31 August 2009

Another giveaway to share ...

Well, here's a chance to win a Vitamix Blender. Since these are about the best thing since sliced bread (and could pulverize any sliced bread you might have!), you should head over and enter to win.  To my possibly one reader, and you know who you are -- if you win, we had better time share the thing! :)

30 August 2009

Jicama Angst

I am almost positive that I've eaten jicama at some point, perhaps at a well stocked salad bar or friend's home. I love the idea of jicama, so when I noticed a big pile of the brown tuber at a local asian market, I picked up a fairly small one to give it a try. Expected something cool and crisp, a cross between raw potatoes and pears in flavor, I have to say I was disappointed. The peeled, sliced jicama was mealy, mostly flavorless, and almost chalky.  I followed the advice found here: Jicama Facts & History, namely,

"When purchasing jicama, select tubers that are firm and have dry roots. Make sure that the jicama has an unblemished skin and that is not bruised. Once purchased, store jicama for up to two weeks in a plastic bag in your refrigerator."

My question to anyone who may be out there is, did I pick a bad one? How do you select a jicama? I simply peeled the brown outer layer and the slightly stringy layer under that, and ate the familiar looking portion inside.  I stored it in the fridge for about two days before I peeled it; is this too long? Should I keep it out until it's peeled?  If anyone has any advice about jicama, I'd greatly appreciate it!

27 August 2009

Sample some Simply Bars!

Hey, on the off chance that anyone has read this little blog yet, I just wanted to let you know that Ricki over at Diet, Desserts, and Dogs is giving away a sampling of Simply Bars to one lucky winner.  Head on over to her blog to enter to win. You can read about the contest here: Giveaway: The Simply Bar and post your comment entry here: Autumnal Warm Summer Salad and Giveaway.  While you're there, check out the whole website; it's an awesome resource for vegan and gluten-free recipes.

26 August 2009

It's not quite an attack of the killer tomatoes ... yet.

I live in an apartment.  Not only that, but I live in an apartment on the South side of the building.  I get about thirty minutes of indirect sunlight a day.  Despite this obvious disadvantage, I am bound and determined to grow something worth growing (and hopefully harvesting) on my tiny patio.  Actually, in the interest of full disclosure, I have moved beyond the bounds of my patio to the furthest reaches of the mulched area around my patio in search of a few more minutes of light.  I've had considerable success with basil this year.  I basically just plopped some seeds into a pot and stuck it outside, watering occasionally, and a veritable forest of basil sprung to life.  I've harvested most of it, but you can see its glory days in the photo below.  This basil has topped many a pizza, pasta, and stir fry this summer, and saved me quite a pretty penny.

Not one to be complacent, in the face of my basil success I decided to branch out.  I was extremely lucky to receive some free tomato plants from local freecyclers (if you aren't on freecycle and you have anything at all you'd like to get rid of, I suggest you join now!).  The first plant, sadly, didn't make it.  I left the poor guy on my patio and he didn't get quite enough sunlight.  I did get some very nice green tomatoes from him, which I fried up to perfection, so it wasn't a total loss.  The second two are set just outside the patio, which affords them quite a bit more sunlight.  They aren't exactly flourishing, but I did find these little gems a few days ago.  Yes, those are buds. Buds which will some day be tomatoes (with a little bit of luck).  And so I expect that some time around the end of September I should have a big juicy tomato.  I'll keep you posted on the progress of that.

23 August 2009

Fighting the Good Fight

Turns out I've met a new arch-nemisis. I thought I had met my match in high school with one Beth J., but the flea has proven to be much more viable a foe. After a short vacation in Seattle, I came home to find my dog stricken with fleas. My cat subsequently also suffered the foul beasts, and finally my apartment fell prey (note that I am not precisely sure of this timeline, but this is the order by which I noticed infestation). Luckily, I was able to find a wealth of information online about ridding both house and pets of fleas.

After several weeks and a lot of attempted treatments later, we seem to be winning the war. Sadly, individual battles are less promising. No matter the efforts put forth the previous day, I somehow manage to find at least one flea each day. I have bathed both pets several times (to the great dismay of Lillith, the cat). I have vacuumed the entire apartment, moving both knick knacks and heavy furniture, at least every other day. I finally broke down and bought prescription flea control medicine for both pets. I've even been trying the candle in water trick suggested here: http://www.wikihow.com/Get-Rid-of-Fleas (leaving candles burning in another room all night is slightly terrifying, but basically my only hope for using the technique during dark hours now). The good news is, there are fewer fleas all the time. The bad news is, there is always at least one flea.

And so I soldier on. I suppose the only thing to be said for the whole ordeal is that I've been petting my dog a lot more. Of course she thinks it's pure love. What we won't tell her is that I'm looking for fleas.