Lent


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On Sunday I wrapped up my 40+ days of vegetarianism with some french toast and bacon, but I thought I ought to do a wrap up of sorts.

Over the course of this year’s experiment I got a lot of questions about it from people, mostly the real vegetarians in my life, so while I don’t really have any new photos for this post, I do have a Vegetarian Q&A.

Q: Did you miss meat?

A: Yes and no. No, in that I never at any point was craving meat, as in “man, I need a burger,” but I did miss it when substitutions were less tasty to me. Like my attempt at making falafel was less successful than my ability to make chicken gyros, or when my substitution of veggie stock in risotto made for a very odd tasting meal. But in other cases, the vegetarian option was just as good or better (like restaurant-made falafel). I also missed meat when some restaurants had a limited/poor selection of vegetarian options (Ri-Ras, I’m looking at you!)

Q: Did you feel better/healthier?

A: I didn’t feel better, or less sluggish or anything physically, but mentally I did feel that I was introducing better food choices into my world.

Q: What was the hardest part?

A: Cooking without a doubt. I’m not a great and/or particularly enthusiastic cook to begin with, so there’s that. But mostly when I started this whole thing I didn’t have a much of a vegetarian cooking repertoire. So there was a big shift in having to change the way I grocery shop, and find recipes, and trying out 2-3 new recipes a week, with mixed results.  Though I wouldn’t say my repertoire is huge now (I had more failures than successes methinks), but I do have more options, as well as an ever expanding Pinterest board of recipes to try and an expanding feed-reader full of vegetarian cooking blogs, so I expect that to continue to grow. I did find that when all else fails, make a pizza.

Q: What was the best part?

A: Discovering new foods. I’m particularly a fan of quinoa now, which I’d never had before, and I forgot how much I like spinach. I like veggie-burgers. And I’m surprised at the number of recipes that called for parsley, which I had always thought of more as a garnish, but no more!  It also made me look beyond the same old some old at the grocery store and on menus. I could still expand my range of vegetables though.

Q: Would you consider staying a vegetarian/doing it again?

A: I don’t think that I will permanently be a vegetarian, I like keeping my options open, and for me, it’s about health more than any moral imperative. But I would like to continue to incorporate more vegetarian eating into my diet going forward.

Q: Any favorite recipes?

A: Yep! Here’s a few I’m definitely be making again (or already have):

There’s also a few improvisations, like the aforementioned pizzas and some veggie masala that was quite tasty.

There you have it!

 

 

 

 

Tabouleh

Spinach Basil Pesto

(to borrow from Soulemama)
Right Now I’m…

  • nearly a month into this Lent thing and trying out a new recipe or two a week;
  • two buttons bands away from finishing up a new design sample;
  • into running again, signed up for a 5k and everything;
  • enjoying the increasing hours of daylight;
  • loving the unseasonably warm March weather we’re having; and
  • obsessing over a new music find: darlingside

What are you up to?

Mr. Cleaver and I tried quinoa for the first time this morning, we used the Warm and Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa Recipe from Chef MD’s Big Book of Culinary Medicine via 101 Cookbooks and it was definitely tasty and filling. I’m looking forward to trying quinoa in more savory and salad dishes too.

In other news, it looks like spring is finally making it’s way to Maine!

While I failed at my last cookie baking attempt, I’ve had a bit more luck in the vegetarian cooking department. First off I wanted to thank everyone for their recipe suggestions, I’m still looking through some of the ones posted last week, but there are several I can’t wait to try – keep ‘em coming!

Two things I’ve learned quickly, chickpeas (and beans in general) are my veggie-cooking friends and that taking pictures of food in my kitchen lighting at night is less than ideal.

Also, not specifically related to the vegetarian-eating thing, but banana and nutella on toast may be my new favorite breakfast.

Recipes used this week:

  • Chilaquiles vegetarianos! (first photo). I’d definitely make this one again. It was delicious, it reheated well and I’m a sucker for avocados.
  • Baked falafel (second photo). This one I’m a little less enthused by, the falafel seemed  bit too mushy, but it could be because I under baked it or that I’m just more used to the fried version.

Also made (not-photograghed) Chana Masala, which I improvised with a bunch of veggies, chickpeas and a jar of Masala sauce from Trader Joes.

2012-A-Year-in-Food.gif

Another spring and another Lent is upon us already!

In the past I’ve given up jeans, non-cash forms of payment, television,  and pants.

This year I’m doing something a bit more traditional and giving up meat (with the usual fish on Fridays exeception, because Mr. Cleaver really likes seafood).

Yep – I’m going vegetarian!

crocheted dinosaurs

Crocheted Dinosaurs by PlanetJune on Flickr!

It’s a veggiesaurus Lex, veggiesaurus! -Jurassic Park

I tend to pick my Lent challenges months in advance and my decision to go veggie is part of the reason I declared 2012 a Year in Food/conscious eating.(The other is that I have high hopes for an edible garden this year).

One of my greatest conscious eating successes so far this year has been the daily addition of fruit, but veggies, particularly those outside the “intro veggie” range (peas, broccoli, lettuce, etc.), are harder for me, so what better way to to expand and explore than to go vegetarian.

All-in I’m pretty excited about the whole thing. (In any case, it’ll be warmer than giving up pants).

I’ve started a folder (and a Pinterest Board) of some recipes I’m going to try, but if you have some favorite recipe links or  vegetarian cooking blogs to share, I’d love to check them out. So fill up the comments with suggestions!

Master Bedroom Mosaic

We became homeowners on Dec 31 of 2010, and a lot of this year was learning the in and outs of being homeowners. We removed what didn’t want and started building in what we did. We peeled wallpaper and painted walls.

Snowpocalyspe 11:30am

Shoveled snow and learned the importance of roof-rakes.  (Hint: don’t pile that much snow that close to your house)

Gardening Station in the Garage

Perennials were planted in the spring and bulbs were planted in the fall. Lawns were moved and leaves raked. Floors were swept and appliances replaced. And at some point along the way it stopped being their house and started being ours.

Karen & Chris

Starting the day after we moved in, we filled our home with friends: Pie Day, poker games, dinners and documentaries. The highlight was inviting over all our friends for a summer time barbecue and concert.

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And we saw a little doggy online and decided to invite him to stay for the long-haul.

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During Lent I wore skirts for 47 days and visited Washington D.C. for the first time.

Cherry Blossoms

Korea Memorial

In sewing, I got my own studio space and made a thing or two.

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My creation

Fiber-wise, I learned how to dye and needlefelt.

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I bought a loom and made a total of one scarf.

The pattern appears

I also did a fair amount of spinning, but haven’t quite met my knitolution of knitting anything with handspun yet.

Tour de Fleece Skein One

Knitwise, this has been a huge year for me. I’ve released three patterns with Quince & Co., one with Twist Collective, and six on my own. I started a mailing list.

My creation

It’s amazing to me how much has happened in one year, and how quickly that year has gone. There’s snow on the ground outside now and it’s a few days to Christmas. It’s been a helluva year in the best way possible.

Merry Christmas everyone, and a Happy New Year!

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The number one question I was asked about this Lent challenge was whether I was wearing a different skirt or dress every day – to which I answered a resounding “no”!

I have a lot of skirts and dresses, but not 46!! I’ll even admit to wearing the same outfit more than once, but the official breakdown of skirted items worn (a total of 19)  is as follows:

Skirts (11)

Me-Made (7):

Lent 2011 Day 2Lent Day 30

Lent 2011 Day #13Lent 2011 - Day 33

Lent Day #15Lent Day 22

Tone on Tone (Lent Day #17)

Lent Day 21Lent Day 42

Lent Day 26

Easter Beignet

Store-Bought(4):

Lent 2010 - Day #3Lent 2010 Day #5Me and the MagnoliasCherry Blossoms

Lent 2010 Day #6Lent Day #14Lent Day #12Scout's Honor (Lent Day 44)

Lent 2011 Day #9Lent Day #10Lent Day 41

Parlez vous Beret (Lent Day #16)Lent Day 36

Obviously, when it came to skirts, I wore my store-bought skirts more than me-made ones, which I figure was due to two reasons:

  1. They’re generally more casual
  2. they’re more neutral.

So the lesson here is to make more casual/neutral skirts, or get used to fancy pattern mixing. And hey!! My next sewing project is a grey twill skirt – sounds casual/neutral to me!

Dresses (8)

Me-Made (5):

Lent Day 1

Looking Work-y

Lent Day 27

Lent Day 29

Lent Day 43

Vintage(2):
Lent Day #8

Lent Day 34

Store Bought(1):
Lent Day #7

I have a handful of other items, but they’re more definitely summer-wear.

The other thing about the specific outfits was that my level of comfort with an outfit was inversely proportional to the amount out compliments I got on it. That is: the less sure I was about an outfit, the more likely it was that everyone else would.

Best compliment I got: (on Day 36) ‘It’s like Ugly Betty, but not ugly!”

The hardest part of the challenge: Staying warm in the cold Maine spring (and my subsequent annoyance with tights) and figuring out to what to wear on the weekends.

What Your Clothes Say About You

This Lent challenge also been an interesting experiment in how other people “read” my dress.

For example, on Flickr, I’ve been asked to include some of the above photos in groups like “Offbeat Modest Dress” and “Way Too Pretty To Wear Pants.” The latter whose group goals include the following:

” I would really love it if some of the women who post their pictures to the group would consider undertaking a pledge to stop wearing pants (that’s ‘trousers’ for anyone in the UK…) for a month, or a year – or ideally forever :-). That way, the group can help to promote feminine beauty by setting inspirational examples.” (The group of course was founded by a man).

This doesn’t count the numerous”favorites” from Flickr “creepers” who favorites are filled with pictures of women in tights, or turtleneck sweaters, or some other clothing-based fetish. All of which were quickly blocked.

Carrying It On

All in all, I call this Lenten challenge a success. Some mornings I would have rather not done it, but I’m glad that I did and had a lot fun looking at my wardrobe in a different way and trying new combos with my existing piece.

While I did wear pants to work yesterday, it felt kinda weird and I was less excited about it as an outfit, so super-cold or wet days aside, I think I’ll be wearing a lot more skirted items day to day.

Now the next challenge is to come up with the next challenge!! (Suggestions, as always, are welcome!!)

Easter Beignet
Happy Easter!!

I know that technically I don’t have to wear a skirt today, but it’s Easter and I finished it last night, so I figured I would wear my sparkly new Beignet skirt.

Easter Beignet

It took me about a month from muslin to finished project, but I think the time was well worth it.

Easter Beignet

The shell fabric is a lovely blue twill from my stash and the lining is a super soft polka dotted poly-charmeuse from JoAnn’s. The lining fabric was a bit of pain to work with (it frayed terribly until I finished the seams), but it feels fantastic.

Easter BeignetThe buttons are pale blue slimlines. I considered doing a more contrasting button, but decided I wanted this skirt to be a versatile as possible, so I kept it tone-on-tone.

Easter Beignet

The sewing was not difficult, although attaching the curved parts of the lining to the facing can be fussy. The reason it took me  so long was purely due to the large number of seams -meaning a large number of seams to finish.

Easter Beignet

That said, if I came across a good fabric, I’d make it again and I think this iteration will get lots of wear especially since the twill can be dressier (like today) or more casual.

Easter Beignet

Top: Ann Taylor Loft – from Material Objects (consignment)

Coral Necklace: American Girl Co. (to go with my Felicity doll, when I was ten or so)

Skirt: Beignet, made by me

Shoes: Bass Outlet

Chocolate Bunny: from Mom

Jelly Beans: on loan from Mr. Cleaver

In the next few days, I’ll do a post-Lent round-up/wrap up. Hope you’ve enjoyed this challenge as much as I have!

Domenic Duck

PS – Don’t forget  today is the last day to get $1.00 off the Domenic Pattern in my Ravelry shop!

Scout's Honor (Lent Day 44)

I was once told that wearing this scarf made me look like a Girl Scout. So for today’s outfit, I figured in for a dime, in for a dollar and paired it with a brown skirt and some knee highs.

Scout's Honor (Lent Day 44)

Scarf: Vintage Vera, purchased at Ferdinand

Cardigan: Old Navy

Flower Pin: Made by Me

Skirt: Ann Taylor Loft

Socks: Made by Me

Shoes: Bass Outlet

I don’t have any experience with the Girl Scouts myself, but I was a Boy Scout sister for many many years (My father and brother and two cousins are all Eagle Scouts and my father and uncle both served as Scoutmasters).

Scout's Honor (Lent Day 44)

As such I am displaying the Boy Scout salute in these photos. Maybe they’re the same, I don’t know.

And since I brought up Scouting, I have to admit that I’m very torn about the BSA and whether I’d let my imaginary future children join.
Scout's Honor (Lent Day 44)

Scouting is such a huge part of my family and I think it teaches fantastic life skills, but I have a huge problem with the BSA’s discriminatory membership policies regarding gender, sexual orientation, and religious affiliation (or lack thereof). My hope is that by the time I have children old enough for scouting, it may no longer be an issue. (It should be noted that the Girl Scouts of America does not mirror the BSA’s policies, nor does the non-gendered Canadian Scouts).

Scout's Honor (Lent Day 44)

Politics aside, this is my last weekday of Lent (Day 44) and I’m thinking come Monday, wearing pants in going to feel kinda weird! (Though I won’t miss the tights)

Lent Day 43

The pollen levels in town today are 10 on a scale from 0-12, so I am unfortunately a booger factory today :(

Despite my seasonal sniffles, I popped on a cheery summer dress, made seasonal with a wool cardigan and boots.
Lent Day 43

Cardigan: Forecast, made by me.

Dress: 4th of July Dress, made by me

Belt: Off a shirt I got at Sears. No longer have the shirt.

Wool Tights: WarmLegWear.com

Boots: Naturalizers

Lent Day 43

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