

  1. Great list! I have a copy of Veganomicon but have not yet tried the French Lentil Soup – it sounds like a must-try though! I also need to make another batch of Nona’s chickpeas. Last time I made it my olives were really mild – I want to make it again with some brinier ones, I love the idea of the sweet (raisins) and salty combo!

    • Yes, the soup was amazing, for sure. I used the Rapunzel vegan bouillon cubes, which I have been thinking could be a key. They are so good in everything I’ve tried. Kind of a funny thing, I made the soup again this week for a friend recovering from surgery, using Trader Joe’s fire-roasted tomatoes–which only come with chiles–it had a kick! Luckily she likes spicy food. I am going to make the chickpeas again and use a lot more olives. Maybe double or 3X the amount. Will be even better!

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