Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lemonade, Tomato Soup, and a Hiatus

I was reading Andrea's Easy Vegan Cooking the other day when she posted about tonic water and some other interesting cocktail-related info,  and it got me in the mood for a cocktail. I don't drink spirits often...maybe 2 or 3 times a year, but every once in a while a tasty drink doesn't go astray. (Thanks, Andrea! :) With that in mind, I spent a very enjoyable Saturday afternoon sipping some Limoncello Lemonade in the garden, harvesting cucumbers and reading.

This is a refreshing drink for those who are so inclined:

Limoncello Lemonade
1 oz citrus-infused vodka
1 oz limoncello
 6 oz lemonade

Simple Food
Inspired by my blog friend, Laloofah, I began reading Simple Food for the Good Life, by Helen Nearing. An intellectual cookbook with plenty of insightful narration and humor, it's  billed on the cover as  "the funniest, crankiest, and most ambivalent cookbook you'll ever read".

(You can read about Laloofah's recent visit to the Nearings' final homesite in Maine, founded in 1952, here. The post includes more detailed information about the Nearings, wise and inspiring quotes from their prolific writings,  and wonderful pics: you can see the continuing legacy of the Nearings' veganic veggie garden! You'll be moved; check it out!)

Helen describes herself as someone who isn't a great cook and couldn't care lessI have a feeling that was a bit of humility on her part. Granted, her recipes are no-nonsense, quick, and basic: food that is meant to nourish the body and not a cook's ego. Yet her cooking was routinely met with accolades from the wind-swept and eclectic people who sat at her table at one time or another. This makes sense: simple food is often the most delicious.

The Nearings were vegetarians...not vegan. But, that scarcely matters. With a few minor substitutions here and there, the few recipes that aren't already, easily become vegan. Couched as they are in the promotion of kind living and harmony with nature, the Nearings' recipes and philosophy of life sing to the vegan soul.

Someday, I hope to live like the Nearings: off-grid, primarily self-sufficient, and reaping the peace of simple living. I'm not averse to physical labor or lean times. These are what turn simple dinners and a humble bed into exquisite pleasures. As far as I'm concerned, along with connecting with nature, friends, and community nothing else is required.

Raw Gold Tomato Soup
(Adapted from Simple Food for the Good Life, by Helen Nearing)

6 ripe gold tomatoes, quartered (or use any variety you like)
1 large green onion, chopped
1 cup diced cucumber
2 cups water
olive oil to taste
fresh herbs/salt/pepper to garnish

Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor and garnish with fresh herbs of choice.

We ate this soup right after blending, so it was room temperature, and it was delectable. I ate some of the leftovers chilled and it was also good, but I thought it could use a bit of salt.

I've always loved late summer--harvest season is in full swing, gardens are still in bloom, and fleeting hints of autumn are in the air.

I'm taking a little break from the blog in September to enjoy the remaining summer and focus on some other projects/activities. I'll be looking forward to VeganMofo IV in October...see you then.

Happy September.  :)

Roseann LaPonte
Rosanne Tobin


  1. That lemon drink sounds very refreshing, and great pictures by the way! As simple as that soup was that you made, I bet it tasted good. Sometimes simple is better. I also would love to live off the grid one day. My husband is way too into his technology though, so I don't know if that will ever happen. I would love to build an earth ship from the ground up one day too. For now, I am just hoping to be able to build a greenhouse out of plastic water bottles once I get my own place :)

  2. You do such a wonderful job showing your backyard retreat in your photos. I love raw blender soups and need to experiment with more of them.

    I don't do back to school (anymore and yet), but with the first glimpse of cooler weather and baseball playoffs approaching, I feel the urge to grab on to the last of summer, too. Have a good September and I'll look forward to your return!

  3. That is one of my favorite ways to use limoncello. Since you obviously have bottle it is also good over vanilla "ice cream". ;-)

    Enjoy your summer break.


  4. No Sept? :( I hope that awesome looking soup can hold me over until then!

  5. i wanna live of grid, i wanna live off grid!! lol im so with you! these people(the Nearings) sound great. if they lived off on their own then they probably had free range chickens for their egss etc. i dont think that thats a bad thing, unfortunately i cant do that where im at:( but i think* i would onsider it, what about you?

  6. I'm right there with you with the simple life being the best. Our aim is to live off the grid and as minimally as possible. We've been finding that the more posessions & other "stuff" we shed, the better life gets. :)

    I'll have to check that book out. I remember Laurie's post & have had it in the back of my mind ever since. I love no nonsense, simple recipes!

  7. Rose, your photos are stunning — they keep getting better and better, and the first one is absolutely gorgeous!

    I read Helen and Scott Nearing's books when I was young, and they were both still active. Helen was quite a character, and I admired and envied her life. Never quite got there, though.

    The soup sounds beautiful. I'll look for tomatoes at the Wallingford market tomorrow.

    I'm glad I inspired you to enjoy a refreshing taste of summer — such as it is here in cold and rainy Seattle. The lemonade would have been perfect in the steamy Midwest!

    Will miss you in September, but enjoy!

  8. Rose, enjoy the break! I'll check back on the first of October to look for you, so don't be too long! :-)

  9. A gorgeous post to leave us with. I hope you enjoy your blogging break.

  10. I agree with everyone else, a gorgeous post. Enjoy your break, and see you in October!

  11. Carissa,

    You're right, the soup sounds so basic, but it was really tasty...primarily a function of sun-ripened tomatoes! A plastic water bottle greenhouse sounds v. cool! My husband is a bit reticent about the off-grid thing too...hopefully we can both do a little convincing at least be partially there someday.


    Thanks, I do really love my garden...

    I always liked that "back to school" feeling, but like you, it's been a while since I've gone "back to school." The first couple of years after I got out of college, I used to feel like September was a luxury...enjoying the summer w/o having to worry about school....this is a great time of year for baseball fans too, enjoy!


    Thanks for the idea...that sounds really delicious and and elegant too!


    Hope you have a nice September; have fun!

  12. Michelle,

    I hope we get our dream of living off-grid someday! The Nearings probably did have some free chickens. I would love to have chickens as pets and companions; esp. I would love to rescue chickens...

    I wouldn't try to force them to lay eggs with artificial light, but if they laid the odd egg, I don't think I'd be opposed to it.

    My brother has pet chickens and when they lay the odd egg, which is not all the time...he makes an omelette...the eggs would just rot anyway since he doesn't have a rooster.

    ..so long as the chickens live a happy and free life and will be able to do so until the natural end of their days...I don't think I'd have an issue...except it's been so long since I ate an egg...might be kind of weird to eat one!

  13. Vegan Flower,

    I totally agree that the more clutter you remove from your life, the better it gets. I found that especially so with television...I don't think I could ever have one in my house again.

    I want to read more about the Nearings too! I'm sure we can get a lot of inspiration and tips from them.


    Thanks...I've never been one to take good photos...but lately, I've been having fun trying to assemble pretty things to take photos of, and the nice summer lighting makes it easy. Thanks for the encouraging words!

    I thought of you while sipping my lemonade, and thanks for the inspiration...it was a fairly nice day on Sat...definitely not lemonade weather the last few days though! :)

  14. BlessedMama, Shen, and Zoa:

    Have a great September. I'll be catching up on the blogs from time to time during Sept probably...just not going to be online as often and not posting myself. October should be a fun month on the blogs too!

  15. Rose, i think we are on the same page, lilly used to lay eggs. sometimes i would make them and give them to the birds or dog and somtimes i would eat them. she was NOT bought for her eggs and since here were no boy ducks around...:)

    loved what you wrote on Alicias post, i really REALLY couldnt agree with you more. what really got me was that you said "even if the vegan diet wasnt so healthy i would still do it" i know i have totally butchered your words but it was similar to that. i told my husband what you said, and how much i liked it. he lughed but was also thinking that that was something that i would say/do. i love being vegan and well..i dont really like people saying they are something they are not. but..it all helps the animals so i cant complain to much(like you said)

    have fun on your break, that thing in october is pretty intense, i will be a reader not a participant:)!! will you still be around to talk to?

  16. Michelle,

    I think we are on the same track too! :)

    I'll be around, just not online as much...if you want to talk, that's totally cool!

    Take care and have fun!

  17. Wonderful offerings not only to delight the eye, but tease the taste buds too.

    Enjoy your blog break. I am a strong advocate of taking time out from the blog world. Enjoy.

  18. Thanks Mangocheeks! Will do. :)

  19. Dear Rose,

    The word that popped into my head when I saw your photos was "stunning," and it obviously popped into Andrea's head as well! So since she beat me to it :-) I will use an equally appropriate word to describe your photos - exquisite! Truly, you should be photographing food, flowers and table settings for books and magazines! They're gorgeous.

    And your tomato soup looks beautiful and delicious! I'm so glad you've been enjoying Simple Food for the Good Life, and that you enjoyed my post about The Good Life Center enough to share it here. Thanks for the endorsement. :-)

    Enjoy your blogging break - I find them invaluable for recharging and blowing out the cobwebs. It can be like opening the windows to let in fresh air to shake up a routine or get a change of scenery. I didn't plan on it but will no doubt be following your example, as this vacation week has accomplished much but has also created more time-consuming projects that will extend well beyond Labor Day! I'll email you the details soon! Meanwhile, enjoy the rest of your long weekend! xoxo

  20. Laurie,

    I'm definitely enjoying the break. Thanks for the encouraging words about the photos...I was never interested in taking photos before I started blogging...it is fun to take pics of pretty flowers...how could they not look good?

    My garden is full of them; and I don't grow all them from seed. I buy a lot of annuals at the local garden center...my husband says I have flowers on the brain...and he's probably right.

    I'm going to be making more of the Good Life recipes for sure.

    I know you're a BBC fan; have you ever seen Good Neighbors? It's about a couple that go self-sufficient in the suburbs of London in the 70's... a sitcom.

    Good Neighbors is what it's called in the US, but in the UK, it's called The Good Life...I wonder how much of that (if any) was inspired by the Nearings...or if it was just a trend at that time, so seemed topical to make a sitcom about.

    Anyway, take care talk to you soon.


  21. Hi Rose-
    Fianlly I've made my way to your blog....and what a delight. I am so NOT a foodie and NOT a vegan, though I had a terrific meal with Laurie when she was in Maine. Your photos however, encourage me to keep an open mind. They are stunning.
    I want to thank you for your encouraging words when you comment over at the no ears....
    I've become your latest follower and perhaps one day, I'll even make one of these recipes. It will have to be an easy one though. When I see more than 6 or 7 ingredients and more than 20-30 min of time consumption-I'm done. A good bowl of cereal can be poured and consumed in about 4 minutes. I'm pathetic.
    Happy day to you. Looking forward to more ideas that might make me dip my toe into vegan land.

  22. Susan,

    Thanks for stopping by. I really enjoy your blog and your photos. You live in such a beautiful place.

    A no-nonsense approach in the kitchen doesn't make you pathetic...if you haven't already, you should check out Simple Food for the Good Life...it's more than a recipe book, and quite engaging...Helen Nearing shared your philosophy about cooking: she wanted it to consume as little of her time as possible so she could have more time to do the things that she found really interesting and rewarding.

    Thanks again for stopping by.

  23. Rose, your photos are always so lovely, they make me smile. I love the arrangement of the first one with the gorgoeus rust pansies. I hope you are enjoying your break!

  24. Hi Janet,

    I am enjoying the break...it's nice to have some downtime...but I do check my email every other day...thanks for your nice comment. I love pansies they are my favorite flower and especially love to find colors/patterns that are a little different.

    Hope all is well with you.


  25. Hi, Rose -

    You're no doubt right that flowers are so beautiful it's probably nearly impossible to take a flower photo that isn't pretty, but yours are definitely special. Maybe it's a talent that comes from having flowers on the brain. :-)

    "Good Neighbors" rings a dim and distant bell, but if I ever watched it it was only once or twice and a looooong time ago. Funny it was called "The Good Life" in Britain - can't imagine the Nearings didn't inspire some of that! I'll check Netflix for it, sounds like it might be a fun one to watch sometime.

    I'm glad to hear your hiatus is going nicely! May it continue to.

    (P.S. Hi, Sue! Your comment made me smile ... it's great to see you here! You'll love your time spent at Rose's blog ~ it's a lovely, peaceful, thoughtful and inspiring place to visit!) :-)

  26. Hi Laurie,

    Good Neighbors is on Netflix watch instantly...I think you'll recognize it if/when you see it. It stars Felicity Kendall, who is just an adorable little person.

    The characters in Good Neighbors aren't vegetarian, but whenever I see an episode I say:"that's the way I want to live, except for vegan-style of course" Same goes for the BBC series from the 80's 'Darling Buds of May'.

    I hope you are feeling better; I'll be sending an email soon.

    Take care,

    Rose :)

  27. Interesting - I would like to read more about all of that. I'm so torn in between these different parts of myself. Half of me would love nothing else than to be a vegan Laura Ingalls Wilder - live a natural, peaceful existence. The other part of me has a terrible time finding joy in simple things, and I'm obsessed with technology and big cities...I do yearn for what you are talking about.

    I could never, ever eat an egg, no matter how it came to be just because they totally gross me out. But I completely see how a vegan could, if it came about in this manner and was appealing to them. I think my husband would probably eat them, if that were the case, as you described above, and I could see feeding them to my pets or even my children, if they were interested.

    Enjoy your other pursuits this month and look forward to your new posts in October.

  28. Jenny,

    I think I have a little bit of that "city mouse" in me too. But, at the end of the day, I think I'm more of a "country mouse". I'm sure you'll be able to strike a balance...there are lots of ways to be self-sufficient in more urban environments.

    I kind of agree that eggs are sort of intrinsically disgusting. Even before I was vegan, I as not big on eggs, except for the odd omelette. I'm not sure whether I would like to eat one anymore...but if it were a completely innocent happenstance from a completely happy and free chicken, I wouldn't have a moral issue if someone wanted to eat it, or feeding it to a pet etc.

    Have a great weekend!

  29. September is the very best time for a hiatus! Enjoy it.

    Thanks a lot for the kinds words on my review, too.

  30. Beautiful golden tomato soup, I'm sure it does taste as good as it looks.

    I love limoncello and I love the picture.

    Enjoy your little hiatus!

  31. Thank you for such lovely comments, Rose.

    Gosh, I could go for a glass of that lemonade right now. The heat is sweltering out here! And the tomato soup looks fantastic :)

  32. I definitely recommend the lemonade! It goes down easy, esp, I imagine in hot weather.

  33. Hi Rose, and nice to meet you! I read your bio, and I was wishing you knew our friends, Bill & Linda, of Unexpected Farm. They should absolutely blog. Linda is funny and smart, and Bill is so silent that if he wrote down what he was thinking the earth would probably implode. Okay, maybe Linda should blog.

    I look forward to reading you when you return to the keyboard. Thanks for following us!

  34. Hi Good Luck Duck,

    I apologize: I'm reposting this comment because I think I addressed you as "Dirty Duck" by mistake in my last comment...I apologize...I'm sort of an idiot that way...


    Nice to meet you too (two):) I found your blog via Dirty Duck; I love your blog description.

    I read the Unexpected Farm article...excellent! Bob and Linda sound like very cool and interesting people. You're right...that's exactly the sort of thing I aspire to.

    You and your partner sound v. cool and interesting too...I'm looking forward to following along w/ your posts.

  35. Wow, nice blog! I just now discovered it. Great food and awesome photos!

  36. Thanks Lisa. Your blog looks interesting; I'll be stopping by soon.

  37. That's cool you're taking a break blogging. I've been thinking about doing that if necessary. I look forward to you coming back, though. Many of the things you said about Simple Living are so true. I was thinking a lot about that when visiting Dancing Rabbit.

  38. Hi Cassie,

    Thanks for stopping by. I remember reading your recent posts about your visit to Dancing Rabbit; it sounds like a wonderful place and a really fun activity.

  39. Hey, thanks for commenting on my blog.

    I like the idea of self-sufficiency too. I grew up on a little farm in Massachusetts...my parents called themselves " vegetarian homesteaders"...and I guess that's what we were. But we weren't entirely self-sufficient; my dad repaired sewing machines and did odd jobs for money, but we grew most of the food we ate.

    Your photos are make everything look becoming, which I'm sure it is.

  40. JessyS

    Thank you for stopping by.

    Your homesteader upbringing sounds wonderful...that's very much along the lines of what I hope to do some day.

  41. Okay, you've had a month off to gear up. I can't wait to see what your first post is!

  42. Shen,

    Too much pressure! LOL. I'll probably do a post over the weekend, but it's not going to be anything special. I've just gotten plain old blog lazy.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...