Thursday, October 29, 2009

7 Vegetable Quinoa Pasta

Last year I was trolling around a very small health food store that I found on some random adventure, and came across a vegan cookbook from the 1960s. I'd never seen anything like it. No pictures, just pages of blocky black text and a plastic spiral spine. I am kicking myself now for putting it back on the shelf because there is something cool about experimenting with an old cookbook, especially in the case of veganism. This cookbook was made back in the day...WAY back, before things like soy cheese, veggie ground round and Amy's frozen dinners were even a twinkle in our forevegans' eyes. These people were keeping it REAL: meat-free, dairy-free goodness in the form of loads and loads of whole grains and fresh produce. Don't get me wrong...there's not much I love more than Thursday Taco Nights at our place, but I think it's important to give a nod to our vegan ancestors now and again and acknowledge their fight and how it paved the way for us modern vegans. So that we may enjoy our Thursday Taco Night without having to make our own ground round...finding the Yves variety right in our very own standard issue grocer (not even a specialty store - I bet they never imagined such a thing!).

This recipe is hardly going way back to the grassroots of veganism like that strange little cookbook I found a year ago, but it is from a cookbook that is prior to the new Skinny Bitch and beyond vegan generation. Published in the 1990s, this book is called CalciYum and it focuses on calcium-rich dairy-free meals (duh). Interestingly, it does not use the term "vegan" once throughout the entire book, although all meals are free of meat, eggs, dairy, honey and other animal products.

Calcium is to vegans what protein is to vegetarians - I know when people find out I'm vegan the words "but what about osteoporosis?!" get thrown around quite a bit. Never mind that newer research shows osteoporosis is more related to how the body ABSORBS calcium and the role vitamin D has in aiding this absorption, rather than the sheer quantity of calcium consumed within one's diet...not to mention the research showing the highest rates of osteoporosis among citizens living in cultures that consume the MOST dairy. AND studies have shown that calcium obtained from vegetable sources is more easily absorbed by the human body than is calcium combined with animal protein (what you find in dairy). I think I have ranted about this before? You'll have to excuse me; it's a bit of a touchy subject.

Veganism can ensure you get enough calcium; you just have to do it properly. This cookbook really helps with meal planning. Before the authors even give you any recipes there is a thorough guide to stocking a calcium-rich vegan refrigerator. Spoiler alert: It involves dark, leafy greens and veggies. A lot of them.

This tomato sauce takes advantage of one such leafy green: Bok Choy! It further features broccoli, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, green beans and onion.

Now, I'm aware that there are a lot of picky eaters out there. Especially those of you, bless your hearts, raising children while having the tv constantly telling them that McDonald's is the motherland. I don't normally condone the blending and "hiding" of vegetables because I think children should learn to love them (I honestly believe if it wasn't for our pesky society the child-based aversion to veggies we have come to know would be strongly limited, although I know nothing about children or parenting so you can just file that under Mary Propaganda). However, I understand resorting to kitchen trickery when there is a cranky child screaming in your ear about not LIKING bok choy (do kids even know what bok choy is?). This here is the recipe for you during those moments of desperation because all the veggies are blended into oblivion. If they are still fussy about the green bits poking out here and there, just drown it out with more tomato sauce. They'll just assume it's Chef Boyardee.

Speaking of which, just be thankful that you didn't have to raise me. When I was 7, we went on a trip to Europe and my mom had to pack a suitcase full of Chef Boyardee because she knew I would throw a hissy fit at dinner time and refuse to eat everything presented to me in a foreign country. Brat, much?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Maple Walnut Cookies and Hot Apple Cider

This week, Paul is taking a course Monday-Saturday and so he is in classes all day and doing coursework at night. It also means he has to pack a lunch everyday, something neither of us are particularly fond of doing. Back in his omni factory/construction-worker days he would buy loads of lunchmeat and Jos Louis and call it a day. While there IS such thing as vegan lunchmeat and it tastes quite decent, it isn't exactly cheap and probably not the best for you. Most of them have preservatives and are often highly processed and further, we generally try and limit our soy intake to edamame and tofu/tempeh (rather than isolated proteins) so these are not an everyday item in our house. Instead, we cooked up a vegan gluten roast like we did for Thanksgiving, thinly sliced it, et voila - homemade soy-free vegan deli slices!

If you remember grade school like I do, a sandwich hardly constitutes a packed lunch. Back in the day, it was all about snacks and treats at recess! While I doubt there is recess in real estate education, who says midday treats are only for kids.

While I rarely make cookies for just the two of us, I decided to make a batch of Maple Walnut cookies a la Isa Chandra Moskowitz (via Vegan with a Vengeance and recipe posted at this blog) because I was excited at the prospect of maple extract (seriously, I did not know this existed until I saw her recipe). Besides, as an eternal university student, no one understands better than I do that a little sugar rush goes a long way while pouring over the books.

While they were meant to be all for Paul and his scholarly adventures, I couldn't resist trying one (or three) over a mug full of piping hot apple cider (seasoned with pumpkin pie spice) on a particularly gloomy October night. The rest are for him - I swear!

Turns out his packed lunch wasn't so bad after all, although he mentioned that out of a class of 35 it was only him and another student who bring their lunches from home. Everyone else went and got fast food. 6 days of fast food...ew? I sure hope those folks apologize to their colons and their bank accounts.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Autumn Harvest Soup

For the most part, we don't eat much of the prepackaged/canned food varieties for breakfast and dinner. Lunch, however, is kind of tricky because it needs to be fast and easy on most days. I suppose I don't have much to complain about because for the most part we are both able to be at home for lunch and thus don't have to worry about finding something portable that requires very little maintenance before eating (I am the queen of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the days I can't come home for lunch). Although we can eat at home, I find myself seriously lacking creativity when it comes to lunch. I generally prefer to slave away in the kitchen during the latter half of the day and so there are many a can of soup that are warmed up in our microwave during the noon hour Monday-Friday.

I really and truly hate microwaves (I am wildly suspicious even though I know very little about them..something just doesn't seem right about how nuclear things get after only 60 seconds) but I can't seem to shake mine in that tricky noon-to-1pm timeslot of the day. I am also not keen on the prepackaged foods (organic or not) so I've recently taken to making large amounts of soup on weekends that can warm up easily in the microwave during the week, here at home or at work. They are just as convenient as the canned variety. Maybe even more convenient. I happen to be the proud owner of a very ancient can opener and subsequently ALWAYS seem to be cutting myself on the metal edges of the can that it doesn't like to process. As an added bonus, homemade soups are more fresh and I know exactly what goes into them.

This week I decided to try this Autumn Harvest Soup from Nava Atlas' Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons because butternut squash was on sale and I already had all of the other ingredients. It is almost like a chili rather than a soup or stew, as there isn't all that much liquid. I really liked it, because it is hearty, filling and nutrient-rich with the beans and various vegetables but it is not at all heavy, which is great if you have to follow it up with a few more hours of work before the day is done and the couch calls your name.

It's a great way to celebrate the harvest...would definitely be a good light-but-filling meal to serve the kidlets next weekend, before they head out into the night to play tricks and get treats and subsequently gorge themselves with candies well into the night (good luck on Sunday, parent readers!).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sweet Potato Enchiladas

A couple months ago I blogged about some difficulty I was having with Vegan Planet and finding recipes that we liked enough to make second time. After the blog was posted I received an email from Robin Robertson, the author of Vegan Planet, encouraging me to continue trying samples from the book.

I decided to give these sweet potato enchiladas a try the other night, because I really didn't like the way things ended between me and Vegan Planet. It felt like a bad breakup, really. Me, the demanding icequeen refusing to see how hard it was trying to make me happy, offering me the world in the form of SO many diverse options and me turning up my nose and looking the other way. I'm like that character in pretty much every romantic comedy that everyone throws their popcorn at.

Since enchiladas are in my Top 3 foods of all time and I also happen to have an obsession with sweet potatoes, I figured this would be a no-miss meal.

Instead of using regular chilis I used chipotles in adobo. Instead of using salsa I just coated the bottom of the pan and the top of the enchiladas with freshly diced onions, garlic and tomatoes (and a couple more chipotles - if you haven't noticed yet, we like things SPICY!). I know a lot of vegan versions use soy cheese as well, but I opted out on that too and I think next time I will sprinkle some avocado on top in the last couple minutes of baking, because avocado is always a good idea.

We were very, very pleased with the results, which tasted even better the following morning for breakfast. Using the chopped onions, garlic and tomatoes in lieu of salsa gave the enchiladas a really fresh taste (although I'm sure it's great with the salsa as well). The fresh veggies coupled with the sweet potatoes gave an earthy harvest feel to a southwestern staple that you most likely don't associate with the farm.

Be forewarned, this meal definitely falls into "messy but marvelous" category, as we (and our placemats) were covered in sweet potato, black beans and chopped veggies before the meal was done. That's half the fun, though.. it means the meal is too good to eat carefully.

And so, the drought is over - I officially retract my previous statement about Vegan Planet. We will be making this one again!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pumpkin-Almond Pancakes

I stumbled upon this recipe while lurking the adorably named It Ain't Meat, Babe blog, just as I happened to have half a can of pumpkin puree slowly going bad in the fridge. The recipe is found here.

As I have mentioned numerous times, I am really not big on the whole breakfast thing and I'm especially not one for a super sweet breakfast. For me, these pancakes make a great dessert or midday snack item throughout the autumn months. They are also a really, really great way to do away with odds and ends of pureed pumpkin that seem to collect in the refrigerator following Thanksgiving.

FYI, they go wonderfully with piping hot apple cider following an afternoon of fallish activity, such as a hike through a brightly coloured forest:

[Paul and Dora; Oct. 16/09]

or an afternoon picking out pumpkins at the pumpkin patch:

[Me and Lisa; Oct 18/09]

We didn't have much of a summer here in southern Ontario and I was worried we wouldn't have much of a fall either (for a couple of days there it felt more like winter than autumn), but the sun is showing her beautiful face yet again, hallelujah! I hope you get a chance to enjoy the fleeting serenity that is fall. Around here there's usually only a couple weeks in between the first changed leaves and the completely bare trees. As you can see by my incessant autumn-themed postings (and the aodrable Halloween background that now spruces up this blog), I am wildly in love with this time of year. I hope you're get the chance to take advantage of it too.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Blackened Tofu with an Autumn Puree

If you want your home to be overcome with the undeniable smell of Fall, roast a squash.

I worked later than usual last night and so Paul started roasting an orange acorn squash and a couple of yams before I got home. When I got out of my car I thought I smelled something delicious but then I figured I was just hallucinating from exhaustion - because how on earth could I smell it all the way in the garage?!

It turns out I actually could smell it, ever so mildly, because when I opened the door to the house I was hit by the warm fuzzies. Warm, fuzzy, autumny aroma (I seriously, I can't think of a better way to describe it - I used to be an English major and I use "warm" and "fuzzy" to describe SMELLS...oy, my old profs would not be amused).

I found a recipe for autumn puree in Eat, Drink and Be Vegan months ago that I completely forgot about until yesterday, so that is what the lovely roasting fall treats turned into. With a side of very quickly completed blackened tofu, we were in pajamas and eating in front of our favourite tv shows in no time.

And, if roasting squash and potatoes doesn't provide enough of a fall smell for you, I highly recommend an autumn-scented soy candle. My personal favourite is called "vanilla pumpkin":

Soy candles are pretty much the greatest thing ever. Traditional paraffin wax candles are petroleum-based and release several different kinds of known-carcinogens into the environment - not to mention that they often contain beeswax and therefore they are not vegan. Soy candles burn cleanly and naturally and are a far greener choice than the popular paraffin as they are biodegradable and do not rely on non-renewable resources. I highly recommend Muskoka Candle Co., a company not too far from my neck of the woods. Their vanilla pumpkin is to die for - as is their "Muskoka Winter" scent, my favourite for the winter months.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Thanksgiving Feast pour Deux

Yesterday was Thanksgiving here in Canada, and the husband and I found ourselves with no family meals to go to this weekend. While it is a shame that we didn't get to do the family thing, I was really excited at the prospect of making Thanksgiving dinner at home, something I never get to do because we are usually so stuffed and exhausted from various family events. And so, yesterday after we got home from freezing our butts off at the Thanksgiving Day Oktoberfest Parade we got to work in the kitchen.

Obviously, a tofurky was on the agenda. We've done the boxed ones a few times since my journey into a veg lifestyle in early 2007 and it's not that they're not good, I just wanted to make one at home without the preservatives and without the pre-made stuffing (I like my own).

I recently discovered Everyday Dish TV, an online veg*n cooking show (seriously, how did I not know this existed?!) and watched the "how to make a vegan turkey" clip. I immediately decided this was something that needed to be tried, and so it was kind of a blessing in disguise when we realized we had nowhere to be on Thanksgiving day.

Homemade tofurky (this is an inaccurate title because there is actually no tofu involved AND "tofurky" is a brand name, but I think it's cute and I don't like referring to it as turkey) is made with wheat gluten (seitanurkey?!), rolled into a cheesecloth, boiled for an hour or two and then (optionally) roasted to crispy up the outside.

In the how-to video, the chef wraps it in phyllo dough before baking it, which we did not have. So instead, we rubbed it down with a bit of Earth Balance and a smidge of poultry seasoning, and baked it at 350F until the outside looked golden and crispy (about 25 minutes).

It turned out so good! (And thank you to Paul for being my "hand model" for this project).

For sides we had creamed mashed potatoes, onion gravy and cornbread stuffing. The stuffing was made with a recipe found at and it was really good, just not as "cornbready" as I imagined (or as it looks in that blogger's picture). I most likely screwed up somewhere along the line, but I think next time I'll just make a little more cornbread and use a little less whole wheat bread to see if that helps.

And so we had a lovely little Thanksgiving feast pour deux while having a Friends Thanksgiving Marathon (all 9 Thanksgiving episodes of Friends in a row - a Thanksgiving tradition at our place).

And for dessert...

Pumpkin Cheezecake from Fat Free Vegan, a recipe I first tried last year around this time and fell in love with!

Sorry for the crappy quality of these pictures...I was not at all interested in fussing with the camera; I just wanted to eat!

Hope all you Canadians out there had a wonderful Thanksgiving...I'm off to a slow start on this Tuesday. Getting ready for another work week is exceptionally difficult after a really great long weekend.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Chickpea Schnitzel (On a Bun)

As I mentioned a couple posts ago, this weekend marked the start of our city's annual Oktoberfest celebrations. The opening ceremonies were held in the pouring rain on Friday afternoon, where city officials and Onkel Hans tapped the big keg and started the weeklong party. The crowd was thinner than usual because of the rain and we got completely drenched but it just doesn't feel like Oktoberfest to us unless we go to the keg tapping.

We didn't have tickets for any festhalls on opening night, but we still wanted to mark the start of Oktoberfest with something and so I attempted to veganize the traditional Oktoberfest meal of schnitzel-on-a-bun. Oktoberfest Sausages are the main staple, but my favourite was always the schnitzel.

Schnitzel can be made with a variety of meats; the most popular version at the festhalls here is chicken. It's basically a very thin cutlet of meat that's breaded and fried, when they then serve on a fluffy bun with Oktoberfest mustard and sauerkraut. For the last month I've been contemplating how to make a vegan version.

And then it hit me...Veganomicon's famous chickpea cutlets. Made with chickpeas, wheat gluten and various spices and flavourings, they have a texture that is very chicken-like. So, I baked them like I usually do (just for a little less time) and instead of serving them that way I breaded and fried them for a couple minutes.

Now, I don't condone frying. It's usually completely unnecessary to be so unhealthy however this rule gets excepted for Oktoberfest. Most people say calories don't count at Christmas...but Okt is my version of Christmas and so I fried them to make them extra authentic.

After I had already baked them it occurred to me that I should have fried them first and then baked them to ensure they were baked through. The breadcrumbs would have stuck more easily if I had fried them first, as the dough is far more moist than the baked cutlets - I know this for next time!

To bread schnitzel you typically dip the cutlets in flour, egg and then breadcrumbs. I used arrowroot mixed in with a bit of rice milk and skipped the flour. Admittedly, without the egg the breadcrumbs had trouble sticking once the cutlets were frying in oil and so I am going to hone this process and see what I can come up with to solve this pickle...but honestly, I think frying them first will make a world of difference in this department.

Regardless of some of the breadcrumbs jumping ship, this chickpea schnitzel was amazing. AMAZING. Makes me wish that frying wasn't such a terrible means of cooking. What a wonderful world it would be if frying was the healthiest way to cook! Sigh.

Nostalgic eating is a huge thing for some vegans, including me. It's not so much the food we eat and whether or not we like it, it's what we associate it with. I think that is one of the reasons vegan struggle with holidays so becomes part of the tradition and by changing your diet you also have to change how you participate in traditions. I think this scares a lot of people away from veganism; however, it is possible to combat. There are ways to connect with your past; you just have to get a bit creative. And after a couple of years, veganism becomes part of the tradition and it will feel like you have been eating that tofurky, that schnitzel, that tofu pumpkin pie your whole life.

Us, on the dance floor of the big tent at Concordia Club, in our pin-covered hats, celebrating a really awesome time of year.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

New World Chili

I love crockpots. Love them. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I work later than the average bear and so it's nice to have dinner know, so we're not eating dinner at 10pm.

I don't have much Crockpot Creativity. Honestly, I don't know much about them...I know people make these crazy elaborate meals using them, but I have no idea how. Looking up vegan crockpot recipes is on my list of things to do, but for now I really only slow cook chili. Not that there's anything wrong with chili!

I normally make a pretty basic chili...ground round, baked beans (Bush's Best Vegetarian are my fave - why oh why don't they sell them in Canada?!), kidney beans, bell pepper, onions, carrot, sometimes corn and spices. It's plain, but we like it. After years of supporting such a plain chili I decided today it was time to try something a little different, so I dug up a recipe I found in the Vegetarian Times.

My favourite part of it was the lima beans and the avocado I topped it with. I do think it could use more beans though, either a doubling of the pinto beans or mixing it up with kidney or black (although I'm aware it would then be inaccurate to call it a "New World Chili"). Next time I make it I think I'll only use half the salsa it calls for and throw in a can of baked beans (because I lurveee baked beans). Honestly, I see the picture Veg Times posted and it looks like there are way more than 15oz of pinto beans in there. Just sayin'.

We didn't mind was nice to come home to dinner already done so that I could focus on the awesomeness that was The Office wedding. I have officially called it - best TV wedding of all time. And no, that's not just because John Krasinski is one of my boyfriends.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Oktoberfest Sausages

Around here, the most salient of all fall celebrations is Oktoberfest. Our neck of the woods boasts the second largest Oktoberfest in the world (next to Munich, Germany) and it is a week-long event that I eagerly anticipate every year. Though not technically a holiday, I have no problem saying that it is my favourite holiday.

Our little city was founded by German immigrants and in 1969 the first annual Oktoberfest was launched. It is modeled after the Munich-based Oktoberfest, which is a celebration of fall and the harvest (and probably something else that I don't know about). The opening ceremonies are held the Friday before (Canadian) Thanksgiving with the tapping of the keg in our downtown core, noting the start of 9 straight days of celebrating with friends, funny hats and a whole lotta beer. Families and kids can get in the act too...growing up we used to pile into the school gym with Onkel Hans and the yearly-crowned Miss Oktoberfest to do the chicken dance, plus there is a big Thanksgiving Day parade that goes through the downtown area.

When I was younger I was able to go out polka dancing at various festhallen most nights of the celebration. These days, my body and my pocketbook have brought it down to two nights...this coming Saturday, and next Saturday for the closing night of Oktoberfest 2009.

While beer and polka are the main draws to Oktoberfest, food is also an undeniable attraction. Festhallens sell traditional German fair (read: not vegan) but that doesn't mean that we can't take part. This is my third Oktoberfest as a veg*n and so I am well-versed in veganizing Okt fun so that I don't have to feel left out.

Oktoberfest sausages and schnitzel-on-a-bun are the main features during Oktoberfest. Luckily, Turtle Island Foods makes a wonderful mock beer brat that is the PERFECT substitute for traditional Oktoberfest sausage. As such, there are really only four things you need to make an Oktoberfest meal fit for a vegan:

Beer brats, Sauerkraut, Oktoberfest Mustard and Heineken.

I cannot even begin to articulate how incredible Oktoberfest Mustard is, so if you are thinking of skipping it I highly urge you not to. Because we are so big on Oktoberfest it's actually available year round here, but I would imagine it is a seasonal product in other areas. If you can't find it (which is unfortunately highly likely) you can make your own. But, whatever you do, don't skip out on it!

Sauerkraut is not for everyone..I'm not the biggest fan of it and usually skip that part, but Paul refused to let me post this entry without including it, as it gives the sausages their 'from the festhallen' feel. The Heineken is just for fun, but can easily be skipped because the sausages are already cooked in microbrewed beer...we just like to fry them up in a bit of Heiny to really bring out the taste:

However, if you do decide to select your own beer, make sure it's vegan.

I tried to wait until Oktoberfest actually started (this coming Friday) before making this meal, but we just couldn't wait. Not going to lie, we'll probably make it a couple more times before the fest is through...there are a couple from-scratch beer brat recipes circulating online that I would love to try my hand at if I come across some extra time over the next week.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

BBQ Flavoured White Beans and Spinach with Crispy Potato Slices

As of late, dinners have featured a random mishmash of things that I want to clean out of my cupboards. Partly because I'm busy, and partly because I like to take inventory of what's in the cupboards every now and again, usually when the seasons change, purging what's old and questionable and stocking up on new stuff.

Currently there are several tupperware containers full of homemade bbq sauces lining my freezer; different flavours made over the summer and frozen for easy access when the mood for grilled tofu struck but didn't all get eaten. We ate so much grilled tofu over the summer that I'm just not feeling it in the fall, preferring to instead indulge in hearty comfort food that warms up the house while it's cooking.

I don't want these sauces to succumb to freezer burn over the winter (plus I miss using the glass tupperware they have been stored in) so I've been thinking us ways to use what's left without bothering with the bbq. Flipping through Vegan Express I noticed Nava's recipe for a baked-style bean recipe that uses tofurky sausage (Paul's fave) and any flavour of bbq sauce.

I went with one of the more smoky of the frozen bbq sauce varieties in my freezer. The recipe is fairly straightforward...what you see is what you get. My favourite side for a bean dish is a crispy potato dish and rather than making fries (I find making slicing potatoes into sticks SO tedious) I decided to just bake up some spicy potato slices.

I sliced them thin enough that they were almost like chips, mixed in a bit of oil so that it was well-dispersed, sprinkled on some pueblo bean dip mix powder from Epicure Selections and baked them for about 20 minutes at 450F, flipping them halfway through.

I got the pueblo bean dip mix through an Epicure home party awhile back, and while it's technically supposed to be mixed in with oils or sour cream to make dip for chips and veggies, I use it as a spice in mexican or southwestern dishes instead. It's completely vegan and is just a mix of powdered onion, red and green bell pepper, garlic and some spices. I use it instead of/in addition to regular chili powder in things like enchilada casserole and crockpot chili to give them an extra boost of flavour.

I love how quickly everything was done. I know lately my postings have been about super fast and easy foods; you can tell I'm feeling a bit of a time crunch lately. I promise I will get back to attempting more elaborate things (next week I am cooking a full Thanksgiving dinner for the very first time - alert the fire department!), but for now, three cheers for simplicity.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Lentil Soup

Susan V calls this "Rainy Day Lentil Soup" but I think in a two-person household it is more accurate to refer to it as "Rainy Week Soup", as it not only rained for 4 days straight there was enough of it for four meals.

It's been rainy. And cold. It's too early to turn on the would be psychologically damaging to do admit defeat so early into Fall. So instead we've been wearing layers and fuzzy socks and living on hot chocolate and warm bowls of soup like the above.

I'm kind of a mentally and emotionally exhausted little vegan today. It's the start of hunting season (or so I'm told) which often means the start of "let's make fun of the vegans while we're at it" season, and so far today I've been challenged, degraded, mocked... and it's only just after noon. I very rarely care but sometimes it's exhausting to constantly be on the defensive, everyone waiting for you to screw up or searching for some sort of "hole" in your reasoning and methods. As such, I apologize for the lack of pizazz in this entry.

Anyway, celebrate October with a warm bowl of lentil soup (recipe here), you won't regret it. I like my lentils a bit more mushy (and I don't have a pressure cooker) so I cooked them longer and it made for a soup a bit thicker than Susan's, but still very good.

Finally, because this entry has been kind of a downer, I'm going to include a picture of the pretty autumn-themed bouquet the husband surprised me with last night. Have a wonderful day, everyone!

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