Backing into It

Violet came with her name, but we’ve recently discovered Violet Oakley.  Ms. Oakley was an American muralist and stained glass artist.  Not as well know as Frida’s namesake artist, but we’ve got a match and we’ll stick with it.

Violet’s bike tow leash arrived!  It is very well made, easy to install and Violet took to it from the first try.

I wish I had a better video of her running on it, one that showed her in relation to the bike, but I shouldn’t be making videos while piloting a bike to which my beloved dog is attached, so I’ll let the one indiscretion below serve as a placeholder (until I affix the bike tow leash to our tandem so I can safely pilot while Lacey makes video aplenty from the stoker’s seat).

So far we’ve been sticking to a 0.7 mile loop in our neighborhood.  All small streets with almost no traffic.  Violet keeps an eye on the bike to know when to turn, slow and stop.  I was concerned about her spotting squirrels while underway but so far the activity has held her attention.   She’s looked at squirrels, but hasn’t made an effort to do anything more.  Knocking on wood before every ride and keeping my hands hovering over both brakes, mind you.

Except for uphill sections, I don’t pedal much.  Violet pulls us both along very easily and, with a little distance to spin up her motor, she runs fast.  Despite the short distance, she is very well exercised by the end.  Probably helps that we often tack the biking loop onto the end of a long walk.  Maybe someday we’ll put the bike on the car and head to a rail trail, or even for a spin through the woods at Thatcher, but we’re good for now.  If you have a dog who needs more exercise than you can share while walking, this tool may be just what you need.

Food?  Why sure!  Before Passover comes and steals our bread, I’ve been enjoying what I call toast bowls.  I didn’t grow up with bowls (the meal format, that is), and I’ve only in the last couple of years warmed up to them.  I’m fully on board now.  As much as I enjoy eating them, prep isn’t easy.  Making each of a starch, veg, protein and sauce takes a fair amount of time and yields a breathtaking pile of cookware to wash.  What to do?

Toast bowl to the rescue–using toast as the starch all but eliminates one of the four steps and the related cookware.  25% easier!  I love my rice cooker, but clean up is a little much.  Quinoa is easier, but I fret about the shortage I am causing for native eaters in Bolivia and Peru (until I read this, so maybe I can enjoy the quinoa I eat once a week?).   But toast!  A nice whole grain sour dough (another plug for my exclusive bread supplier) toasted up is always a comfort.  More comfort?  I have been brushing on melted butter before I chop the toast into bite sized pieces.  I’m still making Miyoko’s butter.  Last batch I used yogurt instead of milk and the resulting cultured taste is a real winner.

Recent toast bowl?  Buttered toast bites formed the foundation, which was topped with chopped Field Roast chorizo sausage and roasted Brussels sprouts, and then a yellow gravy (from Julie Hasson’s casserole cookbook) was generously ladled on top.  Gobs of gravy!  Many of the gravy recipes I enjoy are completely fat free but are still, thanks to salt, peppers and spices, delicious.  No reason, then, unless I develop high blood pressure, to go easy on gravy.  Just another perk of the plant eating lifestyle.  Toast bowls!  Hit one today!  Before Passover!  Wait!  Buttered then busted matzo!  Ca-ching!  This is just too easy.

So Friday then.  Do with it what you will, so long as no one gets hurt.

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