Tuesday, December 30, 2008

seriously lacking

My first FLOG is seriously lacking in the vegetable department. I'm low on veggies right now, (except for what I have planned for our New Year's Eve dinner,) so I did the best I could with what I have around!

peanut butter toast and a banana.
Not pictured: black coffee and my vitamin.

Strange to be home for lunch in the middle of the week, but I had a dentist appointment, so I went in to work late.
Pepper Jack quesadilla with loads of salsa, a Cara Cara orange, and
a caramel and a molasses cookie.

pumpkin chocolate chip muffin

leftover dal and the last chappati

I snuck four olives while I was cooking. :)

apple with peanut butter and a biscotto. (Is that the singular form of biscotti?)

I walked to the dentist, which was 1.2 miles. I intended on walking home as well, but it was SO FRIGGIN' ICY I didn't want to risk slipping and falling on my ass. Safety first, right?

Expect big food excitement tomorrow night . . . Dan, his brother, Ryan, and Ryan's girlfriend, Sara, are coming over for dinner, and I have a right feast scheduled! Until tomorrow . . . .

random blabber

I've decided I may start "flogging" again. Why? Because the plethora of leftover holiday cookies in my apartment, the constant junk food at work, and cold weather (which translates to lack of exercise) is making me feel sluggish and gross. (I don't know that I've actually gained any weight . . . but that doesn't really matter, eh?)

Call it a New Year's resolution, call it getting smart, call it what you will, but I'm going to cut out the junk and start getting some exercise, people!

Expect flogging and exercise log to begin today or tomorrow.

P.S. I know I don't write about music very often, but it's one of my other crazy freakish obsessions. I enjoy seeing local bands play live, although I don't get out much these days, (unless Dan's playing, of course!) Dan has recently brought all of his CDs over to my house, since he doesn't have a CD player at home, and the CD player in his car isn't working properly these days. It's so exciting to have access to so much new music!! Woo! Dan's on a west African music kick lately, which is very fun, but I have also been loving Sun Kil Moon. Anybody else know about them? If not, check them out!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

meal of note, purchase of note

Lunch Saturday:
According to Dan, this is the best dal I've made yet, (with spinach and tomato,) scooped up with homemade chappati. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!

(Dan used to live in Bangladesh, so he knows his dal. And he misses it dearly.)

Saturday night purchase:
I AM SO EXCITED TO START BAKING FROM ARTISAN BREAD IN FIVE MINUTES A DAY! Lucky me, I hadn't spent my Christmas money from Grandma and Grandpa yet. Can't wait to take the dough sitting in my fridge and my new baking stone for a test-drive!

Although I'm a little sad to return to work tomorrow, I did thoroughly enjoy my five-day weekend! Back to the grind . . . but only for a few days. :) Love those paid holidays, don't you??

Saturday, December 27, 2008

back in business

After spending the holidays away from my own kitchen, I was excited to get back to town last night and do a little cooking!! Dan and I spent a LONG time discussing what to have for dinner during our drive back -- and we settled on sushi:
Veggie rolls with red pepper, cucumber, and avocado for me, and a little ahi sushi grade tuna for Dan. Not pictured: miso soup.

There are even a couple of rolls left calling my name . . . sushi for breakfast is GREAT.

Oliver was happy to see us return as well:
Well, either that, or he was just happy to make mischief in my suitcase while I was unpacking.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

After 6 3/4 cups sugar . . .

. . . 9 1/4 cups flour, 3 cups Earth Balance, 6 (free range, organic, local) eggs, and a whole host of other ingredients, I bring you . . .

Christmas Cookies 2008:
(The candies are vegan; everything else is dairy-free.)

(from the Betty Crocker Cookbook -- this online version is a little different from the one in my cookbook, but you get the idea!)

Candied Hazelnut Brittle:
(A double batch -- from Cooking Light)

Mexican Chocolate Cookies:
(Also from Cooking Light)

Yummy Molasses Crackles:
(From Eating Well)

Pistahio-Cherry Sandwich Cookies:
(Sandwich cookies? Yeah. I cut the recipe in half and made thumbprints instead, to keep the calories down and simplify my life a little bit. From Vegetarian Times.)

Lemon-Rosemary Butter Cookies:
(Also from Vegetarian Times . . . don't know why they're dragging their feet on posting the pistachio cookie, though!)

And last, my Grandma Weber's Christmas Cookies with peppermint frosting:
(Oh yeah . . . don't forget the sprinkles, too!)

All of the cookies together:

Verdict? I had my fair share of trials and tribulations this year, (including having to re-do one cookie after ruining the first batch,) but overall, all the treats are an overwhelming success! The molasses cookies and lemon rosemary cookies may be frequent repeats -- they are both FANTASTIC!!!!!

And now, the unloading of the sugar begins. I took some packages of cookies to church this morning for choir friends, and I'll take a big tray to work tomorrow. I hope Dan's family is hungry for cookies, because I'll be bringing a LOT down with us to visit later this week!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all safe travels, successful baking adventures, and a delicious New Year!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

feeding the elves

My friends Ann and Tiffany came over tonight to help me decorate Christmas cookies! Before we frostened, sprinkled, licked fingers, ate a couple of cookies, and generally experienced a major sugar-overload, I did make dinner for the three of us:
Moosewood's Black Bean and Chipotle Soup, with Skillet Cornbread (from Veganomicon) on the side.

Tiffany and Ann were great elves -- we had all of the cookies decorated in less than an hour! We were pretty silly and sugared up by the end, and wanted to try and make a really ugly cookie:
It's not that ugly, actually! We swirled together all four colors of frosting that I made, and loaded on the sprinkles that had collected in each of our cake pans we were working over.

I'll post about ALL of the cookies soon, I promise!

not so sure about this . . .


What's that, you ask? Why, eggplant pickles, of course!

(I'm sure you're all slapping your foreheads right now, saying, "duh! Should have known!")

Obviously, I'm trying something new. It used a LOT of olive oil. (Like well over a cup.) Let's hope they're worth it!

The kicker? They have to marinade for TWO WEEKS. So I won't know for a while!

(I know . . . the suspense is killing me, too.)

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Dinner Tuesday night:
Miso soup and edamame potstickers! (Dan and I did share these -- don't worry about me eating them all by myself.) :)

I had had a package of dumpling wrappers in the freezer FOREVER, and figured it was about time I used them up. Yum! Originally a Cooking Light recipe, I modified these slightly, changing up the spices a little bit. They were great!


I have a busy weekend ahead of me . . . I have to work on Saturday, and then I have TONS of cookie baking and decorating to do! Expect a sugar-filled post in a few days!

Monday, December 15, 2008

friggin' amazing!

I made (late) dinner tonight:
My recipe for sloppy lentils on a wholegrain bun, and Liz's (from Food Snobbery is my Hobbery) friggin' amazing coleslaw! (Yes, it is that good! Go make some . . . NOW!) Not that Liz's recipe could be improved upon, but I did add some poppyseeds . . . 'cause, in my opinion, poppyseeds just sorta belong in coleslaw.

It's kind of a happy Monday! I have Christmas cookie dough in the freezer, laundry in the dryer, and delicious food in my belly! What more could a food snob want?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Saturday night supper

After a long day yesterday, (I had choir practice in the morning, and Dan and I ran errands on foot/via bus all afternoon,) I decided we were deserving of something a little special for dinner. I had been eyeing the recipe for Corn Chowder with Roasted Poblanos from The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook, so there you have it:
The only change I made from the original recipe was to substitute lite coconut milk for the 1% dairy milk called for in the recipe -- no noticible coconut flavor that either of us could detect. This change made the soup vegan, too!

We did, however, top the delicious vegan soup that I made with some shredded pepper-Jack cheese. The cheese definitely upped the deliciousness factor, in my opinion, but it would be great without!

And, 'tis the season to crave sweets, right? However, I haven't started my holiday baking, so I've been lacking in the dessert department. Enter: key lime pie!
I swear this is the easiest pie in the world, containing only three ingredients: eggs, sweetened condensed milk, and lime juice. I had the pie in the oven in less than five minutes! (I did by a wholegrain, pre-made piecrust to speed things along further.)

I may start cooking dinner here in a few minutes, to beat back the "Sunday Night Blues." Weekends are ALWAYS TOO SHORT, if you ask me!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Night Feast!

Appropriate for my 700th post, eh?
Dal and Eggplant, Red Pepper, and Spinach curry (both from Sundays at Moosewood,) over Basmati rice, with Chappati (from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest) on the side.

A fantastic Friday night feast! Never quite as good as the Indian restaurant, but this effort came DAMN close.

Happy weekend, everyone!

made it!

I made it home from the store in one piece last night, despite my massive list:
I did pick up everything on my list -- no more, no less -- to the tune of $225. (It sounds like a lot, but I got a lot of food for that amount of money!) Three bags fit into my push-cart, I stuffed a few things in my backpack, and I slung one last bag over my shoulder. Only one minor casualty (one cracked egg) out of the whole excursion! Woot!

After I finished unpacking everything, I crammed in a few quick cooking projects last night, to boot.

Starting some ghee:
All done:
I hate to admit it, but butter is kind of fun. It does wacky things when heated.

More spiced cider:
I kept it simpler this week, using only cinnamon, vanilla, cloves, and ginger. Can't wait to try some!

Last, homemade garam masala:
Can you tell we're having Indian food for dinner tonight?? :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

a massive list

I have plans to head to the store tomorrow night . . . big plans. Why such a lengthy list? Holiday baking and gift-giving for starters, and I also have a sub-goal of not having to go grocery shopping again until after Christmas. It's going to be a busy couple of weeks.

Imagine me walking back from the co-op in snowy, sub-zero conditions tomorrow night -- maybe you'll laugh a little? I'll need those laughs on the walk. :)

Here's the list:

3 lemons
loads of fresh spinach
3 red bell peppers
2 green peppers
2 poblano chiles
salad greens
swiss chard or kale
fresh rosemary
fresh oregano
green onions
coleslaw mix
Earth Balance
1% milk
sour cream
AP flour
long-grain brown rice
Basmati rice
dried apricots
dried cherries
golden raisins
chocolate chips
maple syrup
powdered sugar
dish soap
toilet paper
tomato paste
tomato sauce
crushed tomatoes
coconut milk
dried chiles
soba noodles
dried shiitakes
cherry jam
bittersweet chocolate
coriander seeds
stick cinnamon
whole cloves
ground cardamom
Monterey jack cheese
sandwich rolls
apple juice concentrate
orange juice concentrate
frozen corn
frozen edamame


Oliver thinks I'm crazy:
(But then he always does, regardless of the length of my grocery list.)

Sunday, December 07, 2008


But before I get to that . . .

. . . it's been a busy weekend! I have no pictures of Friday or Saturday meals, unfortunately. Why? Well, they were pretty boring/repeatish -- we had hot sauce glazed tempeh and messy rice again on Friday night (it's THAT good that I want to eat it two weeks in a row!) with a side salad, leftovers for lunch Saturday, and frozen pizza and salad for dinner Saturday night.

Why are we eating scrap-together meals? Well, we watched Driving Miss Daisy Friday night, (which I had never seen, by the way!), I had to work Saturday morning, we went shopping Saturday afternoon (NEW COOKBOOK!), and had tickets to the "Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival" sponsored by Midwest Mountaineering on Saturday night. The film festival was great, but LONG -- 3 1/2 hours long, to be precise! We saw some really interesting, thought-provoking, independent films, though! It was worth sticking around till the end. :)

Today was a little more laid-back. I made brunch:
Hashbrowns and mixed veggie scrambled eggs, topped with cheese and salsa.

This afternoon, Dan and I walked downtown to see the 8th Floor holiday display at Macy's -- it was quite cute! Dan said he had flashbacks to his childhood, when his family would drive up for the display each year. After walking through "A Day in the Life of an Elf," we hopped the bus south on Nicollet to Spyhouse coffee shop -- hot beverages, newspaper, and crossword puzzle for about an hour, before we came back to my place.

After some down time around here, we started dinner, which was largely Dan's project. (Although I made the rice and prepped all the veggies.) Dan expressed interest earlier this week in making a Thai curry with coconut milk and tofu, and I'm not one to give up the opportunity for a labor-free dinner on my part! See Dan cook:
Finished project:
Thai curry including tofu, green beans, eggplant, mushrooms, cauliflower, coconut milk, red curry paste, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, tamari, sriracha, fish sauce, and rice vinegar. Yum!

Dan headed back to his side of the river after dinner, and I whipped through a couple of baking projects:
Diann's pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, and
granola! (I promise it's not blurry in real life.) ;-)

And that's that. I have mountains of beans soaking to cook off tomorrow night, and just spent some time cleaning out my "beans and grains" cupboard. I have four different kinds of lentils around! How did that happen??

Favorite lentil recipes, anyone?? PLEEEEEEEEASE!??!?!

Friday, December 05, 2008

mini-cooking project

I've been craving hot apple cider. A weird thing to crave, I realize, but herbal tea just hasn't been cutting it lately, and cocoa didn't fit the bill, either. Enter, "fake-it" spiced cider:
apple juice concentrate
stick cinnamon
whole star anise
whole cloves
whole allspice
whole cardamom
smashed fresh ginger
freshly grated nutmeg

Chuck everything in a pot, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes. Strain and serve. (Or cool, chill, and microwave a cup at a time as needed!)


I am SO ready for the weekend! Can't wait until 6:00 tonight, when I can finally RELAX!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

on a budget

I'm sure you can all relate, but I was on a rather strict budget at the grocery store tonight -- $68 strict, to be exact! Between a couple of specials and two member discounts, I squeaked out of the co-op with everything on my list, plus a couple of small impulse buys (mac and cheese, a persimmon, a Naked Juice smoothie,) for $67.99! Couldn't have planned that if I had tried. :)


organic, local black beans
organic, fair-trade, locally roasted coffee
local, organic rolled oats
organic jasmine rice

sharp cheddar

local, organic garden veggie pizza
organic apple juice concentrate

kava root

non-GMO cornstarch
Crystal hot sauce
organic mac & cheese
organic medium salsa

organic broccoli
organic persimmon
organic green beans
organic cauliflower
organic eggplant
organic ginger root
local, organic yellow potatoes
organic mini sweet peppers

two packages organic three-grain tempeh
organic flour tortillas
Watermelon Chill "Naked Juice"


Happy almost Friday!

Monday, December 01, 2008

stumbling upon deliciousness

I had planned on making spaghetti for dinner last night, until I remembered that I had picked up a package of tofu and a package of tempeh at the co-op last Wednesday. I began flipping through VCON, until I found not one, but TWO recipes for tasty deliciousness that I had all of the ingredients for!
Hot-Sauce Glazed Tempeh, with sides of Messy Rice (both recipes from VCON,) and sauteed mushrooms and chard. YUM.

I made a couple of substitutions in the tempeh marinade, including subbing veggie broth for the wine called for, and apple cider vinegar for the lemon juice called for. This tempeh was AMAZING! So flavorful, with an almost addictive tangy-spicy flavor. The rice was also spectacular, and very easy. (I did use brown rice, since I didn't have enough jasmine rice on hand, and increased the water a wee bit.) We both loved the citrusy-ness of the fresh coriander. Mmmmmmmmmm.

So glad I have leftovers for lunch today! I sense it's going to be a happy Monday, all things considered. :)