Monthly Archives: September 2009

AmeriCorps flashbacks from Project Runway


You wouldn’t think a show about designing and making clothes would trigger a flashback to my days in Americorps, you really wouldn’t. If you were never in AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, then there’s a lot about the day-to-day organization of our lives that you probably wouldn’t have thought of.

Since we worked in teams of up to 15 people, we share living quarters, a big 15-passenger van, and a food budget. While watching the contestants run around Mood (the fabric store) trying to find what they wanted within a limited amount of time, with a limited budget, I found myself remembering how I would do the same. We’d run around the Jewel, Shaw’s, Piggly Wiggly (whatever grocery store was local to our project) and try to spend as much of our budget as possible without going over. Our pantry depended on our choices, and we quickly learned to buy staples a maximum number of people could eat.

It was really fun, like having a giant family. By the end of the year, I knew I could buy Star Crunches or Nutella and it would make particular teammates happy to have a favorite treat. Oh, once I bought all the fixings for energy bars, and spent an evening making a quadruple batch. I wrapped them all in tin foil, and stacked them in a cupboard like silver bars. It meant not having to prepare a lunch, and they were popular. It made me feel good to prepare food for so many people, probably vestigial mother hen thing.

Kipping Sox

Sox redux, originally uploaded by sundaykofax.

Our game Friday was rained out. We’re back at Fenway for more baseball.

Kipping Sox,
originally uploaded by sundaykofax.

But not kipping socks.

Sox redux

Sox redux, originally uploaded by sundaykofax.

Our game Friday was rained out. We’re back at Fenway for more baseball.

We can be only one place

We can be only one place, originally uploaded by sundaykofax.

Oh, Red Sox Nation, you’re so intense. It’s mostly fun except when
it’s scary. Also, you can’t escape the loving warmth of Dunkin Donuts.

I know you might wonder – I did not bring knitting. I did once knit
dome Red Sox red socks for a friend after they won that first time in
recent history. Who knew I’d end up living in Boston? Not me.

Vegan chocolate cake

I’ve been having the same conversation over and over, so I thought I’d shortcut the “oh, I’ll email you that!” and go for a blog post instead.

Alternate diets (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, peanut-free, meat-only) are becoming culturally accepted, and it’s now considered standard in many circles factor in the eating habits of others when cooking for others. When you’re going to a potluck or other food event where you don’t know the eating habits of everyone, this can be tough. Jason and I ran into this when we attended am anniversary party/wedding reenactment/potluck. We knew the bride was vegan, and the invite said to bring a label for whatever you made, so it could be known if there were any peanuts, animal products, gluten, etc. We made a pasta salad with egg-free noodles, making it vegan-friendly. It also was peanut-free, but it did have gluten.

I got the BEST chocolate cake recipe, which happens to be vegan, from Susan. It’s now my standard chocolate cake recipe. No one needs to know it’s vegan, and it certainly doesn’t taste funny or have a strange texture.

You can see the amazingness that is Susan’s cake-decorating handiwork here. The recipe is on the page, but the version she gave me is half as much, which is more reasonable if you’re not making a two-tiered wedding cake.

I made this cake first for a library science school potluck. I had worried how I could indicate it was OK for vegans, so I turned it into a MARC (book) record.

Are you ready for the best cake ever? It has everything going for it, outside of being gluten-free.

Vegan Chocolate Cake
2 1/4 c flour
1/3 c cocoa
1 1/2 c sugar
3/4 t salt
1 1/2 t baking soda
6 T oil
1 1/2T white vinegar
2 t vanilla
1 1/2 c cold water
1 c chocolate chips (optional, for a more rich and decadent cake)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a pan (it makes a thinner 9×11″ or a thick 9×9″). Combine dry ingredients and mix them thoroughly. Make three wells in the dry mixture and add the oil to one, vanilla to the second, and vinegar to the last. Pour the cold water over the whole thing and mix very well, adding chocolate chips if using.

Pour batter into the oiled pan and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. The cake is done when the center is set.

Vegan Chocolate Icing
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted in a saucepan or microwave with enough soy milk (vanilla soy milk is best!) for consistency, cocoa powder to taste, and some sort of fun flavoring extract.

It’s mighty, all right.

It’s mighty, all right., originally uploaded by sundaykofax.

Jason and I visited his parents this weekend, and we went to one of
those local chain restaurants that Jason frequented as a teen. My
equivalent is Hungry Hobo. With either, the nostalgia is better than
the actual quality. He had the namesake, and I had a buffito, which is
a buffalo-sauce burrito.