Sunday, May 23, 2010

One year and two months ago...

Was my last post.
It doesn't feel like that long ago. But there it is. I think perhaps it's safe to say I am not into blogging right now.
And that's ok.
Or perhaps Facebook has simply replaced what this blog was for me to begin with, a place to connect with friends and family over the Internets.

I have moved to NE Portland, I have advanced in my career, I am doing well. My life is good. I do not have garden at this time and when I do it will be much smaller. I am knitting and crafting still. My bike commute grew. My circle of friends has shifted, with some sorrow and regrets and some new additions. I am not taking many pictures right now. I still want to learn how to sew more. I am still making up recipes and for that alone I should keep a blog, or at least a journal and I tend to forget what I did later...

Anyways. perhaps someday I will pick up again when I have something to share.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I long ago. ok not so long, 2 years? 3? Started this blog with ambitions of grandeur that life got in the way of. Such is the way of things. I am actually surprised I kept it up this long! I have a short attention span.

Anyways. Although I am geeky and crafty, I am not really one to make geeky crafts. The Geeky Craftser is gone.

I am a lot more into the reduce, reuse, recycle, re-purpose DIY, back-to-basics kind of environmentalist nut job. Naturalista was more tune in line with my philosophy and politics.
So I changed the name. Making Do is more me. New layout is for fun. I am not sure I like the title yet. It might change (the graphic not the name.)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Vegan cream sauce and bonus dairy free white russian recipie

Yes vegan. Because if you are going to make a cream sauce and can't consume moo juice, then that's what it will be. And it will be good.
I have been experimenting in dairy replacement in various foods: scalloped potatoes, soups, lasagna, baked goods. I am having a blast. The sciencey me loves experimentation and it keeps things interesting in the kitchen.

Last week I made a lasagna that was gluten and dairy free and I really did not miss the ricotta or mozzarella, it was good. The 'ricotta' recipe was good But I think I can do better. It was pine nuts nutritional yeast and salt in a food processor, basically. There are more complicated richer 'nut cheese' sauces like this to try that I think will be better but this was still tasty.

My research also led me to two interesting other paths to explore. Someone in a forum on food allergy/intolerant eating mentioned that bechemal sauce can be made simply by replacing alternative milks (like soy) in place of the milk and oil or vegan margarine in place of butter. Another was a recipe using such a sauce for scalloped potatoes. I happen to have many potatoes on hand so I tried this.

It was good, but rich and I felt too heavy with the nutritional yeast (more on this later) But good, hearty, comfort food potatoes. I was out of nutmeg, but it needed nutmeg and it would have been just fantastic, if a bit strong on the yeast. Also the brand of hemp milk I used was not very attractive, it was brown gray, so I don't recommend Hemp Dream. Living Harvest is much better. MUCH.I love it actually.

So I wondered if I could make a cream sauce for pasta, like an Alfredo and then started craving it. So today I tried it out and I am super pleased with the results.

Another advantage to this dairy free cream sauce that might make it worthwhile to you dairy happy folks, is that it's super low in calories and fat in comparison to the regular kind. Seriously less.

Before going into the recipe, for the uninitiated, nutritional yeast is good for you, and it makes things taste 'cheesy'. Not like cheese exactly, but it imparts a cheesiness to things. Or a dairy-ness to them, for lack of a better explanation. But as I mentioned before, I find that it can be over done and the flavor can be strong. So this time, I added a bit at a time to my sauce. And I tried it before and after adding the yeast and it makes all the difference in the world to make the cream sauce taste like, cream sauce.

Another important note: margarines often contain dairy derivatives, like casein(as to many fake cheeses) It's important to get one that is vegan and that it does not contain lactose, casein, whey, or any milk component. Non hydrogenated is also always a smart choice.

Also, hemp milk you ask? Yes, hemp. It's full of stuff like proteins and omega 3's and is not soy. I have many health and political reasons for not consuming soy. I do consume some. Such as the vegan margarine and the occasional tofu, traditional fermented soy things like tamari. But for the most part I avoid it like the plague and think most other people should too.

Rice milk is tasty but thin, almond milk is to, almond (but delicious!), same for hazelnut. Oat milk just sounds wrong but I haven't tried it. hemp milk is thick, rich, slightly nutty, and really satisfies in cooking and drinking as a milk replacer. Except in coffee. nothing seems to take the place that half and half once had in my life.
( I bet you never knew there were so many milk alternatives out there did you.)

My Mushroom cream sauce:

Half a stick vegan margarine. (I use earth balance) You can also use olive oil or another oil. I wanted the 'butter' flavor the margarine has.
1/4 cup flour or flour alternative ( I used half sorghum and half tapioca flours)
2 cups hemp milk (I use living harvest)
2 tsp or so tahini paste (can do without, it adds some texture and body)
3-4 tsp nutritional yeast (to taste)
1 cup crimni mushrooms
salt and pepper to taste
grate some fresh nutmeg in at the end. nothing goes with a white sauce like nutmeg.

make a roux with the margarine and flours cook a few minutes to cook out flour taste, stir constantly.
add milk slowly stirring all the while
add salt and pepper
add nutritional yeast
Add mushrooms
cook till mushrooms are done
(white wine would be good in this but alas, I had none.)

I couldn't tell the difference. it was so good.

OH and I was watching ace of cakes on my computer today, and they made a Big Lebowski cake and kept talking about white Russians, which I love. So I thought about how to make one sans cream. I have hazelnut milk on hand (which makes fantastic hot cocos that taste like nutella btw. So I went and bought some Kahlua. I can't afford both Kahlua and vodka and the one is really a treat enough so...mine were sans vodka. but here you go:
use chilled ingredients or add ice:
1 part Kahlua
1 part vodka
1 part hazelnut milk
mix and enjoy.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

More shades of red

Today I tired a new recipe for vegan gluten free chocolate cake. It's really more like chocolate pie. I don't have a high powered blender. But diary and wheat free none the less. Not vegan since I used an egg instead of egg replacer. With raspberry-strawberry sauce it was pretty good!

I have had fun at the thrift shops recently. I got a dress last week for valentines day that was originally 400$. Small line designer Dagg and Stacy, with he tags still on it. It's a large and for some reason it fit and was half off the 40$ price tag. So I got it for 22 bucks. A deal! And it is cute! It looks much better on a person that it does on a hanger I have to admit. It's very vintagy inspired and cute.

We went to Wildwood for dinner, where we went last year and then to the last few acts of the Oregon Sesquicentennial celebration at Crystal Ballroom to listen to some Americana. I am quite taken with Jackstraw. We rounded out the night watching the latest episode of Battlestar Galactica. Good valentines.

Today we were out thrifting for a show we are going to on Friday night that has a red theme. The band, Chervona is Romany/Russian inspired and so a red communist theme is encouraged. I will be in red and black thanks to this awesome oxblood colored leather jacket from Goodwill. I must be having half off tag sale luck because I got this 50$ find for 25$. It's awesome with princess seams, just the kind of leather jacket I want.

Tomorrow I plan in trying out my new to me sewing machine my Grandma has ever so wonderfully bestowed on me. I have several pant waistbands to take in and hopefully I can figure out how to tuck them and still have them look ok. And also I may try to sew a wool felt skirt out of a wool felt jacket I never wear but love the Grey felt. A wool skirt would be just the thing I think! I might even have a pattern. I need to be finding someplace local to buy thread though so I might be walking down to Josephine's Dry goods tomorrow too. I am running out of thread. Their fabric is amazing but out of my price range, but hopefully I can afford their thread!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Fuscha Food

I have too many beets (still) so I made borscht the other day using a recipe from the Edible Portland free quarterly Publication. It's a Ukrainian borscht. I have never had it before. It's a frightening shade of reddish purple for a soup ( the pic makes it look really red), and it has a name that is fun to pronounce. It's also very tasty. It tastes like beety veggie soup. I think I might try to make it with beef stock and oxtails next time.

Also, I plan to make much less of it. The recipe left me with a gallon of soup. And I am the only one who is home to eat it (and can, beets are too sugary for B.)
Anyone want a jar of borscht?

I am also making normal peanut butter cookies and I cannot wait to eat one. They are in the oven and smell delightful.

Monday, February 2, 2009

In Which I Post Pics of Yummy Food, a Recipie and Random Things.

I know I haven't posted in awhile. It was the holidays and work was nuts and traveling and just general winter shut in behavior for me. It's not that I can;t think of interesting things to post about, I just haven't felt like it.

Sad things, there will be no garden this spring. Normally I would be perusing seed catalogs and debating whether or not to do starts indoors or build a cold frame this year and stuff, but sometime this year, most likely in the springish, I'll be moving to the other side of town. So instead for creating garden beds, I will be tuning under all my years of hard work with this soil, and seeding it with...grass. landlords request, as although they don't mind whatever I do with the yard, there is no guarantee future tenets will care at all, much less grow food. At some point we will have to also, stop adding tot he compost bin and turn that under too. Which is sad, this year's is going to be awesome. Maybe I can find someone who will add it to their bin.

In other related news, Tomorrow is the anniversary of the the day B and I met. Out first date. So we're going out. Sadly, the restaurant we met at has closed so we're going someplace else. But there will be video games and dollar movies and Thai food and walking so it will be fun anyways.

On the crafts front, I am knitting a sweater (again) for myself. I plan on finishing this one! I am almost done with the back panel. That's about as far as I got with the other one...I am trying to plan valentine crafts and birthday crafts but I don;t know I will get to them. I am already behind one birthday (sorry mom) and so that means I probably won't get things made or started before other birthdays either (sorry Sis.) But I will try!!! I have a yen to embroider so you all may get delayed cute things to frame if I get off my bum and do it. OK embroidery requires sitting on one's bum so, this might work...

I recently acquired a pressure cooker as a xmas gift. It's intended function was for canning foods that need a pressure cooker to kill off the spores of botulism bacterias. Like everything but jam and tomatoes. However, cooking in a pressure cooker is damn awesome. Energy saving and fast. It's an over looked way of cooking I think. In our country anyways. My pressure cooker is Swiss.
So this stew was made in half an hour. Total, prep and all. I would have cooked the meat a wee bit longer, like a minute or two, but other than that it cooked in about 10 mins, 10 mins for cutting veg. It was delicious. I cooked chicken the first time, and added too much liquid and cooked it for too long. The chicken was great, tender juicy...the veggies ended up a mush in the broth that was made. SO when I made their stew, I cooked the meat for 10 min, then added the veg and cooked for 5 min more. Perfect.

Not that oven roasting can be replaced. pressure cookers use steam pressure to cook, so there is no crispy browning reactions to be had like this chicken dish from last month.

I have started to move away from following baking recipes for gluten free cooking by the book. yay! The more familiar I become with all the different flours and what not the more I can experiment I hope to move into GF bread sometime in the next year. B still can't eat a lot of carbs so there is real no rush to learn anyways.

I have recently discovered I'm lactose intolerant. And I haven't experimented much with this, but I think it's for both the protein and the sugar in milk, casein and lactose. Which means my body doesn't make the enzymes needed to digest them. I had wondered for awhile, but in the last year my digestive issues have gotten worse, and I have always had them, just never said anything to anyone. I think I have been more or less seriously intolerant since I was just out of high school. I feel 100 times better, and more energetic. However. I am not happy about removing dairy from my life and it has become a chore to eat out and buy premade items like cookies or cakes. =( bah!

SO I am also now learning, more than before, how to cook dairy free.

This is a recipe for chocolate hazelnut butter cookies. or as I have been calling them in my head nutella cookies. I would have used peanut butter, but we had more hazelnut butter.

2 c. gluten free/dairy free flour mix (or pancake/baking mix)
1/2 tsp. baking soda (or 1tsp baking powder if baking mix does not have baking powder included)
1tsp. xanthan gum. (I want to experiment with other gums, since this is derived from corn.)
1 tsp salt (less if you like less salty sweets I like extra salt in nut and chocolate cookies)
1/2 c. nut butter of some kind
1./2 c. agave nectar + 1 tsp molasses (more if you don't need to cut out sugar. 3/4 c brown and 1/2rd white)
2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
2 squares dark chocolate grated ( or as many chips as you like)

mix all dry ingredients together
mix all wet ingredients together in a separate bowl
add wet to dry and mix. If mix is too dry add a little hemp milk till it all comes together.

roll out tsp sized balls onto a cookie sheet
press with a fork or flatten
cook at 350 degrees for about 9 mins or so.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Support Science and Culture in These Dark Times

I did not get laid off today. I am extremely lucky. I'm in the "Why me? Why not me? What's going on? What are we going to do?" phase of dealing with the fact I lost 20 co-workers today. Several, at least a 3rd, of whom I have, or had, direct working relationships with. People who I saw every day for the last 5 years. People who I mentored, who mentored me, who are role models to me, who have taught me, who have influenced my life and direction. Today they are part of the jobless rate.
20 people is a lot when your workforce is 200 or so in the off season. (Seasonal summer hires bump it up a lot.)
20 people is a lot as you have watched open positions go unhired and people have moved on to 'pursue other avenues of interest" over the last year.

I am in education. I am not in a corporation. I am not in retail. I am not in electronics. I am not in the car industry, in real estate or in banking.

I work for a non profit private school. Otherwise known as the local science museum.

I teach people.
Kids. Grownups. Everyone.

I am not a school teacher. I do what is called informal education.

People like me work in science museums, art museums, history museums, natural history museums, zoos, children's museums, aviation museums ( do you see a trend here?).

I work in a cultural center. And we are being affected by the economic crisis too.
We are a luxury. We are a 'local attraction".

We get you excited about the sciences, the arts and history. The past, present and future. We inspire young minds to explore, learn, seek, grow...

So when you are out there, deciding what to do for the day with you limited entertainment dollars, please consider supporting the arts and sciences in your local community. Go visit a museum. Forget the 2 1/2 hour movie, or the amusement park, or the mall. Forget the new video game or the fancy meal.
Get thee some learnin'!
Goodness knows our country needs it!