Seedlings, Veggies, and Cauliflower Manchurian

Wow, my post about the Hudson Valley Seed Library received lots of hits! Good to know that y’all are interested in gardening and such – I’ll be sure to share more garden updates and pictures this summer. The first of my seedlings sprouted yesterday, a tiny, bright green curlicue just peeking up above the soil. The weather’s been a bit erratic lately, so I haven’t been leaving my plants on the balcony – I’m afraid they’ll get drowned in the downpours we keep getting. But that means that they don’t get a lot of direct sunlight, so I’m a little worried about them. The one hardy seedling gives me hope, though, and today I took a chance and left them outside, so cross your fingers that nothing tragic happens to them and that my one little sprout has some friends soon!

Although I’ll be able to eat my own home-grown veggies soon enough, for now I must rely on produce from the farmers’ market and the co-op. Lately I’ve been on a big veggie kick. It’s not like I was terribly deficient in my vegetable consumption, but lately I’ve been cutting down on purchasing pantry staples and instead filling my bag with fresh produce. This is partly pragmatic – I’m moving in a couple months (!) and don’t want to cart around pounds and pounds of every kind of grain known to humankind – and partly because I’m inspired by spring and its delicious vegetables.

Last night, I enjoyed a meal that featured veggies and also helped me use up some of that aforementioned grain stash. I made the Cauliflower Manchurian from Everyday Happy Herbivore, added some peas, and served it over brown rice.

Cauliflower galore!

Everyday Happy Herbivore continues to impress! This is such a simple meal; the only real work is whisking together the sauce ingredients. The result is a spicy, tangy, flavorful dish with flavors you can adjust to your taste. Perfect for a quick weeknight meal, especially if you’re smart (not like me) and cook up lots of rice on the weekend.

What’s your go-to method for eating cauliflower? When I’ve got time, I love to toss the florets in olive oil and sea salt and roast them to crispy perfection. So good.

New Cookbook: Everyday Happy Herbivore

I recently found myself in possession of a $50 Amazon gift card. By “found myself in possession of,” I mean that Amazon gave it to me because I signed up for an Amazon Rewards Visa card. I did not really sign up for this card by choice – I was perfectly happy with my one credit card – but I needed two more forms of credit to raise my credit rating so that my mom can get removed as a co-signer on my student loans. Really logical, right? I need to potentially put myself in more debt to prove to the loan agency that I can pay off my large amount of existing debt. Yeahhh. I try not to think about it too much because it makes me more than a little angry.

Anyway, the upshot is that I signed up for the credit card (which I will use sparingly, pay off in full every month, and most likely close when Mom’s off my loans) and got a gift card. I spent it on a couple non-necessity items as a treat to myself, including two new cookbooks! One of them is Lindsay Nixon’s Everyday Happy Herbivore: Over 175 Quick-and-Easy Fat-Free and Low-Fat Vegan Recipes. I’m a big fan of her original cookbook, and so far this one is equally impressive. Lindsay promises that the recipes in EHH are quick and easy, so quick that you can get them on the table in 30 minutes or less. While I do enjoy labor-intensive and time-consuming recipes, I also appreciate easier ones for days when I’m hungry and don’t feel up to spending hours toiling in the kitchen.

Last night, for example, I got back from the gym and was not in the mood to spend much time cooking. So I whipped up a Grilled Cheeze sandwich (featuring an oozy, tasty, cheezy sauce) and had Natala’s Chocolate-Cherry Shake for dessert.

Rich & creamy.

Sorry that the photo isn’t great; it was cold outside and the light was fading fast. But the shake was delicious! I kind of failed to measure my ingredients and just eyeballed them, and I think I skimped on the cherries just a bit. Next time I won’t do that.

So far, I’ve also tried the Veggie Biscuit Potpie (so easy and really yummy!) and the Chickpea Tenders (meh – the texture wasn’t great). What else should I try? (Psst – you can check out the table of contents here, if you don’t own the book.)

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