July 13, 2010

Where is home? | Leftovers | tangy salad | Dietary shift

Buffy feeling at home.

I've been thinking a lot this past year about what exactly makes one feel at home. Is it family? friends and community? a house? a location? All of the above? Last year we left the city where we'd lived since 1976, and moved to the city where two of our sons, our daughter-in-law and our granddaughter live. When we made the move, our youngest son came with us, so now our whole immediate family lives in the same place. This sounds great, until you remember that everyone we know (except family) and everything familiar to us, was left behind. When we were young and moved to completely new places, it was with excitement and anticipation; we made new friends easily, and settled into new experiences. Moving seems harder now that we're older. It's not as easy to meet new friends, and I'm finding getting around a larger city much harder than finding my way in our smaller town. There are people back in Wisconsin that we've known for 30 years, and we own a house there that we've been renting out. I was really happy there and I miss my old life.

Today we're headed back to our old home. We'll do some maintenance on the house, visit with friends, try to rent out the house for another year, and see how we feel about being back in our old familiar neighborhood. Do we still want to live there? Will we be anxious to return to our family? We'll be in the car for four days and then in Wisconsin about a month. I'm not sure when I'll be doing another post — hopefully by the weekend.

What are your thoughts about moving?


Lentil burgers coming out of our ears

I really misjudged how many lentil burgers I was making the other night, and we've been eating them non-stop. How many ways are there to eat lentil burgers? You'd be surprised. My husband made an Asian-style dish with zucchini and rice noodles — and chopped up lentil burgers. It didn't look like much but it tasted great. I've been grilling them in the wok and piling them with leftover cabbage salad (see below), and when that ran out, with baby greens and tomatoes. They can be eaten with onions, mustard, ketchup, mayo or hot sauce in buns or on a plate . They can be added to spaghetti and sauce, or eaten in a roll smothered in tomato sauce like a meatball sandwich. Or they can be frozen for another day. :D


Tangy potluck salad with cold, simmered tofu

We went to a potluck lunch last Saturday, and this is a little embarasing to admit, but I couldn't think of a single thing to bring. Honestly, I wracked my brains all day Friday, and all I could come up with was to buy the makings of a Mediterranean platter from Trader Joe's and put it together on a nice plate. But I prefer to bring a homemade dish to a potluck, and finally, as I was doing some blog maintenance, I chanced upon an old recipe that appealed to me.

I pretty much followed the recipe as written, ending up with a huge quantity of salad. I used my mandoline to julienne the carrots and finely shred the cabbage. The rest of the veggies were cut by hand.

The only thing I did differently was to add some simmered and seasoned tofu chunks. Simmering tofu for 20-30 minutes gives it a very firm, pleasant texture, and if you add your favorite seasonings to the water, the tofu will pick up the flavors. I started with extra firm tofu that I pulled apart into bite-sized pieces. I added a little rice vinegar to the water, brought it to a boil, then turned the flame down to simmer. After it was cooked I drained the tofu and tossed it with tamari, granulated garlic and a little yeast flakes. At this point I browned it in my wok to seal in the flavors, and placed it in a dish in the refrigerator to chill. Just before we left for the party, I tossed the cold tofu into the salad with the dressing. Here's a link to the recipe for tangy carrot and cabbage salad.


So what else is new?
This seems like old news to me but I just received it from the Vegetarian Resource Group, and I wanted to pass it along. This is the kind of information that's helpful when discussing the global benefits of a vegan diet.

In a new report entitled Assessing the Environmental Impacts of
Consumption And Production, UNEP (United Nations Environment
Programme) calls for a global dietary shift away from animal
products in the face of these findings:

Agricultural production accounts for a staggering 70% of the
global freshwater consumption, 38% of the total land use, and
14% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

From the conclusions of the report:

Impacts from agriculture are expected to increase
substantially due to population growth, increasing consumption
of animal products. Unlike fossil fuels, it is difficult to
look for alternatives: people have to eat. A substantial
reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial
worldwide diet change, away from animal products.

VRG-NEWS: The Vegetarian Resource Group Newsletter
Volume 14, Issue 4
June/July 2010

To view VRG-NEWS on the web, visit:
[ http://www.vrg.org/vrgnews/2010jun.php


  1. all the food looks so good-and the report is really interesting. I think with all the pro animal product propaganda however, that true change is a long ways away.

  2. Over lunch today, a friend and I discussed moving as well as trying to define where you are "from". I've come to believe that home is a place where you feel you can be yourself, and often that's the same place your stuff is and where your pets are. Where you're "from" - that's a whole other question!

  3. I think that pasta actually looks delicious...and you've convinced me to go make some lentil burgers. :) My thoughts on moving...unfortunately, I am currently living somewhere I didn't grow up so there is a lonely aspect to it. I think I could handle that part of it, but there aren't any vegan restaurants/like-minded people. Therefore, I spent much of my time wishing I was somewhere else. I have my family, don't get me wrong; I'm a really happy person. I just feel like I'm in a bit of a rut. I hope everything works out for you. :)

  4. Thanks for the heads up on the UN report; let's hope this is the beginning of a bright new (vegan) future! I really do think that veganism (albeit slowly) is on the up and up.

    Those lentil burgers sound great...and the pasta dish with them looks really yummy too as does the salad...sounds so crunchy and nutritious!

  5. PS:

    I follow you on the "Where is Home?" question; I've always struggled with that one myself. Enjoy your time back in Wisconsin.

  6. I empathise with you. Home is not where I grew up, nor is it where I reside now.

    I would like to move, but using a chair poses demands that would have to be met in terms of accessible housing, etc, and finding everything can be hard.

    Enjoy your time in Wisconsin.

  7. Have a wonderful trip "home" and enjoy your time there! I think moving is SO stressful and hard and emotionally exhausting...I give you tons of credit for picking up and moving so far across the country. I understand that it would be very hard, but I hope that you are at least a little happy living there and that you are enjoying being close to your family.

    I can't believe you are driving back! Good luck and have a safe trip :-)


  8. Thanks for sharing, Andrea. Home is always a funny thing for me as I've been a bit of a nomad for the past several years. Maybe home truly is where your heart is (at the moment...) Currently, my home is on the Big Island of Hawaii, but in a month's time it will be in Walla Walla, Washington. My family and many friends are in Kansas City and I dream of making a home somewhere in Spain, France or Italy. Home? Je ne sais pas!

  9. John and I moved away from our local area many years ago, with two small children. It lasted a year. We even sold our house at a loss, to move back! One of the things I hated was seeing the back view of someone I thought I recognised and then realising it couldn't be anyone I recognised, because I didn't know anyone there!

    I'm always meaning to make lentil burgers but haven't ever done so yet. Maybe it's time I just did it!

    I get in breakfast ruts, too. I'm trying to get back into the green smoothie rut, rahter than the cereal with lots of sugar rut! :)

  10. Aww, Buffy looks so comfy there! You must be in Wisconsin right now, so I hope you're having a great time!

    We travel so much that I'd be happy to settle down somewhere and STAY. Some day we will pack up and move to a mountain town somewhere, I hope! :)

  11. Ha! I know what you mean about purple and pink smoothies! I blogged about it at http://scottishveganhomemaker.blogspot.com/2009/05/how-green-is-my-smoothie.html
    a while ago! Yesterday's was definitely PURPLE!

  12. Jessica,
    You may be right about change, but don't you feel that more people are at least thinking about it? That's the first step.

    That feeling of "home" can be elusive.

    I know just what you mean about feeling a bit uncomfortable in your surroundings. For me, having to choose between being with family and being where I'm most comfortable, is too hard.

    Yes to a vegan future!
    The salad IS crunchy and refreshing - one of my favorites.

    There are so many things that complicate our choice of where to live. I hope you find a place that is right for you.

    I felt "home" the second I entered our city. We've only been here less than two days but have already reconnected with so many people. It will be hard to leave again. :(

    I can't believe you're leaving Hawaii and moving to Washington state. That will be a change. At least your weather will be sunnier than mine.

    Ah, the back view ... happens all the time ... sometimes even a front view.:)

    I'm kind of embarased to admit this but I still haven't managed to down a green smoothie. Mine are usually purple or pink.

    It must be exciting but also hard to travel so much. I hope someday you find a beautiful place to call home.

  13. Penny,
    If I ever find myself in Scotland, I'm heading right to your house!

  14. Hope you enjoy(ed) the trip back "home." Such an interesting question. I'm the only one of my nuclear family who left Montreal, and I've been in Toronto since 1983. And even though I'd love to move somewhere else (somewhere with no winter), after being here 27 years, I can't imagine starting all over somewhere else.

    Your eats look great, btw!

  15. Ricki,
    Exactly! I think it's even harder to do than to imagine. We're going to try it one more year before deciding if it's doable or not.


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