Minestrone à la Irreverent Vegan

Minestrone

I had a hankering for some delicious Minestrone & I remembered that our friends Mark & Amy, of Irreverent Vegan, had a recipe for just what I was looking for on their blog – Olive Garden-style Minestrone. So we gathered all the ingredients up & cooked up a huge pot of delicious soup for ourselves which we’ll be enjoying all week long; it’s gotten pretty cold here this past week & some warm, hearty soup is definitely in order! We made so much soup that we had plenty left over to share with friends; there’s only so much room left in our fridge, with the Thanksgiving leftovers still taking up some room in there, after all.

We made some slight alterations, but the final product was pretty much the same as what they have listed on their blog for this soup. We added more celery, larger quantities of some of the vegetables, extra spices, lots of black pepper, and instead of using water we just used vegetable stock for all the liquid added here.

by Valerie | 11.28.10 | Recipes | 1 Comment »

Deck the halls

Wreath

I like to decorate the house for the Christmas & Hanukkah holidays the Friday after Thanksgiving as I like to enjoy the lights & the decorations for as long as possible – so yesterday that’s exactly what we did; the menorah, tree, wreath, lights, & other decorations are out & my Santa cookie jar has fresh baked chocolate chip cookies in it! There are even two presents already wrapped & sitting under the tree – I really do love Christmas.

We picked up this lovely boxwood wreath from the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market on Wednesday & I thought it was a nice alternative to a traditional evergreen wreath. I think it makes the house feel extra warm & cheery & I love to come home to that!

Holiday Table

Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree Star

by Valerie | 11.27.10 | Holidaze | No Comments »

Thanksgiving Feast 2010

Pumpkin Pie

Another Thanksgiving is upon us & our table will be full of delicious food to fill our bellies & dear friends to warm our hearts! We’ll be preparing many of the same menu items we made last year & are looking forward to the delicious food our friends will be bringing to add to our feast as well. Happy Thanksgiving!

Deviled Eggs

by Valerie | 11.25.10 | Holidaze, Recipes | No Comments »

Giving thanks

Hand Turkeys

Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for those I’ve loved & lost & for those I love & are lucky to still have in my life.

by Valerie | 11.25.10 | Holidaze | No Comments »

Terrific terrarium

Terrarium

It’s no secret that I just love Pot & Box & it’s charming owner, Lisa Waud, but today I think my love grew when I picked up a terrarium that we’d been discussing & she put together for me  – it’s AMAZING; just adorable & exactly what I was looking for! It has a man & woman sitting on a bench together (Ryan & me) & a sweet little dog next to them (Melody). Also, we added in some lake stones we picked up when we went to the U.P. this last summer. And, to put the icing on the cake, we’ve named it “The Divine Miss V” which my father-in-law would’ve loved as that was his nickname for me. Terrariums are totally cool, in case you didn’t know, & you should really run out & get one for yourself immediately!

by Valerie | 11.24.10 | Around our home, For Funsies | 1 Comment »

Fun week ahead

Michigan Theater

I’m so looking forward to a nice, long holiday weekend & enjoying spending time with friends over good food & fun activities; we’ve got a full week planned, but it will be lots of fun! We’re having friends over to share Thanksgiving dinner with us on Thursday & we’ll be serving many of the same items we made for last year’s meal – yum! On Friday, we plan on going to the Michigan Theater to see Warner Bros. Cartoons & we’ll be back at the Michigan Theater on Sunday for the White Christmas Sing-A-Long (we went to the Wizard of Oz Sing-A-Long several months ago & loved it). And we’ll be decorating the house for Christmas, making our own holiday pop up cards to send out, & probably doing some Christmas shopping as well.

And, I really like this wreath – wonder if I’ll be ambitious enough to make this for myself…perhaps!

by Valerie | 11.22.10 | Around town, For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

Black & Tan Farm hoop house build

Hoop house build - Black & Tan Farms

We dragged ourselves out of bed early on a Saturday & headed over to Belleville to build a hoop house with a team of people (organized by Selma Cafe) for two separate farms – Stephanie & Joyce Phillips’ Family Farm & Kari Smith’s Black & Tan Farm – there yesterday & had a wonderful time; everyone involved was so kind & friendly & the farm owners themselves were wonderful! It was hard work & a very long day as we worked from about 8:00am-6:30pm, but it felt wonderful to help out in whatever way we could for such a good cause & we had wonderful lunch & dinner breaks to look forward to while we were there.

Hoop house build - Black & Tan Farms

We had quite the garden ourselves, considering the tiny footprint our apartment patio allows us, this last summer & love to support local farmers – so it was a great way for us to be a bigger part of that by helping to build a structure that would allow them to extend their growing season & increase their crop yields.

Also, there was an abundance of adorable dogs on site for me to gush over, which I loved of course; I  think I counted 7 throughout the day, 2 of which were Great Danes & were hard to miss!

Hoop house build - Black & Tan Farms

Hoop house build - Black & Tan Farms

Click here for more photos from the hoop house build.

by Valerie | 11.14.10 | Around town | 3 Comments »

Sky high

 Gorgeous sunset!

As I was walking home from the bus stop yesterday, I enjoyed a most beautiful sunset; it’s good to stop & enjoy the beauty around you every day, I think!

Gorgeous sunset!

Sunset

by Valerie | 11.12.10 | Around our home, For Funsies | No Comments »

Veterans Day

 cliff army

This is a photo of my Granddaddy, who fought in WWII; thank you to all those who fought & still fight for the freedoms we enjoy today!

by Valerie | 11.11.10 | Holidaze | 1 Comment »

Potato soup with chives & faux-rizo

Potato Soup

Soup Ingredients:
bunch of chives diced
5-6 cloves of garlic minced
1 large purple onion diced
4 large russet potatoes, peel and cut into 1-inch pieces
7 cups of vegetable stock
2 tbsp of butter (or Earth Balance for vegans)
1 tbsp thyme
lots of coarsely ground pepper
and a fair amount of sea salt

Spicy faux-rizo:
(yes we know they make soy-rizo, but we didn’t want to go to the store so we decided to make some with tempeh, you can also probably use seitan)
1 package of tempeh
2 tbsp of smoked chili powder
1/2 tsp of cayenne
1-2 tbsp of Ryan’s chipotle taco seasoning (a mix of onion powder, chipotle powder, salt, garlic, chili powder, white pepper, oregano, etc.)
2+ tbsp of chipotle infused olive oil

For the faux-rizo:
Heat oil up in pan over medium heat. Add in the tempeh, let it start to brown. Toss in all of the other ingredients once it starts to brown. If you need more oil toss it in (or you can actually pre-mix all of the powders with a bit of water and then add it all in). Heat until cooked all the way through.

For the soup:
Melt butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Once heated up add in the onions and garlic. Sweat the onions and garlic until translucent-ish. Add in the stock, raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Once boiling add in the potatoes and cook until soft enough that a fork can easily go through. Once potatoes are cooked, reduce heat to low, mash or blend the soup or both. We mash the potatoes first with a potato masher and then blend with our immersion blender. Once blended to a consistency of you liking add in the chives, thyme, and salt and pepper to your liking (We recommend lots of salt and pepper), mix well.

Top the soup with some faux-rizo and enjoy this delicious meal.

Potato Soup

by Ryan | 11.09.10 | Recipes | 1 Comment »

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