Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cooking Class Returns with Spring Vegetables

I have no idea where this week went. It is beginning to feel like I will never get caught up. Do you ever have days like that?

On Wednesday I made Dan’s breakfast (a kale and banana smoothie), packed his lunch and headed outside to get my blood pumping. I knew that I need to get moving quickly since I had a lot on my to-do list today. Good thing I work well under pressure huh?

Here are a few pictures I took while I was outside getting in a little activity.

Once I got home I did some strength training and got cleaned up so I was ready for my 10am appointment which was not to be. I thought I was doing one thing, and then something happened and I was doing something else. I am not one that adapts well to change but did manage to be constructive in spite of having my schedule turned around. It is funny when I am very busy the least little thing can throw me off my routine.

I used my unscheduled “off time” to make myself breakfast. Since I knew I would be eating more calories for dinner than I normally would at home I combined breakfast and lunch. This time it was my favorite savory oatmeal. It contained my usual: wheat germ, freshly ground flaxseeds, nutritional yeast, cumin, paprika, oregano, no-salt seasoning and was topped with broccoli, salsa and a few white chia seeds.

I worked on my post that I scheduled to post while I was in cooking class which fortunately worked fine. Technology and I are not always friends so I didn’t know what to expect. Needless to say I was happy that it worked. Now I will need to use that more going forward.

Early in the afternoon I had another appointment before I needed to leave the house. Given our very fuzzy felines that climb all over me like a jungle gym I got my face and hair ready but didn’t change clothes until I was ready to walk out the door. Something tells me all the cat and dog owners understand that process very well. ;-)

On my way to cooking class I needed to stop at Costco for a few essential items: nuts, quinoa, and herbs that sort of thing. The rain slowed down my trip but thankfully I was still on schedule, which means early since I don’t like to be late for anything.

It was wonderful to see the regulars at cooking class. I have missed attending class on Wednesday but since it was usually meat and/or cheese it wasn’t a ton of fun for me. When I ran into Donna last week (the cooking teacher) she told me that the next class was spring vegetables and that she could make dishes that were finished with cheese and/or meat and leave those off for me. That was all I needed to hear to attend class. I had a wonderful time on Wednesday and look forward to being able to attend more classes in the future when meat isn’t going to be dominate in the meal. Hmmm, I wonder how Donna would feel about using tofu or tempeh for me. Maybe I will send her an email about that. ;-)

Here are the dishes from class:

We started with roasted asparagus and shallot over mache, and quinoa cooked in veg stock. The asparagus was topped with pine nuts and sun-dried tomatoes. Everyone else had goat cheese and crispy capicola on their servings. I thought this was fine without the meat and dairy. If you wanted to add a crispy element you could use either kale chips, flax cracker shards, or even crispy flat bread. A good substitute for the goat cheese would be almond feta, cashew or macadamia nut cheese.

The next dish was a potato and leek galette served with a baby arugula salad dressed with truffle oil. This was excellent but then again I do love the aroma of truffle. ;-)

The final dish was a spring risotto topped with pea sprouts. I do love my risotto; it must be an Italian thing. It is hard for me to imagine that I used to always add cheese to my risotto. Once you get used to the clean flavor of food with cheese or dairy it is difficult to imagine why you were ever addicted to it. However I was a cheese addict and thankfully that situation is long gone now.

I stuck around for a while after class and talked to everyone and got caught up on what it going on in their lives. When you see people for 3+ hours once it week you tend to get very close to them. I loved having people that were as passionate about food as I was in my life. I really do need to start going to cooking class again when the dishes are ones which are finished with non-vegan items.

Happy thoughts:

• What a great week this has been. Between the cherry blossoms, meeting Jose (swoon), and cooking class it has been a notable week for me. Too bad every week can’t be this much fun. However that is probably what makes weeks like this so special.

• It was fabulous to catch up to everyone from cooking class. However now I realize how much I miss them all. As Dan pointed out I could take care of that by going to class more. Now I just need to find time in my schedule to make that happen.

• Wednesday was a super long day since I didn’t get home until after 10:30 and Dan and I talked until almost 1 am. However it was still a wonderful day.

• Do you have those days where you wonder how life got so busy? That has been my week and I am not sure how it happened. Okay so realistically I know that I did it to myself taking on too many responsibilities but when I started them I had free time. I am thankful that I have time to do so many things, and hope that I have learned to say no to many more things for the foreseeable future. ;-) Only time will tell right?  I still want to work in a few cooking classes.  I am a glutton for punishment sometimes.  LOL

Questions for You:

I was very surprised by the lack of comments to the post yesterday which I thought was one of my better posts.  Since the post did get a lot of traffic I assume I am the only one that enjoyed that post.  Which leads me to wonder what is that you want to read here?  What information are you hoping to see on the blog?  Any hints or suggestions that you can provide would be very much appreciated.  My goal is to provide information that is useful and hopefully entertaining and am not sure that I am accomplishing that at the moment.  *shrugs shoulders*

Signing out:

It is time for me to make myself presentable for dinner. Assuming that I do things correctly this will post while we are out socializing. *fingers crossed* Talk to you all again tomorrow. I hope you are having a fabulous weekend.


  1. I'm a little jealous that you can attend veganized cooking classes. Everything looks delicious! I'm also a sucker for truffle oil.

  2. Jackie,

    It helps that we have known the teacher for 5 years or so. ;-) However I agree it was very nice of her to offer to adapt the recipes so they could be vegan for me and omni for everyone else.

    I am with you, truffle oil really does make almost everything better.

    hope you enjoy your Sunday,

  3. Do comments really matter? I mean, you said you saw you got a lot of traffic on the post--what do comments add that "traffic" doesn't? I am sorry, I don't blog and know nothing about technology, so I don't know if that is a dumb question or not, lol. Or is it just that you *like* the comments? Or do comments have something to do with how your blog is rated/deemed "successful" etc?

    I don't always have time to comment, but I will really try to comment more when I do have time to read! If I have time to read, I must have time to comment, right?!


  4. Courtney,

    Great question and thank you for causing me to think it through more fully. When I read a blog and don't comment it is because I didn't agree with what I read. At the moment I don't have time to read other blogs, when I do I always let the writer know what I enjoyed in their post.

    Blogging is a funny thing it can be a one-way or two-way conversation. When you are writing and no one comments you have no idea why. Did they dislike your post, disagree with it, find it boring you really have no idea. Does that make more sense?

    I hope you are having a good Sunday,

  5. Hi, I read an article on blogging 101 last year. It was written by an experienced blogger. The article said that about 92 or 93% of readers to your blog won't provide comments. Of the remaining 7%, about 1% will write more than once or be frequent commentators and the balance may just comment once.

  6. Ali, I think many times some of us don't my case because I rarely have time to...but actually, yours is the first blog I go to...always interesting..I learn something and try new combinations of ingredients... Your experience is a constant amazement to me b/c you are the first person I have "met" who can actually put into practice the medical info you read..all too often, I read and make notes, but don't seem to be able to do all that I know..
    Don't be discouraged by few comments..your work and attention to detail are very rare,,,All the best..Coco

  7. I have been offline all weekend, but I always enjoy catching up on your posts. One thing that is probably unintentional in your writing, but I enjoy very much, is seeing your wonderful relationship with Dan. I also always like the interesting food combinations you have at home as well as eating out. I am really impressed with your cooking class, too, you show all of us through your blog as well as at Ian's, your class, etc, how delicious and varied healthy vegan food can be.

    That is really incredible that you met Jose Andres, and I agree, going through the server instead of walking up to him is the way to do it.

  8. I enjoy reading your posts about what you guys are doing & eating out, but I tend to comment more on your posts with recipes because that's what I cut & paste & go home & try.

  9. Ali, you're assuming that people will comment more on your "better" posts. I don't know about that... Speaking for myself, sometimes I'm busy and other times I don't think I have anything useful to say--but I still enjoy your posts!

    Also, I wouldn't feel bad about not taking photos at every meal. I think your readers know what the basic foods look like. It's the new recipes and any unusual purchases that are useful to see.

  10. I would think that posts that people didn't like/didn't agree with would get *more* comments than posts that people did like--people are usually pretty eager to argue/complain/point out something they don't like or agree with. But something like like? They may just read it and silently agree or approve. I don't think it means that people are not liking what you post, and like you said, you can see a lot of people are reading your blog :-)



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