Monday, January 30, 2012

John's pie

Friday night, John and I were wandering through Byerly's, trying to figure out what we were going to make for dinner. (We settled on bruschetta and quiche, not necessarily related, but both tasty! And no photos, sorry!) John noticed that Friday is "pie day" at Byerly's, and half-pies were on sale. I managed to convince John NOT to buy a grocery store pie, in favor of homemade pie the following day. :)

Here's John's pie:

I used my great-grandma's recipe for piecrust, using a little bit more butter than shortening, and it turned out FABULOUSLY. Granny Smith apple filling, with plenty of cinnamon and nutmeg. Mmmmm. Must have been good, as there is only ONE piece left. And I made the pie on Saturday morning! :) Do you think I have enough willpower to save the last piece for the next time I see John? I'm not sure . . . !

And a couple more meals from the weekend --


We went ice skating on Saturday evening, and chili was the perfect post-skate, warming dinner. I have really been digging my "basic" recipe of late, containing little more than onion, garlic, bell pepper, minced mushrooms, chili powder, cumin, salt, diced tomatoes, beans, vegetable broth (or water,) and hot sauce. Plenty of toppings this time, including pepper jack, cilantro, green onions, and sour cream. (Chips and guac on the side, not pictured!)

And Pad Thai!

I augmented the recipe for "Brooklyn Pad Thai" from Vegan with a Vengeance by adding some shredded cabbage (and cutting back a wee bit on the noodles,) a couple scrambled eggs, and extra peanuts. Spicy-sweet-salty-tangy and delicious! I love Thai food.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

MORE tea.

Anyone who knows me well knows I need more tea like I need a hole in the head.

But, I just couldn't help myself . . .

I took it upon myself to try all three teas immediately, so I could provide you with a review. You know, taking one for the team and all. :)

Coconut Cocoa: This tea has a strong coconut flavor, with a subtle chocolatey-ness hiding in the background. I like this one quite a bit, but I would expect that if you weren't a huge fan of coconut, this wouldn't be a hit with you.

Red Velvet Chocolate: This is my least favorite of the three. Don't get me wrong -- it's a nice, quality, vanilla-y rooibos. But this fancy canister of tea doesn't taste much different than the ordinary vanilla rooibos I have on hand. A subtle chocolate aroma, but no detectable chocolate flavor, in my opinion. Bummer.

Peppermint Chocolate: This is excellent! Kind of tastes like an Andes mint, but not sweet, obviously. I might try this one again later with a bit of sugar, to see if it gets even better. :) P.S. This cup of tea was excellent with a teensie handful of white chocolate chips on the side . . . :)

My co-op doesn't seem to carry the Strawberry or Banana Chocolate teas . . . anyone out there tried either? Both sound amazing to me!

Do you impulse buy tea? Any other silly grocery impulse buys you care to confess?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

on a Tuesday . . .

. . . I received an email from John, stating that he was going to be in my neighborhood working all day, and did I want to get together around 5? Of course!

But wait . . . what's for dinner? I had plenty of leftovers, but not enough of any one thing for the two of us. Popping over to Target during my break for a few items was really the only option, right? I was pleasantly surprised that Target carries organic, whole-wheat pasta!

Bow ties with homemade mushroom marinara, and a "clean out the crisper" salad on the side:

And mixed berry crumble with a drizzle of heavy cream for dessert:

That bag of frozen berries has been lurking in my freezer positively for-EVER. It was great to use them up in something so delicious! John had two helpings; and I quote, "it's healthy, right? There's fruit!"

Monday, January 23, 2012

Weekend in food!

Meals from the weekend - whole wheat pancakes and breakfast sausages,



Saturday, January 21, 2012

Friday night pizza!

Team effort on dinner last night - I made the "veggie supreme," John made a much more creative pizza with caramelized onions, artichokes, apple, and Brie.
Leftover pizza for breakfast? Indeed. :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

one cannot live on eggs alone

I'm back! After a couple of long bus rides, (and a lot of nose-blowing . . . traveling with a massive head cold isn't much fun, let me tell you,) and some quality time spent with grandpa in the middle, it's good to be home. :)

John picked me up from the bus on Monday afternoon; by dinnertime, we were both massively hungry, but I was so sick and tired and cranky that I couldn't come up with anything that possibly resembled dinner. And I needed to hit the store . . . desperately. John's suggestion? "I'll make eggs."

There we go. Dinner/breakfast is served. :)

And, since one cannot live on eggs alone . . .

"French Lentil Soup with Tarragon and Thyme," from Veganomicon:

I stuck pretty tight to the recipe this time around, although I didn't use all French green lentils, as I wanted to use up the mixture of lentils I had on hand. So . . . the soup has a blend of green, brown, and red lentils -- and what an amazing soup this turned out to be! I also cut back on the salt a bit, as I thought it would probably be too salty as writ. (I think I was right, at least for my palate!)

I was due another baking project -- Apple-Molasses Spice Cake:

I cannot say enough good things about this cake . . . moist, flavorful, intensely-spiced, warm, and just plain cozy. A perfect "ordinary" dessert, in my opinion!

Last, rice bowls with peanut sauce:

This is one of those amazingly-tasty, super-healthy dinners that come together in seconds if all of the ingredients are prepped ahead of time. I cooked up a bunch of brown rice, fried up some tofu, prepped a bunch of veggies, and made a batch of peanut sauce from Vegan with a Vengeance. Ta-da! Pile it all in a bowl, re-warm (or not, if that's your thing,) and dig in. Mmmmmmm. Peanut sauce is the BEST.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

On the road again

I'm headed out of town this holiday weekend via the Megabus again, to visit family in the Madison area. Before dropping me off at the bus this morning, John made breakfast. More ridiculous eggs! Note that I burned the bagels; John folded the napkins. :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

cookie girl

It was my turn to take treats to church choir rehearsal this past Wednesday; thankfully, we don't have to "feed" 50 people on our own -- one always has a "treat buddy." The goal for "treats" is to have a somewhat healthy snack, and a somewhat junky snack. :) You like how we think? I emailed my treat buddy over the weekend and said, "I'm planning on baking cookies -- you ok with covering the healthy option?"

I'm always the cookie girl. I think I've earned myself a reputation.

I ended up clearing a few holiday baking leftovers from my cupboards, and ended up with knock-your-socks-off oatmeal cookies. Here's my basic recipe, which I feel, is the BEST oatmeal cookie in the WORLD. And I'm not exaggerating.

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt (depends on whether you used salted butter)
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups mix-ins

375 for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies.

Sometimes, short, simple, and sweet is the way to go, would you agree? Take a basic base and add incredible stuff, (I used the scraps and crumbles from my holiday toffee, dark chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, chopped pecans, and unsweetened coconut this time,) and you get . . . heaven.

I think I need a cookie for breakfast today. ;)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"don't take any of the brown ones"

Dinner last night was a team effort -- John came over after finishing a job on my side of town, (he lives in St. Paul,) and we made:

Black Bean and Chipotle Soup

(Topped with cilantro, diced avocado, and sour cream,)

And Buttermilk Cornbread:

(Note that I was worried about the 2/3 cup sugar called for in this recipe . . . but it wasn't too much, surprisingly. Balanced out the tanginess of the buttermilk nicely! Mmm.)

I made the cornbread, John chopped all of the veggies for the soup, and then we had to "hurry up and wait," as is the norm with soup. As we were dishing up our bowls and I was digging into the avocado, John said, "don't take any of the brown ones!" (It wasn't the best avocado; tasty, but visually a little unappealing.) I looked at him strangely and he continued, "don't you have to take a picture? Only take the pretty pieces." Well, okay then! :)

So let's see, here . . . he's a vegetarian, he does dishes, AND he's supportive of my slightly odd pre-meal photo-taking/post-meal blogging? I think he's a keeper. ;)

Monday, January 09, 2012

Ridiculous Eggs

I've been hinting at something . . . and here it is: I've found myself someone to cook breakfast for. :) Er, should I say, he cooks breakfast for me? John doesn't do much cooking to speak of these days, but he is a vegetarian, (which, oddly, is pleasantly refreshing -- I never thought it was a big deal, but it kind of is, I'm starting to realize), appreciates amazing and healthy food, and is awesome at making a few key things; eggs are one of his specialties. John makes what I have come to think of as "Ridiculous Eggs," not ridiculous in the "causing or worthy of ridicule" definition of the word, but rather, ridiculous in their absurd excess.


Saturday morning's breakfast: Ridiculous Eggs with onion, garlic, shallot, spinach, feta, and tomato. Pumpernickel toast with homemade strawberry jam on the side.

And, Sunday morning's breakfast:

More Ridiculous Eggs, this time with onion, spinach, tomato, avocado, parsley, cream cheese, mozzarella, and cumin. Mmm. I am pro-cumin in eggs, let me tell you! More toast with homemade strawberry jam on the side, but this jam was made by John's three-year-old cousin. I think she might have something on me in the jam-making department!

Even though part of me would like to try to eat eggs three meals a day, I know it would be a bad idea, ultimately. :) Dinners from the weekend:

Masaman curry, with tofu, red bell pepper, sweet potato, broccoli, mushrooms, and onions, all over short-grain brown rice.

A simple, yet delicious, pasta and salad dinner:

I sauteed a bunch of garlic in a bunch of olive oil, added some dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, and artichokes, and tossed the lot with hot pasta, parsley, parmesan, and goat cheese. This was kind of made up on the spot, and pretty damn awesome. Definitely worth repeating again in the future. :)

And, a giant salad for Sunday night:

Mixed greens topped with apples, fennel, walnuts, buttermilk blue cheese, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. A wedge of Wedge focaccia on the side. A delicious and reasonably healthy way to end the weekend!

And, don't forget dessert . . .

Lemon bars! We managed to take down the entire pan over the course of the weekend . . . ha!

Monday, January 02, 2012

the last

Here are the remaining two meals from my vacation that I haven't yet blogged about:

Curried tofu, roasted sweet potatoes, and an artichoke:

And . . . biscuits and gravy!

We whipped up a quick batch of buttermilk biscuits this morning, made the tempeh sausage crumbles from Vegan with a Vengeance, and folded them into a vegetarian version of "creamy gravy," from The Betty Crocker Cookbook. Holy hell, this was an awesome breakfast. I had to have some fruit on the side, though, as I couldn't justify a breakfast comprised entirely of fat, white flour, and protein. :) (And a walk around the lake to follow definitely helped!)

Let me just say . . . having someone to cook breakfast with is AWESOME. Especially when he does the dishes. :)

As I look at the last remaining minutes of my vacation, I wonder . . . where did the time go? I feel like I've been away from work for a LONG time, yet I'm somehow not quite ready to head back, you know? :) Time to start mentally preparing myself . . . 5:30 AM is going to come REALLY early tomorrow morning! Sigh. (But I am looking forward to seeing the kids!)

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year!

My New Year's Eve was filled with good food & good company ... and nothing else! Sometimes it's just good to take it easy at (someone else's) home, would you agree?

Feast your eyes on our feast: wild rice soup and popovers: