Thursday, October 29, 2015

Fall Foods

Hello everyone! Halloween is just a couple days away, and I can hardly wait! Here's some of the fall foods I've enjoyed this month...

First up is "best snack ever" aka pretzel sticks with melted chocolate chips...

Next is the Simple Baked Sweet Potatoes from The Raw Project (I added cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice as the seasonings)...

Here's the awesome food from when I visited my sister Alena in Philadelphia. We went to Blackbird Pizzeria for lunch...

Alena had a slice of pepperoni pizza.

I had a slice of veggie supreme pizza.

We also decided to share a seitan "chicken" parm...

...and a seitan cheesesteak.

(Of course, we couldn't finish everything, so here were my leftovers.)

I bought a kitchen sink cookie (chocolate chips, potato chips, pretzels, pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes, and oats) on our way out, which we shared later at Alena's place with tea.

We passed this adorable mural (on the side of the building for an animal rescue).

And I got a free copy of Slingshot from Wooden Shoe Books, which I read on the train ride home.


When I got home, I made sure to harvest my little garden before the frost.

Next up is the Greek Lemon Soy Curls and Potatoes from The "V" Word (I left out the olives and parsley)...

And here's something new I tried, but wasn't too fond of; it was too sweet, more like a pumpkin pie puree...

Yesterday I made mashed sweet potatoes (with ½ T vegan butter, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice), a sprinkle of sugar, and some cranberries on top)...

...And baked Halloween cookies... I used the following cookie cutters, but the cookies expanded a bit too much while baking, so they morphed but are still delicious, haha!

Once Halloween is over, it will be that most magical time of the year, the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)! It will be my 6th time participating, and I'll be sure to keep you updated on my progress throughout the month.

Here's Cringer and Daisy, being silly...

...And Buttons and Leela briefly sharing the sunshine until Leela decides, "nah, nevermind"...

Peace. :)

Monday, October 19, 2015

My Apologies for the (Novella)

Hi everyone! It took long enough, but it's finally here! I've officially self-published my story about Mystery: When I Was Midnight, available now at CreateSpace (best royalties hehe) and on Amazon. I'll order some copies of my own, so if you want a signed book, I can put up a Paypal link in a week or so. (I might also look into Kindle publishing, but no guarantees on that yet.)

Rambly backstory if you want it: This novella was written in April 2013 during Camp NaNoWriMo. Once that was done, I did some edits here and there whenever I got the chance, but Mystery often interrupted me. There were always more important things to do, like cuddling with her. After she died on June 17, 2014 (I later wrote about it here), it was tough to get back into the swing of things without her. Eventually I opened up her story and picked up where I'd left off editing. I designed (and re-designed loads more times, haha) the cover, experimented with the formatting, edited, edited, and edited some more. I ordered a physical proof, marking it up with my red pen and recalling all those days spent editing newspaper articles in high school and college. I then edited it a bunch more times using the digital proofer online, and I think it's finally in a good place and ready to be read. Overall, this process has been a lot of fun; I know I've whined “I just want this to be done already!” so many times, but I wouldn't have had it any other way. I'm glad I published it myself, maintaining control over my words and taking responsibility for all the behind-the-scenes work. At various times, I've viewed it as a puzzle, and the editing process in particular as a linguistic version of sculpting – carving out chunks when you realize they aren't necessary, gently chipping away, smoothing rough edges, smiling as the final form comes into view. OK, maybe a bit dramatic but you get the picture haha.

As a preview, here's the introduction to When I Was Midnight...

My human friend is going to help me share my story since I can’t type anything other than “,mkcvaiugew lds.” You might know me as Mystery, but that hasn’t always been my name; for most of my life, I was called Midnight. My new name has a nice ring to it, however, and the two humans who adopted me like it as well. Sometimes they call me “Missy” or “Baby,” which is odd since I am significantly older than they are, but I humor them since it seems to make them happy.

My life now is a lot calmer, safer, and definitely more predictable than it was before. I have three square — well, round, if we are being literal here since they are presented in a bowl — meals a day and I get treats and cuddles and always have fresh water. It’s nice and warm in the apartment where they live and, while they have had to give me a couple baths, at least I am always clean.

I still find myself falling back into old habits every now and then, like getting that nervous feeling that would keep me on high alert when I was out on the streets. Sometimes I stalk around carefully and check for anything out of the ordinary. My human friends call it “checking for monsters,” and I find that slightly patronizing. I know there are no such things as “monsters,” but there are always things that can hurt you, and they are not imaginary. I hope I’m not coming across as pessimistic or dark, but I still remember that dreaded feeling of being scared, of not knowing, of fearing injury and pain.

I have a little stuffed pink bear that I cuddle with; none of the other toys they got for me are the least bit interesting. I mean, I appreciate the sentiment behind them buying all these things for me, but I’m a simple little lady, and I value my leisure now that I have it. Running around and chasing things is for young ones who have excess energy that would otherwise make them bounce off the walls. I have more than earned my rest, so I will treasure it.

I’m good at jumping up onto couches, chairs, and beds. I grumble every now and then, and I greet my friends with a short “m’rahl!” I’ve started talking a lot more; to my human friend, it often sounds like I’m sad and crying, and sometimes, I actually am, so she comes to comfort me; she pets me and snuggles me and sometimes even picks me up. And then I purr and purr and purr.

I like it when they hold me close, me on my back, snuggled into their arms, “like a baby,” as they say. And I like them to rub my belly and to scratch my head with their knuckles. The tall one recently discovered the best scratching spots behind my ears; I like it so much that I can’t help but kick my back legs whenever he does it.

And I don’t hesitate to tell them when I need attention, or to remind them that I would love to have more food added to my bowl. When my human friend sits at her desk and writes, I put my front paws on her seat and meow for attention, and — ever since that time I tried to pull myself up on my own and ended up with my back legs swinging underneath the chair, claws dug into the seat, eyes wide — she lowers my front paws to the ground and picks me up to either sit on her lap or be snuggled like a baby.

I’ve heard I’m also a rather effective alarm clock because my morning yowls — right in their ears — startle them awake faster than any beeping or ringing of their phones ever will. And if they ignore my calls, I just walk on top of them, across their bodies, stepping on their necks and heads, sometimes even on their closed eyes. Eventually they wake up.

There’s not much else to tell about my life right now; the real story started many years ago. I don’t remember exactly when, since we cats don’t keep track of things the way you humans do, with so many different numbers for years, months, days, hours, minutes, and even seconds. If I try really hard, I can almost understand why you would want to, for the purposes of exactness and sureness, but it’s not something we can relate to.

We just have days and nights, warmth and cold. We start out tiny and grow bigger and then start to shrink again. We get older, but we don’t count the years, for that would distract us from living them. It also forces us to be a bit more honest with ourselves. We can’t hide behind a number, nor can we be hurt by one. We are who we are at each point in time, and right now, I’m simply a little old lady cat with a story to tell.

April 1, 2013

Peace. :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

MidWeek Munchies, #1

Hello everyone! Jennifer at My Blissful Journey started a MidWeek Munchies Link Up. I didn't participate in last week's, but I'm here this time! On Saturday, we went to the farmers' market and I got some maple syrup; I haven't tried it yet, but I'm very excited... 

We did our grocery shopping on Tuesday and I got a lot of my usuals... orange juice, soy milk, cereal, spaghetti sauce, Numi roobois chai tea, as well as two EB cheddar mac and cheeses since they were on sale. For produce, I got my usuals of dried cranberries, broccoli, and carrots, as well as sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, and lemons. (I'm planning to try out these two new recipes this week: Simple Baked Sweet Potatoes and Greek Lemon Soy Curls and Potatoes.) 

And finally, two new foods I got during the grocery trip...

Giant brand hummus: I went with the roasted red pepper, which I had with pretzel sticks. It's alright, a bit thinner than other store-bought hummus I've tried before. I'll probably test out some of the other flavors; maybe I'll try the garlic one next.

Royal Blend rice mix: I wanted to try a different quick-cooking rice, and this looked fun. I added broccoli and carrots, as well as some Bragg's and peanut butter for a delicious burrito. 

Peace. :)

Friday, October 9, 2015

Three Delicious Cups/Bowls

Hello there! Today I'm joining in on the first Vegan MoFo Off-Season Community link-up. For the topic of "PICK 3," I've decided to share three cups/bowls I've enjoyed recently.

First up is a miso soup cup, to which I added the last of my Old Bay seasoned tofu...

Second is the vegan chili I got from Just Jackie's Food Truck at the Phoenixville Food Truck Festival... 

And third is my rosemary roasted potato bowl, with carrots, broccoli, and Boca chik'n...

Peace. :)

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Post-MoFo Blogging

Well hello there on this rainy dreary first day of October! Vegan MoFo might be over, but I'm still in the blogging mindset, so here's a quick post for you today!

For lunch, I made Earth Balance's cheddar mac & cheese, topped with sliced carrots and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. 

For dinner, I decided to run with Tea and Sympatico's suggestion of using Old Bay Seasoning with baked tofu. It was good, but I should have used more of the spice mix; next time, hehe!

Served over peanut butter white rice and broccoli.

P.S. Jennifer of My Blissful Journey had the brilliant idea to put together an off-season blogroll of everyone who wants to keep in touch now that MoFo has ended. Feel free to join in on the fun!

In other news, I've started decorating for Halloween... 

Peace. :)