Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Tofurky Day

Although it is called Thanksgiving, I have more often than not heard if referred to as "Turkey Day". Being vegetarians we don't eat turkey, so while wandering through Trader Joe's last week I picked up a stuffed 'Tofurky Roast & Gravy' for our dinner tonight.

We don't usually celebrate any holidays, but I thought instead of our usual fare I'd make something a bit different and document the process since I'd never made a Tofurky roast before.

I have used Tofurky products though. They are made in Oregon by Turtle Island Foods and make great cracked pepper deli sliced Tofurky. Yummy for sandwiches.

Here is the box prior to opening....

And open......

Gravy on the left and the Tofurky roast on the right. When you take out the roast and turn it over you see this.....

I opened the package and put it in a foil lined dish. I made a marinade to pour over top. From what I read online, the marinade suggested on the box isn't as good as one provided online. I opted for the online version with red wine, balsamic vinegar, fresh ground pepper and poultry seasoning......

Here is the roast with the marinade on it......

I covered it in foil and put it in the oven and set the timer for 1 hour 15 minutes. Then I needed to think of a side dish. I've been avoiding the grocery store since last week. I can't deal with all the frantic shoppers. I hate shopping at the best of times.

I remembered I had two small red potatoes in the fridge and some frozen brussel sprouts. I thawed the sprouts and cut them in half. When grabbing the potatoes from the fridge I discovered one lonely carrot. I chopped the carrot and potatoes and added them to the brussel sprouts.

I sprinkled them with olive oil, black pepper, granulated garlic, 'Herbes de Provence' and voilà!..... roasted veggies had become the side dish of choice. Necessity is the mother of invention......or as Troubadour likes to say: "overcome, adapt, and improvise."

Luckily the oven is large enough for the baking sheet of veggies and the roast. Soon I was ready to take everything out of the oven. I had some sweet potato bread warming in the microwave and the Tofurky gravy heating on the stove. Put the roasted veggies in a dish......

And Troubadour was kind enough to slice the Tofurky for me..... such presentation......

We rounded out the meal with some sparkling cranberry juice. I apologize for the color of the next photo the compact fluorescent lights combined with the white oak table made for a yellow color no matter what I tried....

It looked good enough to eat so we dove in. I did stop long enough to take a picture of my plate. It looks like more than it is since we used salad plates not large dinner plates. But you can fill your small plate and think you are eating a lot.

Overall I think it turned out quite well. It was a little too salty for my tastes, but then, I don't cook with salt and always buy low sodium or sodium free options when buying canned goods, etc. I think it was the organic brown rice and bread crumb stuffing that made it salty. Oh well, we'll just drink lots of water tonight.

A few good things about eating Tofurky and not turkey for Thanksgiving........ no tryptophan crash, no cholesterol, only 7 grams of fat per serving and 42 grams of protein. Can't complain about that. Probably a good thing we went out and walked a few miles this morning though.

I hope everyone had a great day today. Whether you are celebrating or not I hope that you had a wonderful day with the ones you love whether they be family or friends. And please be thankful for what you have each and every day, not just one day in November.

I am thankful for my Troubadour....Sadly the last picture we have of us together is from Troubadour's 40th celebration in Vegas........almost a year ago.

-Au Revoir

"I have strong doubts that the first Thanksgiving even remotely resembled the "history" I was told in second grade. But considering that (when it comes to holidays) mainstream America's traditions tend to be over-eating, shopping, or getting drunk, I suppose it's a miracle that the concept of giving thanks even surfaces at all." ~ Ellen Orleans

Friday, November 19, 2010

Weather Weenie

"Je suis un weenie de temps."

I do believe that I have become a weather weenie. Unlike the grey squirrel I caught swinging from the bird feeder this afternoon in the pouring down rain, I haven't ventured out much lately. Work, home, work, home, rinse, repeat.

Our weather has taken a turn for the worse in the last week or so as it seems to have done all over the Pacific Northwest. The few weeks prior it was sporadic at best whether or not it would rain or shine. Yesterday we received 1" of rain in 24 hours while Timberline Lodge received 24" of snow in 24 hours. This morning we woke to 32.5˚F. Brrr. Right now it has made it to a balmy 41˚F. Still brrr.

For me this weather is not conducive to motorcycling. I have been wanting to get out on the TU as it has been 3 weeks or so but it seems to be raining like crazy on the weekends or just plain cold. I don't mind getting caught in a little rain while out riding but I don't like to set out in a downpour already cold and miserable.

I'd like to get out and ride this weekend but they are forecasting 70% chance of rain and even a flurry or two (not that it would stick). It is official, I am an über weather weenie. I've been wussified. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind warm rain, it is the cold, soak you to the bone, never get warm again rain I don't like.

Funny I don't so much mind riding pillion in the poor weather and in the rain, but I don't like it on my own bike. Maybe it is easier to let Troubadour be in control in the poor weather or maybe he makes a great windscreen compared to the naked TU. Maybe it is because I can put my gloved hands between us to try and keep them a little warmer and drier. Self preservation kicking in perhaps?

Perchance when I get my new all weather jacket I'll be more inclined to ride in inclement weather. We never made it over to Albany to pick it up last Saturday, but instead went to Salem and Portland perusing all the motorcycle shops along the way. RickRick came with us and we had sushi in Salem for lunch and then dinner at Sweet Tomatoes in Tigard for dinner. Sorry, no food pics, camera was at home.

I came to the conclusion that there isn't much all weather gear out there for the ladies. Google 'ladies riding jacket' and you get images like the one to the left. At the shops there were lots of short jackets that would be great for the girls hopping on the back of their boyfriend's sport bikes and want to look chic in pink with farkles and sparkles on their gear. Me, I'm not into pink, sequins, or metallic thread. I'd love to find more riding gear in browns and beige. A little lighter than black but not white.

Maybe tomorrow we will head over to Albany and pick up the Rev'it Siren, provided they still have one in my size. Then I can try out in the rain if I am adventurous and also see if my boots are waterproof too. I bought the HD Melia boots late spring but haven't tested them in the rain yet. When I do I'll be sure to do a write up as I am quite happy with them.

Well, the weather hasn't improved so it must be a good soup day. One big pot of homemade potato onion soup with a loaf of crusty bread coming up.....

- Au Revoir

"Weather is a great metaphor for life - sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, and there's nothing much you can do about it but carry an umbrella." ~ Terri Guillemets

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Jacket Racket

I am beginning to think that jacket manufacturers are running a racket. Just when I think I've found a comfy one I find little quirks that drive me nuts and I am looking for another, and another.

Don't get me wrong, it isn't every single jacket but 2 out of the last 3 just aren't right when wearing for any length of time.

Several years ago I bought a ladies Cortech jacket. It had a thermal liner and the sleeves were long enough. After trying on jacket after jacket sleeve length became my main priority. It seemed to fit what I needed. After a while the collar started to bother me and the torso area seemed way too bulky and I couldn't adjust the sleeves to be slender enough. Both the arms and torso flapped around in the breeze when riding especially with no fairing.

Last summer I found a Scorpion Nip/Tuck at Discount Motorcycle Parts in Eugene and it fit like a glove.

It is a mesh jacket and I special ordered it in the Spring pattern to match my Scorpion Spring Chameleon black helmet.

Not a necessity, but all that was in stock was white and I didn't think that was a great choice. Turned out that it was on back order and I didn't receive it until the beginning of October. I managed to get in a short ride wearing it but not far due to the weather. It was tucked in the closet all last winter waiting for the nice weather this year.

I have since used that jacket as my go to jacket. It fits great and the collar is low enough to be comfortable. And the sleeves are long enough too, hooray. I can still put a heavier shirt on under it if we will be riding in the hills or in the early morning hours. The elastic lacing up each side is great for adjustments. The only problem I have with it is that when I put my wallet in the right pocket and cell phone in the left it is quite lumpy since it is a snug fit. Not uncomfortable just chunky looking. I also feel that I am more visible when riding in this jacket since the grey accents and stitching seem to be more eye catching than plain black.

In the spring I was looking for a thermal jacket that would be good for riding the TU since the Cortech wasn't comfortable. I found a Scorpion Selene in khaki at Premier Motogear in Albany and it seemed to fit. Sleeves long enough? check. Length long enough? check. Thermal liner? check. All seemed comfortable so I spent the money and got it. I felt it was a great find since it fit and it was last years model so was on sale. I was thrilled to not have to wear the Cortech again and have it flapping in the breeze.

One thing I noticed after the first few times wearing it is that I should have worn it around the store a little longer before buying it and maybe tried to take a helmet off or put one on while wearing it. Apparently I have wide shoulders as well as long arms and the elbow protection doesn't hit right. Fine for reaching towards the handle bars, but when I try to move my arms up above level, not only does my jacket come up, but I find it almost impossible to put my helmet on with my jacket on. The arms just won't go that way. They are blocked by the elbow pads. That bothers me, but is tolerable to some extent. I also find it harder to shoulder check with this jacket because of the tighter neck and the cuff zipper on the left sleeve has decided it does not want to stay zipped. Makes for chilly arms.

What has me searching for a new thermal riding jacket at this time was what happened when trying to get geared up for an evening ride last Thursday. Troubadour and I were heading out two-up on the Tiger to go to Eugene for a presentation by Rick Wallace on crash scene safety. It was a sample of his full day course on motorcycle specific crash scene safety and our interest was piqued. (Since then we've both signed up for the January course) I knew it was going to be a chilly ride so I had the fleece pants on under my thermal overpants and put a long sleeved shirt on under my t-shirt. I grabbed my regular buff and put it over the head and put my jacket on. I went to put the polar fleece buff on and couldn't manage it due to the jacket. Didn't seem to matter if the jacket was zipped or not and so I opted out of the polar buff and just used the light one. I felt the collar was pressing onto my throat and was quite uncomfortable but we were running late and I didn't have a lot of other options. Many bad words were said when I went to put my helmet on, but Troubadour is used to that by now.

On Saturday we went to Premier Motogear once again to see what they had in stock. I was thinking to maybe look at higher end jackets figuring fit and finish would be better. I tried on a Rev'it SIREN. Sleeves are long enough and it has enough buckles and such to tighten the sleeves and body comfortably. It also has a nice comfort collar as well as having an adjustable snap for the collar so you can make 5-7 adjustments on how tight or loose you want the collar to be. Protective armor felt like it was in a good place too. It felt so nice after wearing the Scorpion on Thursday. I wore it around a bit and checked it for fit and comfort. The jacket has three layers to it for mixing and matching in all kinds of weather. Thermal vest, waterproof liner, etc. It seems to be just what I am looking for, but I am hesitant. I have purchased too quickly before and don't want to do that again.

We left and I did a little research online about the jacket and also checked with one of our lady friends who rides. She has the same jacket and loves it. The adjustable comfort collar is her favorite feature. The only complaint she has is that she gets a little airflow under the back when riding. She rides a sportier bike than I do and is also smaller in stature so this may be the cause. With me sitting upright and filling out the jacket a bit more I don't know if that would be an issue or not.

When researching online I found they also make this jacket it black with red accents and it looks quite sharp. I am wondering if this would be more visible than the grey when riding, but I know we need to ride like we are invisible. Alert and on the look out. If the red stands out I don't want to give a driver in an SUV an excuse to target fixate either. "Sure I saw her, but still aimed right at her without slowing down."

So, it looks as though I will be purchasing another jacket this weekend. I will be trying it on again and zipping it up and putting a helmet on while done up just to see what it will do. Hopefully it will be a nice day for riding on Saturday. If not, I should have a great fitting winter riding jacket so the rain and fog will roll right off. And if I am still cold, there is usually a Starbucks around every corner. Decaf grande soy latte please.

-Au Revoir

"Advice to children crossing the street: damn the lights. Watch the cars. The lights ain't never killed nobody." ~ Moms Mabley