Currently viewing the tag: "autumn"

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For perspective, a stop at Long Island National Cemetery during menial errands on Veterans Day. So many lives.img_6273

Savory crepes at Lil Choc Apothecary before Choir! Choir! Choir! in Brooklyn.
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Pulling beets prematurely.
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Educating the youths.img_6335Soon after he raked the yard. #futuremanimg_6407

Dinner party planning with the help of Frank.img_6145

How delightful to stumble upon a field of flowers in rural New Jersey! I couldn’t pass it up, especially because my own sunflowers are now all dead.  img_4965

Happy sunflower faces against the grey day.

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Kind of a mystery why these cuties are still standing…img_4960

What is more delightful than a field of sunflowers? How about a field of sunflowers surrounding a real-live pumpkin patch! We carefully explored the patch for hints to the origin of pumpkins, which we’ve only ever seen already hacked off their mother stems. Also, squash blossoms!!img_4978

Found this fellow exploring in the patch too.img_4992

Real pumpkins, surrounded by little baby pumpkins growing, assorted vines and, we learned from the farmer guy, the invasive Jimson weed, a dangerous hallucinogen.
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In the patch.img_5002

Wittle baby pumpkins.img_5014

A stark white pumpkin still stemmed.
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The bibbidi bobbidi boo pumpkin!img_5066

I love you, Autumn.

With autumn comes a whole new set of seasonal veggies. I anticipate this change in the fruit and vegetable racks in my local grocer like how some other do clothing lines, a new sneaker, or tickets for whatever millennial-deep (puddle) marketing exec-made “musician” who doesn’t play or write music who’s having success. It’s quality and authenticity that counts, in all areas, but especially food. Like these Starry Night swirls of roasted Romanesco cauliflower.IMG_3296

With first frost coming, I am on a soup kick, enacting my mini-Crockpot at my job, which heats my lunch throughout the morning so I may meet it thoroughly piping hot at it noon, sans microwave. This week, I threw in come butternut squash, which, when prepped, resembles a feminist statement of sorts. Hmmm.IMG_3649

I had a bit of a fail last week when I made a potato and apple soup with no protein component. This week, I was all the more wiser, using the mighty chickpea to help empower my day. IMG_3650

We eat a lot of bananas in our household. We buy 3 bunches for the two of us. My bunch sits patiently all week until the weekend. Speckled and super ripe, I use it partially for my weekly batch of chia oatmeal. And partially for baking. This week, with a belated birthday celebration at my folks’, I made the well-loved marble banana bread recipe from Isa Does It. They love this bread. It was a delight to hear my parents and sister discussing how wonderful a banana bread it is as I played Scattergories in the other room. Boom!IMG_3655

For as long as I have worked, I have always taken off my birthday. It’s a gift I give myself–to be under no obligations but my own. So I do the things I enjoy… driving and finding new places to take pictures of.

Shrine of Our Lady of the Island in Manorville has a shrubbery Rosary Walk and a Stations of the Cross exhibit. Both are nestled in the calm, peaceful woods. You can walk about, unbothered.PicMonkey Collage2

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And an old favorite of a roadside attraction, “The Big Duck.” This quacker is a Long Island icon. PicMonkey Collage

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Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant in East Shoreham never really was a functional nuclear plant. Though its construction topped $2 billion, red tape and public outcry–especially after the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor breakdown and, later, the horrendous Chernobyl disaster–ultimately decommissioned the plant in the late 80’s. But the turquoise wonder still sits in Shoreham behind the trees of the now plentiful homes in the area. Its nuclear materials gone since the 90’s, the site is now a vessel of alternative energy, though I couldn’t see the turbines. But then again, I prefer the idea of roaming about a bright turquoise abandoned nuclear power plant…

The view from the trees of Creek roadDSC_0066

Further west on Creek rd, next to some fancy homes and local beach access, is a docking area with a parking lot. Some old timer was clamming in the teal waters when I pulled up. I followed the foot path towards the plant. The surrounding creek was teeming with life… loon-y looking birds, a swan couple, and lots of aquatic activity. DSC_0087

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In kind of nearby Riverhead, I ate lunch–looking out at the Peconic river. Turkuaz Grill has plenty for a vegan to choose from… and they know where the dairy is. I started with Acili Ezme, minced tomatoes, peppers, onions, walnut, spices, garlic, olive oil, and lemon. Delicious on fresh, soft pita. IMG_3376

Then, the falafel platter. My waiter made some substitutions to make it dairy-free, but I avoided the beets because I convinced myself they were covered in yogurt. It was a fresh, flavorful secretly-my-birthday lunch. IMG_3381

Before setting out on a road trip, a vegan has to consider how long it may be until a proper meal is available. Like a marathoner, it may be appropriate to load up on carbs to anchor the behind in for hours driving (not running). This is why I love Maywood Pancake House so much. The hard part is over (getting past New York City), northbound interstates await with nary a worthy vegan meal in site. But Maywood has vegan pancakes, vegan French toast , and vegan challah bread. Unpretentious dining, great service, and delicious vegan breakfast options are always a wonderful thing… but even more so considering this. IMG_3057

I’ve never been to Cooperstown. Part of the reason for this is that there really isn’t any vegan food options nearby. There is a local natural food store, Cooperstown Natural Foods, which had a great selection of goodies for road snacking. IMG_3115

This sprouted nut blend (Thai lemon curry) from Living Intentions was probably the most delicious nut medley I’ve ever eaten. I loved it so much that I felt it worth taking a picture of its package. IMG_3162

Close by to Cooperstown is Oneonta, a college town with an uncharacteristic quantity of vegetarian eateries: none. We stopped at Green Earth Health Food Market for a veganizable sandwich from the café. Though the staff and vibe is pretty darn awkward (think surly hipster and flaky hippie wrapped in one), the resulting sandwich, made mostly of the store’s products, was pretty darn good. However, the selection in store was not at great as the much smaller Cooperstown Natural Foods. And I am basing this solely on Field Roast Chao and nut cheese availability, an indicator of informed vegan option grocer. IMG_3121

A tempeh reuben. Loved the “not Lightlife” tempeh.IMG_3118

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Oneonta did have Soda Jerks Diner, a new “slashy” to add to my roadside list. The new “slashy” tag is in homage to Zoolander and denotes an eatery that shares operational space with another business. Not your standard slashies—like health food store/café, book store/café, yoga studio/café, but weird combinations. Like this auto lube/diner. Even weirder: an auto lube/diner with vegan options.PicMonkey Collage

Though the French Toast was burnt and the tofu scramble needed some of that cooking time, and maybe even more, I had to keep in mind. I was at an auto lube. How amazing is it that in Oneonta, New York a place vegan options exist in an auto lube shop/diner?! PicMonkey Collage2

They also had a juke box.IMG_3169

You know when you see cartoon pictures of the sun? This is their inspiration. This sun in Cooperstown, outside room 104 of the Best Western Plus.DSC_0009

Driving through peak foliage in central New York is an experience not to be missed.DSC_0001 2

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Of course, when in Cooperstown, there’s the National Baseball Hall of Fame. It is a wonderful museum honoring America’s past time. But it’s also about social progress, something that sports have helped a great deal. PicMonkey Collage3

More autumn beauty…IMG_3256

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The other-worldly sunrise from our room’s window. IMG_3276

A quick bite at Garden Cafe in Woodstock and we were homeward-bound. My juice blend and a pan-seared polenta cake with potatoes. PicMonkey Collage4

Smudgy window pictures of peaking foliage look like paintings. The power, phone and cable lines bisect the beautiful scenery, designating layers. And the rolling Catskills, blotted with orange, carry the cloud’s shadow spots. I love autumn in the east, where the trees give up for the winter. But not before saying goodbye beautifully.DSC_0006
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If you’re like me, you follow strict soup seasons. And autumn is the start of soup time! So I am finally making a recipe from Nava Atlas’s Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews For All Seasons, a years-old gift from The Electrician. I started with a parsnip & potato soup, substituting the sunchokes that were nowhere to be found, unfortunately. I am so delighted with this first batch that I plan to bring on the soup every week!IMG_2899

Soup basics: cut a ton of vegetables and put ’em in a pot. PicMonkey Collage1

Thank goodness for flavor-packed recipes and an immersion blender. IMG_2908

With Hurricane Joaquin worries put out to sea, I had my first proper weekend after my first proper full week of working, finally. Summer is officially gone. It’s back to the grind. IMG_2668

Kitchen renovation cookies, with just a pinch of sawdust.
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Various gourds for the stoop as October is here, the most wonderful time of the year.IMG_2749

The grill is still blazing in the backyard. Here, the other white meat: tofu.IMG_2702

Expert grill marks by The Electrician.IMG_2707

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Roasted broccoli stemsIMG_2705

Harvest lunch for the week: sugar-roasted acorn squash, beet, dinosaur kale, and that tofuIMG_2714

Catching Frank in weird positions.IMG_2740

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