Brined Tofu: easy, tasty, and mighty good fer ya

Houseproud brined tofu IMG_3403Have I mentioned that I follow Mark Bittman’s Vegan Before 6 philosophy of eating? If you haven’t already heard about VB6, it can be described as eating vegan during the day, focusing on whole foods and avoiding junk, and having a flexitarian diet for dinner. I like eating this way for a number of reasons, none of which I’ll trouble you with today.

I also have the metabolism of a hummingbird – one that’s slowed down a bit, but still and all, ZIP! Whereas the Mister can eat one meal a day and be quite happy, I lose my mind if I don’t refuel every three hours. Having a speedy metabolism is generally wonderful, but it does makes me susceptible to melting down like a small child if I’ve missed a feeding. It’s very awkward. There are a number of vegan recipes that will keep me sufficiently fueled, but my go-to source for long-lasting energy is tofu. Continue reading

New Kitchen Curtains: vintage fabric love

Houseproud kitchen curtains vintage print IMG_4292It gives me great happiness to present to you: new curtains in the Houseproud kitchen. [Sound of trumpets] Isn’t a finished object a lovely thing, my pets? I have NO idea when I cut these out, but it was at least nine months ago. The curtains have languished in my to-be-completed pile since then, but I finally finished them last Wednesday. They’re cut from the most marvelous vintage fabric, scored at the Oakland Museum of California’s White Elephant Sale some years back. Ain’t they a vision? This fabric is soooooo kitschy and kitcheny that it makes me irrationally happy every time I walk into the room. I like a bright, cheerful kitchen, don’t you?
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A Deep-Cleaning Recap (and in praise of voting)

Houseproud cleaning recap IMG_4145Deep cleaning the living room last week was an epic task, my pets. Whew! So glad that’s over. In this week’s post I want to take a minute to share some Houseproud homestead pointers on deep cleaning, just in case these things interest you. It’s gonna be a short post, as I still have to cram for the mid-term elections, as one does. Continue reading

Lentils and Bulgur: One Pot of Comfort

Houseproud lentils and bulgur recipe IMG_3968Here’s an easy recipe for you: lentils and bulgur, cooked together in one pot, based on a dish that’s popular throughout the Middle East. It travels well and is still yummy days after it was made. It’s an earthy dish – hearty, filling, and cheap. It’s also a one-pot meal that needs minimal attention or prep work, which is useful if you, too, have decided to clean every FRACKING inch of your home and each item therein. No matter how unreasonable your plans or how troubled the world, this food comforts the wearied soul.  Continue reading

Deep Cleaning Blues: Hurt So Good?

Houseproud deep cleaning blues IMG_4008Last week I deep-cleaned our bedroom over the course of two+ days. In fact, I spent approximately 24 hours cleaning one room of the Houseproud homestead, and if all goes well this week, I will spend another few days deep-cleaning our living room. Shall we pause for a minute and reflect on that statement? Perhaps you’re looking at your screen with much the same expression that the Mister has when I go into deep-cleaning mode? If only I could take your hand and explain that I’m not completely mad, but unfortunately I am not sitting beside you. Alas! How I wish I were, and that I could be as eloquent as Cheryl Mendelson in her 1999 book, Home Comforts: The Art & Science of Keeping House. If you are the least bit houseproud and would like some validation, or would like to know why anyone would be, read her book and you’ll understand.
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That’s Crafty: making a simple paper flower wreath

Houseproud autumn wreath project IMG_3831Here’s a post about making a sweet autumnal wreath using an old wreath form and some handmade paper flowers. All of the materials I used were from my stash – validating my propensity to hoard craft supplies. If you’d like to learn how I make these types of wreaths, let’s go! Continue reading

I Heart Autumn

Houseproud autumn decor IMG_3834Do changing seasons mean changing décor chez toi? It does at the Houseproud homestead, as you might imagine, even though the East Bay’s transition from summer into fall is very gradual. Mostly one notices the change in the light – the low angle of light and the shortening days. It’s such a beautiful time of year here: unlike summer, our fickle fog burns off every morning, and it’s pleasantly warm in the sun and cool in the shade. The blue of the sky just looks like fall – I don’t know why or how, but it does – and the air smells crisp and clean. I suppose that’s true everywhere, but most of our markers for autumn are so subtle that these small things stand out. Yes, our introduced trees have leaves that turn bright colors in memory of their homelands, but many of our native trees drop their exhausted, dun-colored leaves in late August, when the dampness of the rainy season is a distant memory and a forlorn future hope. Ah, but come October in Northern California, every living creature knows that the rains will come soon, and that rebirth and renewal are close. Continue reading

End of Season Report: Fermented Green Tomatoes

Houseproud Ferm'd Green Tomatoes IMG_3499Oh happy day: after a long search, I FINALLY found a source for unripe tomatoes! Mad thanks to the lovely peeps at Jacob’s Farm (also the source of this summer’s jalapenos). Jesse and his crew pulled 5 lbs. of unripe tomatoes for me in early October – mostly unripe Early Girls, but with a smattering of unripe heirloom ‘matoes. It’s unreasonably difficult to source green tomatoes, I’ll have you know. There are two ways to procure them: grow ‘em yourself or beg them from a grower. Some of you might have them coming out of your ears, but for those of us who are less fortunate, the wait was well worth it. My fermented green tomato pickles turned out so well that I’ve requested another 10 lbs. We’ll see if the weather allows for one last batch…  Continue reading

Scrap-Happy: Tasty Eggplant Scraps

Houseproud Scrappy Eggplant IMG_3015

Here’s a little post for those of you who plan to ferment eggplants this season or in the future. As described in Monday’s post, prepping eggplants for fermentation does produce a fair amount of food scraps. Yr little munakins urges you to use those scraps, don’t toss ‘em! Continue reading

End of Season Report: Fermented Eggplant Pickles

Houseproud Ferm'd Eggplant IMG_3006As reported earlier this summer, eggplant pickles are easy to make and taste like olives when they’re done. They’re marvelous, really. My eggplant pickles are based very loosely on a recipe in a wonderful cookbook called My Calabria, by Rosetta Costantino. Her recipe for pickled eggplant preserved in oil, Melanzane Sott’Olio, is given in the Calabrian pantry chapter, which is a chapter I practically have memorized. In fact, I have either made or have plans to make every recipe in the chapter, and how often can you say that? Continue reading