Friday, August 28, 2009

Tofu Part Two

Tofu and veggies are sort of the meat and potatoes of fast days at our house. We often have some kind of combination of the two, although we also eat many bean based meals or tempeh. Since I'm a vegetarian, I don't like to eat meat substitutes, chik'n patties, soy crumbles, and the like on fast days, though those can be quick and easy dinner solutions if you need something to fall back on.

In the summer, we love to grill. Or I should say, I love to chop things up and give them to James to grill. We mainly grill lots of fresh vegetables. I chop them up, marinate them in Italian dressing, and James grills them in a grill basket. I make my own dressing. I make a mix of dry ingredients and keep it in a jar in the cupboard, then I add it to the wet ingredients to mix up a batch as needed. I thought I'd post the recipe, but I looked at it and realized I don't use half the ingredients listed, so the next time I make the mix I'll pay attention to what I actually do and post it later. You can use any vegetables that you like. We especially love onions, cherry/grape tomatoes, and mushrooms. We typically do squash and peppers as well. Sometimes eggplant makes an appearance. Really it's whatever we've got from the farm share lately.

We recently tried a new (to us) method for grilled tofu. The twist here was I froze the tofu first. This changes the texture of the tofu, and makes it really spongy. This is great for grilling, since it really soaks up sauce that way. Here's what I did: I froze a block of tofu in its original package (which is a handy thing to do if you have some that's about to expire). At some later date, I took the tofu out of the freezer and defrosted it. I drained it, cut it into four chunks, and squeezed the water out of each chunk. Then I put the chunks in a dish with some barbecue sauce, squished them around and turned them over, so that they were well infused with the sauce. Then I handed them over to James, and he grilled them up.

It was pretty good. I'd welcome other sauce ideas. I always like barbecue sauce, but James isn't too crazy about it. He really liked the texture of this tofu, though.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Brightening the Bedroom

I love having company. Of course, I really enjoy the chance to hang out with friends and family in the comfort of my own home, but I also love that it's such a great motivator to clean and get stuff done around the house. Aside from the normal clean up preparation before our recent company, James and I were inspired to do some more decorating projects.

We rearranged our bedroom, and I really love the new layout. Now I can lie in bed and look out the window. James hung this stained glass piece that I bought for him several years ago, and which we hadn't had the chance to display in previous homes. I love it there! It looks so pretty against the tree outside the window. It's a copy of the rose window at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine, in New York. It's quite lovely; that's Christ in the center, of course, and he's surrounded by a heavenly host. Angels radiate from the center, the four Evangelists are at the cardinal points, the four Great Prophets at the ordinal points, and cherubim all around.

James also hung up the wedding shadow box he gave me for our first Christmas, with our Wedding at Cana icon, which was a wedding gift, and this crucifix which was a wedding gift to my (Roman Catholic) grandparents from the priest who married them. It is a sick call kit, like this, and it's over sixty years old so the candles and holy water are long gone.

The shadow box contains: the program from our wedding ceremony, the church wedding certificate, one of the little tissue packets that my mother and I made to pass out to guests (this was a joke on me because I cry at everything), a wedding picture in one of the little frames we gave as favors, and the service book the pastor used to marry us (he gave it to us as a wedding gift). We had yellow roses at our wedding, and these little ones also indicate our wedding date: August 9, 2003. 8 vertical, 9 horizontal, 3 vertical. You can tell we're converts, since we married during the Dormition fast.

Our bedroom feels so much more comfortable. We had really done less with it than any other room. We're planning to put new flooring in all the bedrooms sooner or later, and we had been holding off on painting our bedroom until then since it had been painted more recently than any of the other rooms. But the floors are on hold on right now, and I loved changing things up in there, so I'm starting to want to get in there with paint. But what color...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Roommate Reunion

For my junior and senior years of college, I shared a four bedroom apartment with three other girls. Almost ten years later, we are now scattered far and wide. We had last all gotten together three years ago in Dallas, where we went to school. One of the roomies still lives in the metroplex, another has lived in Germany since graduation, and the third is in the foreign service. She has spent the past three years in India, and is now back in the US for a stint in DC. With me here in the Midwest, you can see why we don't get together very frequently.

This past weekend they all converged here for a long weekend at my house in Indiana. We had a wonderful time, although it was the hottest it's been in this unusually cool summer. They arrived late Thursday evening and we stayed up talking until four in morning. We had a lot to catch up on, and we just couldn't stop! Naturally, we slept in on Friday, and then went out to lunch at a local market that I love. It has a focus on local foods, and features locally made gelato and sorbetto, a big draw for an ice cream lover like me. We then went to the Children's Museum, since as far as I'm concerned that's a can't miss for first-time visitors to Indianapolis. Plus, we got to see the King Tut exhibit. We had so much fun. It was a great time to visit the museum since most Indiana kids had gone back to school, so it wasn't very busy. We actually had the King Tut exhibit virtually to ourselves.

The next day, I snuck away for Dormition Liturgy while they slept in again. We wandered around in Zionsville in the afternoon, checking out the little shops, and topped it off with ice cream at Trader's Point Creamery. I didn't ask them if I could post their pictures here, so below is a barn at TPC. I love going there: for one, the ice cream is out of this world; the farmer's market on Friday is great, with lots of organic produce and foods; plus, it's fun to see the cows and chickens. I think they all really enjoyed it as well. Afterward, we went back to my house, played cards and relaxed, and made dinner.

Coking together was just like old times. One night we made veggie fajitas with homemade pico de gallo and guacamole, which was delicious and easy with all those hands to do the chopping. My sweetie grilled up the veggies for us--he was such a great host. He gave us plenty of space for girl time, but was really helpful and fun when he joined in. The next night we made pizza, which was also yummy, but wow, we were worn out at that point! All that catching up can be exhausting. We talked non-stop the whole weekend. Thankfully, we'll all get to see each other next summer when our German roommate gets married. I'm sure that will be even more of a whirlwind, but I'm glad to be able to look forward to seeing them all again so soon.