Tuesday, December 20, 2011


I'm getting married! Fairly soon, actually...in about three and a half months. My fiance wrote a fun blog post about getting engaged, which you can read if you click HERE. I'm excited about a whole lot of things, including the actual wedding in Mexico, the honeymoon in Greece, getting to wear a giant diamond wedding band on a regular basis, saying things like, "Oh, let me talk to my husband about that," when people ask me questions that I could easily answer on my own, and reaping all of these great tax benefits that I hear married people gloat about. I don't know much about taxes, but I do like to gloat.

One thing that I still think is just plain weird though, is the fact that after 30 years of having my own name, it's just going to change to a new name. I mean, that's WEIRD, right? It would be like waking up tomorrow with a new face. It's a giant change, and I feel like people kind of ignore it. Now, I'm not complaining, and I know that I don't HAVE to change my name. But I want to...I think it's one of those things that will make us closer, and more like a family. However, that doesn't take away from the fact that it's just freaking bizarre.

Luckily, I like Andy's last name. It's going to make me Sara Shaw, which I think sounds a lot like a lead character in a crime novel, or a plucky investigative journalist at a flailing newspaper who always drives the editor crazy but manages to get the scoop...and the man.

There ARE some last names, though, that might make me reconsider changing mine:

Anything that starts with the letter Z: In elementary school, as I recall, they almost always had you line up alphabetically by last name. I remember shaking my head with pity for those poor souls at the end of the line. I might have also been shaking my head in disbelief that my mother gave me that ridiculous bowl cut and perm. Seriously.

Gross: I'm sorry, truly sorry, if this offends anyone who has the last name Gross. But I just couldn't do it. "Hi, Mrs. Gross here, just calling about the brownie sale." Who would trust Mrs. Gross with baked goods??

Popp: I got an e-mail at work from someone with this last name, and no matter how many times I read it, it still looks like Poop to me.

There are also some last names that kind of make me want to talk Andy into having us both change our names and start from scratch:

Danger: Obviously. "Help, get me off of these train tracks! Oh, Sara Danger has arrived, thank goodness!" Or, "Excuse me, Mrs. Danger, but would you please pass those explosives?"

Darling: Even though Wendy from Peter Pan was a serious bitch, I was always jealous of her last name. Also her perfect curls. But mostly her last name. I just think it would be adorable to say things like, "Oh, Sara Darling calling, darling." I would also want to hang lots of signs in the house that said things like "A Darling Family Lives Here" or send out baby announcements that said, "Welcoming a new little Darling!"

Anything that starts with the letter O followed by an apostrophe: You know, O'Brien, O'Henry, O'Donnell. My name has never had extra punctuation, and I would like that.


P.S. One of my students brought me that ornament for Christmas. How sweet is that?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I'm going to open by letting you all know that after this sentence I plan to entirely ignore the fact that I have not blogged in literally months. I encourage you to do the same.

I've been balls to the wall vegan for about 8 months now, and I can honestly say it's one of the best decisions I've ever made. I'm sure it helps that my fiance is also vegan, so we get to do stuff together--like complain about the lack of vegan-friendly restaurants in the area, and then be inappropriately ecstatic when we get to go to Candle Cafe in New York City. Or we get to make fun vegan dishes to bring to our families at holidays, try to pass them off as non-vegan dishes, and then yell "GOTCHA!" as soon as someone takes a bite.

Perhaps it's because it's the holiday season, or perhaps it's because I never do anything without turning it into some kind of obsession, I've embarked on a vegan baking extravaganza over the past few weeks. I'm determined to bake up the most amazing delicacies, force people to eat them and then marvel over the fact that they're vegan, and then go back to my kitchen to bake some more. But what astonishes me time and time again is how actually fantastic everything tastes--way better than most non-vegan stuff I've eaten. Stay tuned, because I'm considering starting a baking blog to chronicle my trials and tribulations of vegan cooking. Because fun fact: I'm not a good cook. I'm an expert baker, but cooking is just not my thing. In the oven: A-okay. Out of the oven: WTF.

I just thought I'd share some of my favorite things that I've made over the past few month, followed by an encouraging message about the vegan lifestyle, and finished with an invitation to join me!

Marbled Cocoa Banana Bread--seriously, this is incredible. Also it looks super duper fancy. And it's low fat, low calorie, and just very pretty to look at.

Chocolate Chip Cookies--so I use applesauce in place of oil, and it makes them really moist and chewy. Andy's biggest woe in eating vegan has been the lack of acceptable cookies, so I try to have these around as much as possible.

Apple Cinammon Muffins--they don't sound very exciting, until you take a bite and little apple chunks burst in your mouth. I, for one, almost always like things bursting in my mouth.

Mac and Cheese--it doesn't sound vegan, but it sure is. This is one of the things we like to trick people with.

Sweet Potato Biscuits--they're like normal biscuits except they are made with sweet potatoes. Mmmmmmm. I don't like potatoes that much, but I DO like sweet potatoes!

Risotto--okay, this is one of those things that I made stovetop, and it was SUPER TRICKY. But it's made with barley, and I think that's where the trickiness came in. I evidently had to cook it for like two and a half hours. Who knew?

Forty Clove Broccoli Chickpeas--Amazing. Seriously. Even Andy, who despises broccoli, said, "...that is not nearly as bad as I was expecting it to be."

So. Vegan lifestyle? Awesome. It's fun to learn new things, to cook new things, and to know that no one is suffering while you're doing it. If you feel like you'd like to give it a whirl, come talk to me!