Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Visiting the crack house

It has been a long time in waiting.  Conflicting schedules and trips out of town means I have not had the opportunity to see Nate and Adrienne in months.  For the few folks in the blog world that do not know, Adrienne write the blog called Crack the Plates.  Folks who have missed this blog should check it out.

Ashley and I made a plan to go and have dinner with the Cracks, which as always, results in playing games of some sort.  Adrienne made an excellent thai noodle dish for dinner.  We all ate a heaping plateful and were never regretful.

After dinner we played some cards games and then Nate and I talked about records while Ashley and Adrienne played with the rats.  It was a great night and one that was far too long overdue.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Recipe: Cherry Basil Vinaigrette

A recipe?  It has been a long time but I am still in it!  In fact, I have been working on several of them.  This one was a spur of the moment addition that turned out fantastic and just in time for cherry season here in Georgia.  It was a rice aromatic dressing that seems quite mature and delicate, not to be heaped on your salad.  A little goes a long way.  Sweet, tangy, and delicious!

Cherry Basil Vinaigrette

10 bing cherries (pits removed)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of basil (chopped)
1/2 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of garlic (chopped)
1/4 teaspoon of sugar
1/4 teaspoon of salt

Puree all ingredients in a blender until smooth and there are no large pieces of garlic, basil or cherry.  Chill for about 30 minutes and drizzle over salad.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Treating Myself

I have been really busy over the last few weeks.  The stress has been piling on a bit.  To better handle it I have been attempting to take time to treat myself.  Time to get outside, see some bands, study in my hobbies, and even make some snacks!

Over past week or so I made a handful of my chocolate ship cookies.  Then I had to step it up a notch.  I turned them into vegan ice cream sandwiches.

The stress kept building and the sandwiches were still not enough.  In an attempt to really punish the stress I was forced to go over the top.  I poured chocolate candy shell on the outside of my sandwiches.  That did the trick.

It will be vacation time in a few weeks which should force things back.  Not to mention Ashley and Kaleigh moving in.  Great things are on the horizon and these treats are just the thing to buy me time!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

(nearly) Wordless Wednesday with more bands!

Since most of the folks that keep up with this blog are not very interested in the bands I see and that community, I have decided to (for the most part) offer pictures of bands on a wordless Wednesday type post.  This allows me to share my experiences and photos with the world as well as not bore the foodies with a long post about bands they do not care about.

We Few

We Few

Super Mutant



Rapturous Grief

Beyond Pink

Beyond Pink

Stoic Violence

Stoic Violence

Monday, July 22, 2013


Living 2000 miles away from my family, I rarely go to any family gatherings.  I am fairly isolated here in Atlanta, which, in many circumstances is fine.  I do miss my family however.  Since Ashley and I have joined forces, I have been welcomed into her family.  It is quite nice but makes me miss my own.

This past weekend, Ashley and I went to a potluck at her dad's house.  There were about 10 family members there and plenty of good vegan dishes to be had.  Ashley and I brought candied sweet potatoes from the slow cooker and some great cole slaw that Ashley has designed.  There were vegan baked beans (which I ate too many of and could barely move), pasta with a vegan marinara, vegan burgers in pitas, a vegan Malaysian soup, chips and guacamole, not to mention vegan brownies with strawberries!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

All at once!

It has been a crazy week.  My real estate business has been keeping my hours long, which is great.  I am still grinding at the jobby job full-time, which is not great.  My car over heated and need repair work, also not great.  Working on finding a new tenant, which is annoying but necessary.  Jamie will be moving out in a week and has been painting my kitchen cabinets (Thank You Jamie!) which is going to look great but in the meantime means my kitchen is torn apart.

Ashley and Kaleigh will be moving in with me in about a month, which is really exciting.  It seems like it might be soon to the folks in the blog world but Ashley and I have been casually involved for 4 years and the three of us have become a tight knit unit.  It will be a huge change to my lifestyle but in a good way.

When we talked with Kaleigh about it, the three of us dressed up nice and went to lunch.  It was a short discussion as it seemed like Kaleigh thought it was great and was mainly concerned about her toys.  She also immediately proposed that we have a dog come live with us.  I think that is off in the distance if it were to ever come to pass but she is quite a character.

I am not a month away from leaving for vacation with Ashley.  We will be hiking in the western part of Washington state and even getting to see my old pal Todd.  It is going to be a great trip.  I even splurged and got a nice telephoto lens for my camera!

Lots happening right now!  Oh...and I ate the huge and awesome sandwich recently.  I could not even fit it in my mouth!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Fernbank Science Center trip

After a couple of very well behaved trips to the dentist, Ashley and I rewarded Kaleigh with a visit to the Fernbank Science Center.  It is a pretty cool free thing to do in Atlanta with a young child.  There are some animals in cages that people gawk at but otherwise, there is some amazing science that really related to kids.

Once outside, the real fun begins!  There is a great garden, about 6 different types of composts, each explaining what they could be used for, as even some petrified wood.  We send quite some time roaming through the gardens and checking out their veggies and flower.  They had some massive eggplants coming in!

In the center of the space there is a pond with some amazing lilies and flowers growing.  I got to pull out my camera and take some good shots.  I am trying to get as much practice in as I can for the vacation that Ashley and I are taking next month.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Cooking with Kaleigh: Part 8; Shish Kabobs!

An episode of Cooking with Kaleigh is one of my favorite things to post.  I get such a kick out of both filming and posting these.  Kaleigh has come a long way with her kitchen abilities.  In many ways, it is a reflection of the progression of my relationship with her.  We both began timid, but over the years we have really created a lot of space for each other and ourselves.

This video was pretty spur of the moment.  I had been making some soy chicken for a little while.  We grabbed a dehydrated soy chunk item.  I hydrated them, fried them, and flavored them.  About the time I was finished, Kaleigh was getting home so we assembled a couple Shish Kabobs and then decided to film her making the final one.

After assembling the Kabobs, we baked them in the oven (no grilling since it has been raining all summer in Atlanta) for about 20 minutes or so.  The we added the sauce to the tops and broiled them for about another 5 minutes.  When we pulled them out, I dusted them with a few sesame seeds.

We also made a fried noodle and veggie dish to accompany the Kabobs.  The dishes complimented each other well and it turned out to be a great dinner.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Dinner for me!

After a long day at the jobby job with an early start, Ashley was nice enough to make dinner.  The great thing was there was even enough for me to take to work for the following couple days.

First up was a basic salad.  Kaleigh has been gardening at her grandmother's and the beans in the salad were fresh picked!  There is nothing like fresh picked green beans.  I can recall eating them as a kid from my grandmother's garden.  We would eat so many that we would get in trouble!  Imagine!  Getting in trouble for eating veggies?

After the salad, we had some mashed creamy potatoes as the side dish to our main course of a great lentil loaf!  The flavor was excellent but it was a little mushy.  After about 30 minutes to set up and cool, it firmed right up.  There were a lot of leftovers for me to tote to work as well. 

It is a real treat that I am not used to, having dinner made for me.  I do rather enjoy it!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

When you just can not get enough sweets...

Peanut Butter Balls has been a recipe and a treat in my family and household for years.  There is some disagreement on where the recipe originated but I have since claimed it, slightly altered it, and made it my own.  They are a pretty incredible snack and will put you into a sugar coma without much effort.

I decided to up the ante.  I took the same basic recipe and combined it with my chocolate chip cookie recipe in a way that will make even the most devoted dieter falter.  I made chocolate chip cookie to truffles.

The insides were a variant of my uncooked chocolate chip cookie dough recipe then balled up and drenched in melted chocolate.  The flavor was "keep you up at night" good.

Ashley took some and Kaleigh went into a 6 year old sugar frenzy with a single truffle.  Some folks at my jobby job also got to indulge and they were a big hit.  Once I come down off the sugar, I will surely make these again.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Obligatory 4th of July post

Unfortunately, the fireworks were canceled in Atlanta due to rain.  Plan B was that Ashley, Kaleigh, and I were going to have dinner / cookout with Ashley's family.  Ashley and I decided that we should bring a few things so there was enough for us to eat.

We planned to bring some veggie burgers to maintain the tradition.  We quickly made some butternut squash as a side then decided to get a little creative.  Kaleigh and I made a pasta salad with lime juice, raw zucchini and fresh tarragon from my garden.  Both seemed to be well received and very little came home with us.

To my fortunate surprise, a few folks had thought about the vegan options before we arrived and there was some corn on the cobb and an amazing vegan bar b-que baked bean dish!  I was all over the beans, I even took the rest home!

Due to my jobby job, I have rarely gotten a holiday off.  It is a very rare occurrence and even more rare is me spending time doing something fairly traditional like a cookout of the 4th of July.  That evening we fired off some fireworks of our own with the neighbors in the cul-de-sac.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Chic pea chick'un salad and Kaleigh's summer squash

For months, I have teased Ashley about us being in a relationship.  In fact, I told her that I would not make her favorite summer dish, chic pea chicken salad until we had made a decision.  It was one of the first things I made for her to eat, years ago.

Of course, since we made the decision to be in a relationship, one of the top priorities was making chic pea chicken salad.  We wrapped it up in a nice pita with some red leaf lettuce and cucumber along with some shredded carrot.

We also took a couple summer squashes that Kaleigh had picked for me from her grandmothers garden, and fried them up with some salt and pepper.  A simple side dish but it was delicious.  The squash was perfect, Kaleigh is a great gardener!

I am sure there will be more chicken salad on the way in the coming weeks!


Monday, July 1, 2013

The Big Announcement...

This post is a week late by design.  I wanted to make sure (most) everyone that was part of the family connection knew prior to seeing it here.

Ashley and I have decided to head down the road of togetherness.  After some deliberation and 4 years of being unidentified, we are taking the plunge into couple-dom.  Ashley, Kaleigh, and I will be a little family.  While it may seem insignificant to most, it is a big leap for both of us.

It only made sense that we would celebrate with cake!  Southern Sweets even has a new vegan flavor, caramel!  Of course, we got it.  It only seemed appropriate to celebrate our new relationship with a new flavor of cake!  If the cake was any sort of indication for the relationship, we are in for something outstanding!