Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Hibee's new blog!

Hibee had a blog for awhile, but she couldn't ever think of what to write in it. So, she deleted that one, and maybe the act of deleting the old helped her think of what to theme a new blog about! She just started a new blog called hibee's blog where she chronicles her vegan cooking exploits. She even created the template herself! I'm impressed! It's a bit hard to read because of the bright and dark colors, but if you highlight the words you can read it. I think she'll work on making it more readable.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Bloggers meet in real life

On Saturday, Dawn, and Mimi drove down from Washington and came to my house! I fed them homemade pizza and then we hit Powell's. Mimi and I enjoyed initiating Dawn into the Society of Powell's Lovers. :-) Then we went to Oblation, where Katie works and met up with her. We went out to dinner and had a fabulous time all around. Here's the photo taken of us on Dawn's camera:
Dawn, Mimi, Elizabeth, Katie (from left to right)

Friday, January 27, 2006


The correct name of the opening band was Three5Human, not 3fivehuman. We're currently listening to the CD we bought last night--and the lead singer was there when Paul bought it and he got it signed. :-)


WHAT an awesome concert! The opening band was 3fivehumans. Now, I usually see opening bands as something to get through until I can hear who I went for. But 3fivehumans was great! They only did a couple of songs by themselves, and then Indigo Girls came on and they played together, which meant they had a full band accompanying them. They really went well together, and they were a lot of fun to watch!

The concert was in the Crystal Ballroom at the Mcmenamins on W. Burnside--just a couple of blocks from Powells. (Yes, Mimi, everything does revolve around Powells! ;-) The only thing we were disappointed about is that the only seats were two rows in the balcony--and the kids weren't allowed up there, since there's a bar there. And they were full anyway. So, we stood, which we complained about until the concert started and then we were happy to be able to stand and move a bit to the music--until it got so jammed that no one could move without seriously invading someone else's private space! We were thinking, 35 bucks a ticket for no seats? But we were told that 100% of the proceeds goes to Habitat for Humanity. Oh, and they were promoting something called Women Build, and they're building two houses! Hibi and I want to get involved.

And the thing didn't even start until 9.....We were out late last night! Good thing Paul's day off is today.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Mimi's always talking about the music she's listening to, so I'll brag that we're going to the Indigo Girls concert on Thursday! We've all been to one before, and Hibi and I went to hear Amy Ray last year in San Francisco. This one is a fund-raiser for Habitat for Humanity, and they're doing something about Women Building or somesuch. I'll have to find out more about that.

The concert starts at *9 pm* though. We had to really weigh whether we could stay awake for it! Thank goodness that we are all kind of night owls, though Paul's been going to bed at 10 lately.

Indigo Girls is our Very, Very Favorite. We have branched out in the last couple of years, and we now listen to more than just Indigo Girls, like Ani Difranco, U2, Wailin' Jennys, John McCutcheon (he's coming to Portland, too, in April!) and Bruce Cockburn. But Indigo Girls is still our Very Favorite.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Delicata Squash with Wild Rice

We had this for dinner last night. It was so good! Though I couldn't find the wild rice that I was sure I'd bought, so I used some kind of brown rice--it wasn't ordinary brown rice but had brown and black grains--that I had on hand. Here it is:

Delicata Squash with Wild (or not) Rice

2 delicata squash
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup dry sherry
2 cups cooked wild rice
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1/3 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Halve the squash and scrape out the seeds. (You can use the seeds and strings in vegetable broth.) Arrange squash, cut side down, on a baking dish and bake in a 400 degree oven until tender.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and saute onion until soft. Stir in the sherry and pepper and simmer 3 minutes. Stir in the cooked wild rice and heat through. Add the parsley and mix well. Keep warm.

In a blender (or food processor) puree the sour cream, toasted walnuts, cream cheese, milk, lemon juice, cinnamon and 1/2 teasoon salt. Add a little extra milk if needed to make a smooth sauce.

To serve, spoon the rice mixture into the squash cavities, pour walnut sauce over squash and serve immediately.

So, while we were eating this yummy dish, Paul had an interesting idea for a cookbook. He thought of it because, for Hibi, I served the sauce separately and gave her walnuts and a lemon half to squeeze over hers. He thought it would be a great idea to write a cookbook that has recipes for meals that are easily made to meet the needs of both vegetarians who eat dairy and eggs and vegans. Like this one--just leave the sauce off, have some walnuts and lemon juice, and it's a tasty vegan meal. I've really learned a lot about adapting to both diets in the last year and a half, since Hibi went vegan. But it would have been difficult if we'd gone straight from eating meat to having to do both veg and vegan.

Hibi really liked the idea and immediately started writing down recipes that we do this with--pastitsio (I make the regular meatless pastitsio that I adapted years ago, then also make a vegan cream sauce and make a separate small one for Hibi), bruschetta, Mexican night--just put on your taco whatever you want, etc. I might be able to do this. We'll see.

My Weekend

I went back to St. Nicholas Ranch--where we used to live--for the weekend. We had a Presvyteres Retreat--presvytera is my title as priest's wife. I went down with the other presvytera from our parish and the diakonissa (deacon's wife), and we met up with other presvyteres in Sacramento, and drove down with them, and we had a rollicking good time! Our Metropolitan Gerasimos (our bishop) was our speaker. Which I wouldn't have normally chosen, but he was really great. One thing I loved about his presentation was that when he'd ask us a question about ourselves, and women would begin to answer "well, as a priest's wife" or "I have to be there for my husband" he'd say "no, I asked about YOU, not about your husband." He wanted to relate to us as women, as human beings, not just as priests' wives, which is the kind of speaker I've been wanting for ages for this retreat--though I wanted it to be a woman. ;-)

As we've just started in this parish, and haven't had a parish before, I've been thinking about how I am to relate to people, what people expect of me, how they'd like me to be with them. And I really didn't know, until I thought back to when I was a child. I can remember it being a big deal to us kids if the pastor's wife gave one of us a hug or a kiss--we kind of bragged on it, because the fact is, my pastor's wife didn't really pay much attention to the kids. I decided when I remembered that that I want to be someone who notices kids and other people. And I won't always have time to stop and have a conversation, but a smile and a kind word is enough.

At the retreat we talked about the fact that our call to minister to other people really isn't any different from any other Christian person's, but the fact that our husbands' are priests provides more opportunity for ministry.

While I was gone, the kids and dad had a great time. I think they were really ripe for some time together, just as kids and dad. No one was sad to see me go. :-) Oh, they were happy I was back, but they really enjoyed some time together without me, which was great.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


I've been tagged by Dawn. :-)

So, here goes:

Four jobs you have had in your life:

1. Babysitter--starting at age 12. My mom did daycare most of my growing-up years, so I always had plenty of customers for folks who needed someone to sit in the evenings.
2. Fruit packer--the job that earned a good bit of money in high school. I did piece work, so if I could work fast, without packing crud that the inspector would bring back to me, I could earn quite a bit.
3. House cleaner--I did this in college. I worked for an agency, where I earned 1/3 of the amount that the agency charged the individual. That sucks.
4. Day care provider--both in a preschool and doing home day care.

Four movies you could watch over and over:

1. Benny and Joon--my very favorite. We watched it about 6 times in the theater when it came out. That was just before I was pregnant with Hibi, who caused a moratorium on going out to movies!
2. Return to Me--I cry every time I see this movie.
3. The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. Saw it twice in the theater and now I have the DVD on order so I can watch it over and over!
4. Can't think of a fourth that would fit this description, but I did like Amelie. Liked it better the second time I saw it.

Four Places you have lived:

1. Reedley, CA (near Fresno)
2. El Cajon, CA (San Diego county)
3. Boston
4. San Francisco

4 TV shows you love to watch:

We don't watch TV at home (except for one recent lapse in our vow of no TV at home....) But here are ones we watch when we're staying in a hotel:
1. Law and Order
2. Umm...I can't remember any others that are current
3. During the two months we were staying in someone else's condo in Florida, we watched Mystery! on PBS
4. Our recent lapse was Book of Daniel, which we wanted to watch and Paul went to the trouble to figure out that yes, we can get TV channels on our TV that has no antennae or cable attachment! We'll probably rue that day.

Four places you've been on vacation:

1. My favorite--Paris!
2. Mexico--Copper Canyon Railroad--another favorite
3. The year after we married, we took our Tour of the Western United States, including California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and Arizona. All in two weeks. I don't know what we were thinking. We certainly didn't SEE anything.
4. Bakersfield. No, just kidding, but that's where we said we'd have to vacation the year after we went to Paris, since that one was so expensive. Okay, so last year we went to Patrick's Point homeschool campout, in Northern CA for part of our vacation, and to Portland for the rest of it. :-)

Four Websites you visit daily:

I think this is supposed to not include blogs.....since I've started blogging, mostly what I look at is blogs! But here's some that I like:

1. SFGate
2. Google--I definitely use that one daily
3. Can't think of any more.

Four of your favorite foods:

1. Pastitsio
2. Pasta with pesto and fresh summer tomatoes
3. Choice Liquorice Peppermint tea
4. Stir-fried very fresh vegetables over rice

Four Places you would rather be right now:

I really like where I am right now. But here are some places I'd love to go:
1. Italy
2. Paris again
3. San Francisco again
4. New York City

Four Bloggers you are tagging:

1. Jennifer
2. Christina
3. LaDonna (Though I don't know if she's the meme type....)
4. Laurie

Monday, January 16, 2006

Our Day

MLK day! I never posted about Epiphany, and I had some thoughts I wanted to share, too. But we're past Epiphany and I was too busy to post so I'll post about MLK day.

I really wanted to attend an event today, because we did last year in San Francisco and it was such an amazing experience. That was the first time I heard the Glide church choir, and I think I sobbed all through it, as well as the part of a speech that they played of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s.

So, I found an event I wanted to attend, but I first wanted to get something else done. We're usually terrible at thank you notes. But this year I wanted to light a fire under my kids and get them to do them! So, I sat down with them (the only tried and true method of getting them to do anything is to do it with them) and we all made thank you notes. Except that long after I was done, and long after Hibi was done, Zac still hadn't finished one. I looked at what he was doing. He had drawn one picture and decided it wasn't good enough. Then he'd drawn another picture, but it had to be perfect. That was for one thank you note, but just a picture wasn't enough. He had to write a comic strip, since it was the money that came from this person that he bought the full set of Calvin and Hobbes with, which has inspired his drawing comics. So he had to draw four panels and put in dialogue as well. And he had to have everything spelled out for him, because he didn't want to mispell anything!

It took us 3 hours and 15 minutes, to get my 3 thank you notes done, Hibi's 4 thank you notes done, and Zac's 5 thank you notes done. I was ready to get out by then!

We had the usual program filled with cute kids' choirs, speakers awarding plaques for service to the community, and other performances. There was one choir that I was magnetized to. It was a women's choir, and they accept anyone who wants to join. They sing for peace and justice issues, as well as feminist ideals. Here's the themes of their music from their website:
Celebrating women
Performing a variety of music
Honoring life and humanity in all its diversity

Cool, huh! I knew immediately I want to get involved. I just have to get more info, which I've emailed for.

A good day, though Paul wasn't able to join us. He had a funeral to do today and house blessings. But as I was listening to a speech on the radio from MLK, I thought: we don't have any leaders like that now, and we so sorely need one.

UPDATE: Just as I was posting this, I got an email from a leader of the choir, saying they're full up for this term, but I can get on the waiting list for next term, starting in September. So I did. :-)

Monday, January 9, 2006


Yep, it's strep. I feel like a dope for not realizing it before now, when she's been sick since last Tuesday! But at least now she's on the road to getting rid of the sore throat.

Sunday, January 8, 2006

Hibi's tonsils

Hibi wants me to post about her tonsils. :-P I thought she just had a cold with a bad sore throat, which started I think on Tuesday. We've laid kinda low since then, though we did go to church on Friday morning for Epiphany, and we worked at the Food bank yesterday morning and went to a baptism reception. I thought she was getting better! I also have had a bit of a cold, which I figured I caught from her.

Last night she was feeling worse and slept in our room, something she hasn't done since she was very little. This morning we stayed home from church, and mid-morning or so she came to me saying that her tongue was coated with yellow stuff. And she'd just scrubbed it with her toothbrush! I looked at it and thought, ick! I told her to scrub again and she did, to no avail. I then finally (duh!) thought to look at her throat. Her tonsils were and are hugely swollen and had one large pustule on one. Over the afternoon and evening they've gotten more swollen with lots more pustules. She's quite grossed about about having pus-filled things in her throat! I think we have either tonsillitis or strep on our hands. I've never been really sure what the tonsils even look like, since I've never had any trouble with mine and can't really distinguish them from anything else in there. But now I know. These are huge. And I've never had strep, and neither has Paul. It's so much easier dealing with things we've dealt with before.

Thursday, January 5, 2006


Originally uploaded by sanfranfamily.
I made them today! They are *so* yummy....if artery-clogging. But what are the holidays without a little clogged artery? I even made vegan ones for Hibi. They're so good I may not even bother making separate batches next year.

So, a few years ago I picked up a book called _Mennonite Foods and Folkways from South Russia_. The Mennonites did come through Russia as they fled religious persecution. They were there for many years, before they again experienced persecution and fled again. But I never, before reading this book, realized how much my old tradition and my new tradition have in common! Mennonites celebrating Lent because they lived in an Orthodox Christian context? I would have never thunk it. There are recipes for Paska (Easter bread) in the book. The amount that rubbed off onto the Mennonites is startling, especially given the response I got from Mennonites when I decided to become Orthodox.

There are some cute German poems in this book about Portselkje, which is why I mention the book. Here's one (in English):

I came here a-running,
My pants are ripped,
My pockets stayed behind.
Now you must give me something.
I'm looking over the long table.
What have you been baking?
Wonderful New Year's fritters!
Give me one, and I will stand,
Give me two, and I will go,
Give me three at the same time,
Then I wish you the kingdom of heaven.

I wish, I wish,
I'm only a little man;
I haven't learned much,
But still I'm worth a Portselkje!<
br />

So, recipes. First the original recipe, then the vegan one.

Portselkje (New Year's Cookies)
Dissolve 2 packets of yeast in 1/2 cup warm water in a large bowl, along with 2 teaspoons sugar. Add 3 teaspoons salt and beat in 6 eggs. Add 2 cups floured raisins (just mix a little flour into raisins before adding them), 2 cups warm milk, and 4 cups flour. Mix well, cover, and let stand until dough raises to double. Heat oil and/or shortening in a pot--at least 2 inches--to 350 degrees. Use a spoon to spoon out big dollops of batter--about 2 tablespoons--into hot oil. Turn when browned on the first side. When nicely browned, remove to paper towels or paper bags. When they're still warm, dust with powdered or granulated sugar, mixed or not with cinnamon. Yum!

My dad always used to put the cookies into a paper bag with sugar and toss them that way.

Vegan Portselkje

Dissolve 2 packets of yeast and 2 teaspoons of sugar in 1 cup of warm water in a big bowl. Add 3 teaspoons salt, 2 cups floured raisins, 2 cups warm soy milk, and 4 cups flour. Mix well, cover, and let stand until doubled. Cook as for the previous.

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Oh, yeah!

Dried cherry bread
Originally uploaded by sanfranfamily.
I got my groove back. Here's the dried cherry bread I made today. I followed the raisin bread recipe in Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book but couldn't find my raisins, so I used dried cherries instead. (I've subbed different kinds of dried fruit before.) No problems at all except for a bit of sticking. Might be because I had to wash the pans after the catastrophe two days ago. I don't usually wash them between bakings.

I'm going to try to make the New Year's Cookies tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Bread website and more bread baking

Ooh! I noticed that I got a referral from a baking site--that means, when I look at my stats, how people are finding my blog, that's where they clicked on a link to my blog. Anyway, I checked out this other site--they'd linked the recipe I posted yesterday. It's a cool site! I'll go ahead and link them right back. It's The Fresh Loaf.

In other bread baking news.....it was ironic that just before I went to bake yesterday, I posted that recipe on my blog. For I turned out with a mess. I have only botched just a couple of batches of bread in the whole....let's see....I've probably been baking bread every week for at least 9 years. But this is botched! It seemed to do fine until it was rising in the pan. Then it just sagged. Hibi also made a loaf of bread, since what I was making wasn't vegan. And hers turned out the same way! Paul made vasilopita, and it *finally* rose enough to bake, and actually turned out very beautiful. He wonders if it's barometric changes that's doing this. I couldn't come up with any better explanation than the yeast being bad, as I did open a new pouch of it yesterday. But most of the yeast for my batch came from the old pouch.

Paul made two loaves of vasilopita and we brought one to a meeting last night. We actually had to finish baking it there because it wasn't done yet! But it was delicious and when we got home I looked at the one he'd put in the fridge. Hey, you didn't cover it! I said. So I took it out and covered it. I got in bed and then thought, I didn't put it back in the fridge.....but I was too tired to get up again. When I got up this morning Paul had it in the oven. It hadn't risen all over the place, so I'm thinking the yeast has to not be very good. It's actually just beautiful now. Very slow acting yeast, I guess. But I'm just mystified at all our results.

Botched Bread

Originally uploaded by sanfranfamily.
No, no. You don't want pictures. Really. It's just terrible. Well, okay, here they are. My three loaves on the left, and Hibi's bread that we couldn't even get out of the pan.

Vasilopita--St. Basil's Bread

Originally uploaded by sanfranfamily.
And here's Paul's second Vasilopita! Beautiful, huh? Though the bottom tore out when I took it out of the pan. And the (offending?) pouch of Bob's Red Mill yeast in the background. I've recommended Bob's yeast for years because it's the only really reliable yeast I've found.

Monday, January 2, 2006

Who are you?

We bloggers like to know who is reading our blogs, and I'm no exception! I got the idea to ask from Katie's blog. If you read here regularly, and haven't commented, I'd like to know who you are! You can either post it in the commments section of this post, or email me privately. To email me, just click on "View my complete profile" and then on Email.


I usually make all my breads from _Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book_, which is the only book I've ever seen that uses only whole grain flours in all of its recipes. But it does take a little more work than "regular" bread. Just before Christmas, when we were out of bread and I had company coming and time was at a premium, I decided to use a recipe that came from a book I was reading, _The Baker's Apprentice_. Good book, too! I read _Isabel's Daughter_ by the same author during our move and enjoyed it enough to seek out another book by the same author. Now I want to read _Bread Alone_.

Anyway, the bread is called Tyler's Indian Maiden Bread because the baker who made it was questioned about the name Squaw Bread, saying that squaw was a derogatory word for a native American woman, and it also referred to female anatomical parts. (That latter one I'd never heard of....) The bread was delicious, and I was typing it out this morning because Paul's dad asked for the recipe and I want to keep it myself after I turn the book into the library. I thought I might as well post it here! It's a yummy bread.

I did make some modifications. I ended up letting it rise twice, as I usually do for Laurel's Kitchen bread, before shaping because we were going out for dinner right when it was ready to shape and I deflated it and put it in the fridge for a second rising. And I used my baking stone instead of baking it on cookie sheets, and I raised the temp accordingly....I think probably to 450, but maybe only 425. Here it is:

Tyler’s Indian Maiden Bread (from the book _The Baker’s Apprentice_)

2 cups water
1/3 cup oil
1/4 cup molasses
½ cup raisins
5 tablespoons brown sugar
2 packages dry yeast
½ cup warm water
2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 cup rye flour
2 ½ teaspoons salt
½ cup cornmeal
½ cup oat flour
cornmeal for dusting

Combine the water, oil, molasses, raisins and brown sugar in a blender and liquefy. Soften the yeast in the warm water. Sift together 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, 2 cups whole wheat flour, the 1 cup rye flour, and the salt in a large bowl. Add the molasses and yeast mixtures. Beat at medium speed until smooth, 2 minutes. Gradually stir in enough of the remaining flours to make a soft dough that leaves the sides of the bowl. Remember, the moisture content of various flours can vary widely. You may not need all the flour called for. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and satiny, 10 to 12 minutes. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to oil entire surface. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 ½ hours. Punch down and let rest 10 minutes. Divide into 4 round loaves and place on cookie sheets covered with parchment paper sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, 1 hour. Bake at 375F for 30 to 35 minutes.