Week at Warp Speed and Easy Dinner

March 10, 2008


If you’re reading this page, you’ve landed on the old site.  Please visit the new location by clicking here–and don’t forget to update your readers and blogrolls!

As always, thanks for reading.  I look forward to seeing you at the shiny new Diet, Dessert and Dogs!

“Um, Mum, we are coming with you, aren’t we? Because (and sorry to have to tell you this), we actually have more fans than you do on this blog.”]

What?  Can it really be that a week has gone by already?  While it does feel like a long time since I’ve been blogging (and boy, did I ever miss it), I am amazed at how quickly these seven days have whizzed by. 

So, how did I spend my week of catch-up? 

First, I resolved to eat only food that is 100% good for me.  I ate exclusively organic, healthy, completely unprocessed fruits, vegetables, brown rice and soy products.  I never once had a craving for chocolate–or anything sweet, actually–and didn’t even attempt a baked good.  The Girls were model citizens, never whining, and playing perfectly with each other (and never waking us up before 7:00 AM to go out and “do their business”).  Oh, and I lost FIFTEEN POUNDS!  FIFTEEN, can you believe it?? As luck would have it, my old boyfriend called me up just as I was feeling pretty good about myself, and we met for drinks and, oops, I drank a little too much. . . .but just as things were about to heat up, I caught the eye of a dashingly handsome (in that slightly edgy, slightly anachronistic way), very roguish guy named James T. Kirk and we were inexplicably drawn to each other. . . strange, the romance never went beyond chaste kissing, for some reason. . .  

Oh, wait a second.  That was the Mirror Image, Parallel-Universe Ricki’s week.  (I knew that black leather jacket and greased back hair on the HH seemed oddly out of place!). Sorry ’bout that.

 Okay, so here’s what MY week was like: 

  • I marked exams, marked assignments, marked exams, marked papers, answered emails, marked exams, went to meetings, marked exams, marked exams. Finally finished the pile of exams!
  • I trudged through snow and rain and sleet with The Girls.  Twice a day.  In the snow.  And sleet. Having to wear a hat wrecked my hair.  Many times.
  • It snowed.  It snowed, snowed, snowed, and then snowed some more.  We have now exceeded the all-time record for snowfall in a single season in Toronto.  Something like 280 centimeters (about 110 inches).  Of snow. Fallen on the ground.  Snow.
  • I decided that I have to move somewhere where winter  (and snow) does not exist. 
  • I taught two cooking classes for the Upstairs series at the Real Canadian Superstores.  And for once, I remembered to bring my camera!  (See recipes and photos below).
  • I returned to WOCA, with even stronger resolve.  I foresee this ending up more like MOCA or even YOCA, as I seem unable to resist the allure of that evil temptress, chocolate.  I managed to avoid the dark devil during this past week (except for minute bites–see next bullet), but in inverse proportion to eating foods like nuts or dried fruits, which help assuage cravings.  Still, nothing baked, nothing with chocolate, nothing with added sweeteners, and I can at least feel good about that.
  • (Perhaps best of all): I managed to test out out FIVE (count ’em, five) recipes from my new cookbook by Nava Atlas, Vegan Express. I will post a genuine book review this week, but for today, will share the dishes from my cooking class (not literally, of course, since this isn’t really the alternative universe, which means food can’t be passed through the computer screen. . .but if I could do it, I would).

Okay, so not so shabby, I suppose, considering I was a psychological mess at the beginning of the week.  THANK YOU all again for your very dear comments.  Man, I wish I could invite you all over for an afternoon tea and baked goodies! Instead, my sincere gratitude will have to do. 

And so. . . .the cooking class.  Easy to replicate (even more so if you live on the Enterprise).  Sure, what the heck, go ahead and do try this at home. Here’s how (explained at warp speed):

  • First, get yourself an assistant*.  Have her prep all the food for you in advance by measuring, cleaning, peeling, chopping, and setting up the mise en place.
  • Put on apron and chef’s pillbox hat (Très à la mode).
  • Lead class: stir, chat, tell anecdotes, sauté, mix, process, gab, pour, tell jokes, combine, explain nutrients, spread, bake, plate, serve, and answer questions. Fun!
  • Enjoy your own sample servings of both dishes. . . recipes, below.

And it only took four bullet points (that’s two hours in real time).  I made these two dishes because they always seem to please non-vegetarians, and you never know who’ll turn up to these classes.  Oh, and they’re both gluten-free (if you serve the sauce over GF pasta, of course).  I’m also submitting this pasta recipe to Ruth of Once Upon A Feast, who hosts the popular event, Presto Pasta Nights.

These photos were taken on store plates–disposables–so there’s no pretty porcelain under these dishes.  Apologies!

Spaghetti with Lentil-Tomato Sauce  





This recipe has been a staple in my house for so long (predating the HH, even) that I don’t remember any longer where it originated.  The grated parsnip provides a subtle, meaty taste (parsnips can be quite savory and earthy), without declaring itself too glaringly, as the bits tend to dissolve in the sauce as it simmers.  It’s also a perfect dish for all you Inter-Diet couples.  My HH simply adds his own ground beef or cut up pieces of sausage to the sauce after he dishes out his own. 


Avocado Pesto Salad  






The salad is my attempt to invite a touch of spring into a dreary winter.  Because pine nuts are so lovely sprinkled on a salad, I’ve left them whole, and used avocado (which lends a wonderful richness to the dressing) blended with basil to replicate the pesto base.  Dress only as much as you’ll eat at one sitting–the salad wilts fairly quickly after it’s been dressed (whereas the opposite is true of me when I encounter that seductive Negative-James T Kirk character).



17 Responses to “Week at Warp Speed and Easy Dinner”

  1. Romina Says:

    Congratulations on losing 5 pounds!!! That’s a true accomplishment, you deserve a huge pat on the back. =)

    Mmm.. lentils in my tomato sauce sound good. Great way to up the protein value. And nutritional yeast on top? Sold!

  2. Ricki Says:

    Hi Romina,
    Sorry to mislead you–I guess I should have made the joke a bit more obvious. I didn’t actually lose any weight (sniff). That was supposed to be the “Alternative Universe” me. (I’ve changed the entry to better reflect how unrealistic that was supposed to be.) The pasta, on the other hand, really DID exist last week, and it is, truly, delicious!

  3. Karen Says:

    Hi Ricki,
    I’m so glad you’re back! Though I will admit, I found the Girls entry very compelling. They should seriously consider honing their talents and writing a screenplay.

    Yes, I remember that Steve Martin bit! You made me laugh at loud at that one…

    Happy cooking,

  4. Vegan_Noodle Says:

    Avocado pesto sounds genius! And I love adding lentils to pasta sauce, makes it seem much healthier 🙂

    So forgive my not knowing, I should really go back and read all your previous posts (I’m so behind on blog reading it’s not even funny!)…. do you teach cooking classes in your home? I have been considering that and really liked your “warp speed” suggestions. Any other helpful suggestions would be much appreciated!!

  5. LOL you totally had me fooled with your parallel-universe story! But your reality doesn’t sound too bad either, with all that cooking you did! (I don’t envy you the snow, though.)

  6. Ricki Says:

    Yes, the Girls are thinking they should start their own blog at this point. . . but I’m still much better in the kitchen!

    Vegan Noodle,
    The dressing is one of my favorites (and a great way to use a ripe avocado). I do teach classes in my home as well as in the supermarket kitchens. . . I’ll email you privately to cover more details! 🙂


    I guess the old Star Trek references were a bit TOO old for some of my readers. . . I was thinking that losing 15 pounds in one week (how unhealthy would that be??) and having a romance with James T Kirk in the same week would give it away. I keep forgetting how OLD I am!! 😉 And yes, the snow part was all too real. . . *sigh*.

  7. Megan Says:

    Whew! When you said you’d lost 15 pounds in a week I actually got worried for you. That would be incredibly unhealthy.

    I’ve been watching my mom’s desperate attempts to diet ten pounds away, and it’s alarming. We went out for breakfast today, and I helped her pick out what she’d eat: pancakes, eggs, bacon. (Her problem is that she doesn’t eat enough.) She gave away everything except half an egg. She can’t figure out why she can’t lose weight.

  8. Courtney Says:

    It is so great to see you back again! I know you needed your break, but I selfishly missed your witty posts and gorgeous photos and delicious recipes! And your post delivers–everything looks amazing, as usual!

    PS how cool is it that you taught a cooking class?! That is so neat!

  9. Ricki Says:

    The original wording for that paragraph said I lost FIVE pounds, but then it was too believable, it seems, so I changed it to 15 (what I would consider to be WAAAAY unhealthy!!). I wasn’t sure whether you thought that pancakes, eggs and bacon would help achieve a weight loss or not. . .? Of course, as my sister says, it depends on the SIZE of the pancake, egg, and piece of bacon, right? 😉

    Thanks so much! So happy to be back, if truth be told. (Oh, how I wish I could get paid to do just this blog! That would be heaven. . .). And I have to admit that I love doing the cooking classes. I’ve been teaching out of my home and at the supermarkets for just about five years now, though the Loblaws gig is fairly erratic. But so much fun! 🙂

  10. Megan Says:

    All in the size of the pancakes, my dear. 🙂 Eggs aren’t bad and I think it helps to have a piece of well-blotted bacon from time to time.

  11. Johanna Says:

    Nice to have you back with your sense of humour giving me a good laugh – I actually never watched star trek as a kid but am now catching up via DVD and had to read the Captain Kirk line twice!

    I also liked the idea of avocado as a weapon against winter! Unfortunately it is probably easier than moving to Melbourne where we get a nice cold winter but not so cold that we get snow!

  12. Ricki Says:

    I do agree–glad to hear that portion control is part of the plan (now if only I could get a grip on that one myself!).

    Oh, my HH and I adore ALL the Star Treks (with Next Generation and Enterprise being the favorites). Of course I’d NEVER give Kirk a second glance in real life.

    As to the avocado, as much as I love it, I think the effort to get to Melbourne would be much more worth it!

  13. Ruth Says:

    Sounds like quite a week…in both universes! And I love the pasta. Thanks for sharing with PResto Pasta Nights.

  14. Ricki Says:

    Thanks so much! Yes, quite the week(s). And it’s always fun to join in the pasta party! 🙂

  15. Tea Says:

    You crack me up!

  16. Ricki Says:

    Well, then, I guess I have achieved my goal! 😉

  17. Hillary Says:

    What a great pasta dish! I like the idea of lentil sauce. Mmmmm…

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