11 April 2007

Long Time Gone

Just like the CSNY lyrics ("it's been a long time comin', its goin' to be a long time gone"), although I don't plan on being gone-gone for this long again. I'm sorry I was away for as long as I was, it was unintentional but a good break. I don't know where to start... it's been so long.

I think I'll start with telling you all how wonderful, thoughtful, caring, and meaningful you are to me. And that I am sorry for being gone so long. I have received a slew of comments for the longest time now, from people who are my friends to bloggers I don't even "know". All of your notes, emails, pop-in's, and pressure, each one has made me smile (or feel bad and guilty, but still!) and I am reminded how many amazing, kindred people read my blog and care so much! Thank you all... And please do know, people on my links among others, I am always reading your blogs and I enjoy them all so much. I have not been completely gone, just very very quiet...

It's been a long time since I've posted and I have a lot of "news" that's not new anymore. First off, I owe you all photos since Thanksgiving. Geez! Well, it hasn't been *that* long but I do have my thanksgiving feast to share before the next one comes again. At this rate, I really better get to it... I have had a lot going on, been busy, been lazy, and have had some serious personal revelations/changes lately... more on that later on (later as in a few weeks). I also had a birthday come and go. Oh, and I started running (rather than no exercise at all) and it feels really good on many levels. Killian is just as fat (and cute) as ever but he did bite me again. I was really hurt from it but turns out he had a bladder infection, among other things. We're both ok now, I think.

Let's get back onto the food. I have some serious news here people. If for whatever reason you aren't sitting down, please do so right now... Take a moment... ok... Guess what?!!?

Keep guessing...

I baked. Yes! I freakin' baked again (yay)! Some of you already know and thank you for keeping my "secret". While all of this excitement is going through your head, please know that I am also sorry for not sharing with you earlier... I almost feel sneaky... I've been baking since December 11th, 2006 again! But it's great, I just went for it that day and all was well. I started with Dreena's Homestyle Chocolate Chip cookies because, how could I not?! I've heard so much about them, a fellow blogger sent me some of her homemade ones (thanks Jody!) and now I have my own. Plus, I love anything by Dreena. Here you see them modified with macadamia nuts (when they were 35% off at the co-op). I started baking before the holidays, through the holidays, and I just couldn't stop until about a month after the holidays! They're the best cookies ever. I ate sooo many cookies in a 6 week span. Hence the running...

Speaking of the co-op, I have some very sad news. As of late February, Gentle Strength Co-op (Tempe, AZ) closed it's doors. And they just moved in November... there weren't enough investors and to be honest, this city is really changing fast (daily, before my eyes) and many like-minded co-op people have moved up and on. I'm sad by these facts, but there will be "something" I hear... for now the only 2 CSAs (lame) are not taking new members, WF raised its prices ridiculously and changed certain distributors and I've always had produce issues with them anyway, and I really need to get my ass to some farmers markets (besides The Farm at South Mountain, which is still good enough for me) because I'm super sad I can't easily obtain local organic produce. But this also puts it in perspective for me how fortunate I was (and am) for being able to just go to the co-op whenever I wanted, purchased local organics for good prices. Those days are over but I have a lot of good memories... and I'm sad I can't get Wildwood chocolate milk (or any of their milks), bulk organic hempseeds, ricemellow, the best tasting organic fair trade oily coffee beans in the world, local greens from Matt's house, prepared organic vegan deli foods, personal care items, avocados, and a few other novelties only my precious co-op had. I am constantly saddened by the closing of this, but it is really also a slap in the face as to how much this place is changing (as if I haven't noticed already)... I am going to take my cooler and go down to Tucson one day soon and shop at their co-op... I ideally want to go to New Frontiers or the co-op in Flag but it's a bit of a longer drive (but prettier) so I will save that for sometime in May and I can go camping woo hoo! Ok, enough ranting, onto the photos...

Featured above: Vive le Vegan (Dreena's) Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies with added macadamia nut flare. Look at these fluffy babies! Yum.
More cookies... flatter cookies, but good cookies. With walnuts. I managed to only stick with the homestyle cookies of Dreena's. They are the best ever and can be modified with any additional flare. I swear I can't make any other kind of cookie... And back there you see my lovely (old and gone) co-op purchases, precious avocado (for a good price and USA) and bulk organic maple syrup. I'm soooo sad I can't get either of these anymore.
Looks like I gave in and bought WF maple syrup. Totally not the same (and my wallet knows that too). These are more of Dreena's cookies... who knows what I put in them this time. Sorry for so many [boring] cookie photos. I'm sure it's all old-hat to a lot of you but for me not having homemade cookies straight out of the oven for over a year was pretty rough! So, just be thankful I only posted these, as I took tons of the same sorts of cookie photos.
More of Dreena's cookies... This time just being lazy and dumped all the batter into this 8" pie pan. Yum. With ice cream it is even better (duh). Ok, I promise to show more than just these same types of cookies. I have so many baked goods to show you. One of my all time favorites is Kris' (squirrels vegan kitchen) Boston Cream Pie. I made it twice in a week! Stay tuned.

Again, thanks to all of you awesome bloggers for your support, kind words, advice and pop-ins. I appreciate it so much. I promise to get back to normal blogging sometime in the near future, for now things are pretty up in the air. Thanks for still reading my blog, even if it was a long time gone...

30 comments:

Shawn said...

Welcome back!!! Hope everything is well. Sorry to hear about Killian biting you -- but don't take it to heart.

Congrats on the (secret) baking! The oven is a wonderful device, although I must admit, where you live, adding a 350 degree anything to the house is bound to cause misery. No one will judge you if the baking decreases as the summer increases. :)

Great to know you're well. We all look forward to your posts!

-Shawn

Okra Mary said...

Welcome back!!!

I just blogged about your pesto (again)...it's my favorite. I made a giant batch of it.

Can't wait to hear more about what's been going on with you :)

Vincent Guihan said...

That cookie is beautiful. If I weren't in a cubicle, I'd be tearing up.

maybepigscanfly said...

I'm so glad you're back and even happier to find out that you are ok. And you're BAKING- how exciting to be baking again (especially Dreena's recipes). I'm sorry about the co-opt (why do all the good places close down?). I'm looking forward to your upcoming posts and I'm glad you enjoyed a long and well deserved blogging break!

-Teresa
...I love to run and I'm glad that your enjoying it too. (I may be strange but running gives me such a great high!)

bazu said...

Leslie, you're BACK!!!! Welcome back, and please don't apologize for your absence. We all need to take breaks every now and again, and it seems like you've had a lot going on lately.

First of all, I'm so sorry that Killian bit you and that he himself wasn't feeling well. I hope you are both ok now and everything is better.

Second of all, I'm so sorry to hear about the food changes in Tempe- your co-op (that is really sad) and the larger shifts too. I really hate when that happens, and know the feeling all too well.

Finally, congratulations on baking again!! That really is exciting news. You're right- who can pass up chocolate chip cookies like those?? I can't wait to see more of your creations and hear what you've been up to.

I hope all's well. {hugs}

Shananigans said...

Welcome back! It’s ok to take a break, I do it all the time ;)

Those cookies look awesome. Thanks for reminding me that I was going to looking into getting a CSA membership this season, lots of these available is southern WI, so I hear.

Looking forward to lots more posts.

Good-Dees said...

Welcom back - I'm a newbie - your blog was one of the first ones I read and learned tons from when I turned vegan- so I'm glad too see you back! Hummm, why did you stop baking in the first place??? if you don't mind me asking.

SusanV said...

Hey, welcome back--to blogging and baking!

Johanna3 said...

wohooooooo im so happy for you!

I'm so sorry to hear about the co-op .

laura jesser said...

Yay! Next time I make cookies I will bake them in a pie pan, because that looks amazing... I'm sorry to hear about your co-op. Something else is bound to come along soon--I hope it does.

Patty said...

Good to see you back. The cookies look so good, will have to give them a try. Sorry to hear about your co-op closing. Sounds like Killian was just having a bad, not feeling good day.

Brown said...

I am so glad you are back, I enjoyed reading your whole blog in one sitting a few weeks ago and I keep checking in to see if you resurfaced. You HAVE!! Yeah! Great job with all of your photgraphy and vegan cooking. That is so sad about your Coop, I can't believe it.

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

AM I SEEING THINGS??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????


<3 jess

Miss Tiffie said...

wow! those cookies look GREAT! i'm SO glad you're back :)

Julie said...

YAY! I am so proud of you <3

Megan the Vegan said...

great to see you're back. I missed ya.

If anything is going to bring a person out of hiding...it has to be dreena's homestyle cookies!

Lori4squaremom said...

Oh, I'm so glad you're back! I check your blog often, and am so glad you are back! Although I'm not a vegan, I do make many meatless and dairy free meals for my family, and have a small in home baking service, and have started offering some vegan baked goods. I visit many vegan blogs on a daily basis and get some awesome recipes and ideas! Thank you, and welcome back!

A regular reader....

Lori4squaremom :)

KleoPatra said...

OMG, Leslie! I am so so so so so so so so SO happy to see your post. I have been missing you, like many, many others, i am sure!

So sorry to hear about your loss in regards to the organic store. Boo! That is SUCH a bummer. My childhood pal Heidi lives in Tucson and she's been vegan for quite some time so if you need any advice on where to go (i've been to and LOVE the co-op there) let me know, i'll let her know, and you can hook up with her personally, if you want. If not, that's totally fine, too. It is heartening to see how much you remember, and with such touching memories you share, of the food and drinks you bought there...

So many cities are changing, and so quickly, and it's not always for the best! It is my hope that perhaps sometime your area will be able to support another co-op...

Wow, look at your cookies. That BIG one. Woah mama! Nice. With the maple syrup. And you're BAKING. Squirrel's Boston Cream Pie is insane. i drooled, i actually drooled looking at that photo she had on her blog.

Anyway, i never thought i'd see the day. You are so funny... "keeping the secret" from us. i'm stoked for you to have the oven thing goin' on. (And Jody's cookies are great... Vicki sent me some of hers last week... also fantastic! But i digress...)

What other kind of news will you have for us, this i am wondering, so now i'll visit more often, since i hope you'll be posting more often again, to read what else you are doing.

As you may (or may not) know, i have been a runner since i became vegetarian, at age 16, and never mind how long ago THAT was, you know it's been a while for both. But anyway, i'm very excited for you that you are starting to see why so many (and me as well) do it... because it FEELS goods. Too bad Killian can't run. Mattie's like my best jogging partner for slower jaunts. For 12 years old (that's never-mind-how-old in doggie years!) and for bein' deaf, she can keep a pretty decent pace and always keeps her eyes on "mommy!!!" whenever she's off leash. i've been running her since i adopted her four years ago. Are you running alone? Be careful, of course! i never wear a "Walkman" because i want to be sure of my surroundings. And i carry ID &/or my cell phone as well... just a little probably unwarranted, unasked for advice. Go Leslie!

i am also sorry to hear that Killian bit you (again) and that you were hurt badly from it. Mattie has been having a bladder infection for a while and has been testier than usualy with me. i find that coincidence very telling... i hadn't thought that maybe her being kind of crotchety was from the infection (among other things, as in Killian's case). Thanks for that nooz.

Can i just say please don't feel bad or guilty! We just care about you, Leslie. It's really nice to know all is well and that things are good, at least for the most part...

And as you are well aware, EVERYTHING goes better with (soy) ice cream.

You're back. YAY!

Gaia said...

There you are !
How fun to come by and see you there :)
And way to go on those cookies !
Can I have that for breakfast ?

The Veggie Vixen (Formerly The Garden of Eatin' by Sweet Pea) said...

Welcome back! I was wondering where you've been. Looking forward to reading all your great posts.
Sweet Pea

Mary said...

I thought I left a comment but I guess not!

Welcome back. I'm sorry about the loss of your co-op! Which co-op were you thinking about coming to in Tucson? I like the one one 4th Ave, but that's the only one I know of.

Carrie™ said...

Oh Leslie!! It's so good to see you back. And BAKING!! That is just effin awesome! The cookies look fab, especially the giant one. Sorry to hear about your co-op. Where I live, I don't have a whole lot. I have to travel to the next town for any decent kind of organic/veg stuff so I feel your pain.
Can't wait to see what comes out of your oven next.

scottishvegan said...

I am so happy to see you are back! I have missed reading your blog! Sorry to hear Killian was ill, but glad to hear he is better now. And that’s a real shame about your co-op. Hope you find somewhere just as good to shop soon…

Mikaela said...

Well, welcome back lady! I belong to a co-op, though really, we're more of a buying club. There's only three of us and we get our goodies delivered, just as a store would. Feel free to email or comment me if you want details. Being at the mercy of WF sucks :P

Candi said...

Yay! Oh, Leslie, I'm so happy you are back online! :) :) Don't feel guilty about not being able to blog. It's not an obligation, it's just for fun! Sometimes, you can't get to it. I went from blogging nearly daily to now about once per week! We're all just happy you are back and BAKING too! Woo!

The cookies look so good that I want to make them tonight! I like the look of the cookie pie one! :) Yes, soy ice cream on top would be perfect!

I hope you are doing well in your personal life, and I hope you have made positive changes for yourself! You deserve it!

Sorry about the co-op. That is horrible news!!!!!!! I'm glad you have farmer's markets and other options, even though some are far away. :(

Anyhow, I am so happy that you are back online and congrats for all the awesome baking!!

Dori said...

Congrats on the baking. Glad to see you back. I do hope Killian gets back to his normal not biting self soon.

Vicki said...

How awesome to see a new post here! Now that you're baking, you gotta try the Double Chocolate Almond Explosion Cookies - they'll knock yer socks off for sure. and that big cookie looks like my size! Sorry to hear about your Co-op - that must've been a blow. Looking forward to the pie.

The Vegan Chick said...

Those look yummy... If you ever have too many cookies you can send them to me : )

I havent baked cookies in such a long time. I think you just inspired me to go bake some, even if I did make a cake on sunday.

Peace
~ Allie
http://aveganlife.blogspot.com

Vanessa said...

Wow - those all look amazing! welcome back, glad to see you in top form.

G said...

Yummmm...your baking looks delish!

I agree re: bloggers, some of the nicest people I have ever 'met' are online,via the blogs.

Huggs, G