Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge -- PIZZA!


This month's Daring Baker's Challenge was a recipe for “Pizza Napoletana” from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice. I've made a fair amount of homemade pizza in my life, but never used the overnight slow rise in the fridge trick -- and I was excited to try!!

The part of the challenge I wasn't excited about was a secondary requirement . . . we were encouraged to toss the dough up into the air, and get photo or video evidence of our tossing!! Although I was more nervous about the tossing aspect, that proved quite easy. Photographing with a digital camera with a significant delay, however, was more tricky! We had many outtakes:
But Dan was persistent and patient, and finally managed a shot with the dough mid-air:
(I think the look of restrained horror on my face is my favorite part!)

Although I have completed vegan DB challenges in the past, I did use real cheese (mozzarella, smoked provolone, and parmesan) for my pizzas this month. (Well, I just like cheese! I grew up in Wisconsin, after all.) To up the nutritional profile, I used half whole-wheat bread flour in the dough, and a wide assortment of my favorite pizza veggies!!

Artichoke, olive, and sun-dried tomato pizza:

Mushroom, onion, and garlic pizza:

Both pizzas, waiting to be devoured:

Verdict? Challenge Pizza was a success! I love the recipe, and it may be my go-to pizza recipe in the future -- the crust was thin and tender (opposed to my thick, dense, and bready crusts of the past,) and the recipe was a cinch to prepare. It could have been an overwhelming success, however, if I had invested in a pizza stone! I'm going to wait until I have a larger oven, to accomodate a large, rectangular stone, but boy, I can't wait to enjoy perfectly crisp, pizzeria-style pizza!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

the freezer meme

What's in my freezer?
Black beans, chickpeas, homemade marinara (hiding in back,) leftover soup, leftover chana dal, the bowl for my ice cream maker, a couple of Matthew's burritos, edamame, apple butter, minced fresh lemongrass, chipotles in adobo sauce, homemade waffles, a little rhubarb, a package of wonton wrappers, a blend of flours and flax for bread making, leftover frosting from my coteacher's birthday cake,, a box of very old baking soda, and
ice packs, breadcrumbs, ground flaxseeds, green peas, yeast, and the "fat can." (I haven't been using the "fat can," so I actually threw it out right after I took this picture. I just dump my leftover hashbrown-frying fat in the garbage these days.)

So . . . what's in your freezer?

a lighter load

Since I put off going grocery shopping last night, I had no choice today!! Fortunately, I didn't need quite as much stuff this week. The weekly haul:


local multigrain bread

locally roasted, organic, fair-trade coffee
organic rolled oats

local smoked provolone
local part-skim mozzarella

locally-made "tempeh tarragon" salad

two "Matthew's" frozen burritos

5-pack "Preserve" razor blades

quartered artichoke hearts
organic sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
organic tomato-basil pasta sauce
1 roll Seventh Generation TP
Seventh Generation dish soap
unbleached parchment muffin liners

NatraCare organic cotton tampons

organic bananas
organic pink grapefruit
local "Sweet 16" apples
organic Asian pear
organic Bosc pears
local, organic rainbow chard
local, organic bulk salad mix
local, organic cremini mushrooms
local, organic yellow potato

Naked Juice "Red Machine"


Happy Friday night, everyone!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

a few nice things

Another photo-free post today . . . twice in one week! Gah!

Anyhow, despite being extremely overtired and headachey off and on all day, a few nice things happened today:

1. I received an e-mail this morning from Jennifer Barney (of "Barney Butter" fame,) who read my post a couple of days ago and offered to donate a jar of her almond butter to my boss, given her recent dietary conundrum. (She also offered to send one to me!!) What a kind and generous person she must be! I'll letcha know how the Barney Butter is once it arrives. :)

2. I have another "Kids Say the Darndest . . . "

I was feeling VERY tired this afternoon, and asked a couple of my kids whether they thought I should go to the grocery store after work tonight, or just go home. One little boy responded immediately, "pizza delivery!" I don't know whether he knew how clever he was being, but it was sure funny!!

3. I decided to skip the grocery store tonight, in favor of Vietnamese take-out. When I declined the to-go container of fish sauce, the guy who was ringing me up said, "oh -- let me just go back into the kitchen and cut your egg rolls to make sure they are vegetarian." How thoughtful of him, and I didn't even say anything about being a vegetarian! (He earned himself a buck tip -- and I don't usually tip with takeout, unless it's for complicated espresso drinks.)

Nice to know that you can still kind of have a good day, despite personal circumstances!! :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

a couple of treats from this week

When we were at the Farmer's Market last weekend, I had a conversation with Dan that went something like this:

Dan: "Ooohhh . . . apple butter!"
Me: "Buy some."
Dan: " Nah . . . "
Me: "Why?"
Dan: "Eh . . . "
Me: "I'll make you some."
Dan: "OKAY!"

So, I made apple butter in my crock pot.
I didn't measure, but I peeled, cored, and chopped about 12 cups of apples and dumped them in the crock. I then added 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 cup agave. Cooked it on high for 1 hour, low for 12 hours, (left the lid cracked for the last 45 minutes so some of the moisture would cook off,) and, voila!
Yummy deliciousness. Some in the fridge for now, some in the freezer for later.

I also made cookies this week:
Oatmeal-Chocolate-Coconut-Almond Cookies:

Cream together:
1 cup Earth Balance (softened)
1/2 cup natural granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar

Stir in:
1 tablespoon EnerG whipped with 1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla

Stir in:
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa

Stir in:
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup unsweetened flake coconut
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Bake at 375 for 8 to 11 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies.

I'm going to have to take these cookies in to work tomorrow . . . they just keep hopping into my mouth!! :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

a call to arms!!

My boss has been on maternity leave for a while, and she stopped in today to visit. She was planning on coming back to work in a couple of weeks, but it looks like she is going to be out a little longer -- her daughter has been experiencing some health problems, due to some recently discovered severe allergies. My boss could choose to switch to prescription formula, but would like to continue breastfeeding, so she has to change her diet ASAP! She found out she has to cut out all dairy, including whey and casein, all soy, and eggs. She seems very frustrated and probably pretty upset -- I don't blame her! She also has had to start giving her daughter some formula to supplement her breast milk, because she's not getting enough calories right now (because she "can't eat anything,") to produce enough milk.

I gave her the following suggestions for getting her calories back up, while still fitting in with her current dietary restrictions:

~ Since she does eat meat, I suggested she switch to all grass-fed/organic/free-range meats, since many factory-farmed animals that are killed for their meat eat a considerable amount of soy, which may reside in the meat.

~ She does like to bake, and I mentioned she should be able to use canola oil or coconut oil (if a solid fat is called for, like in cookies) in most of her baking recipes in place of butter. I mentioned Ener-G as an egg replacement, (although I don't know whether it contains any soy.) I also mentioned she could use pureed avocado as an egg replacement.

~ I mentioned the coconut milk yogurts and ice creams that I've heard of lately on everybody else's blogs!

~ I suggested she start having daily smoothies with frozen fruit, juice, and hemp protein powder to get quick, healthy calories. I also suggested adding banana or avocado to smoothies for extra calories. She has tried rice and almond milks, and really likes the almond milk. She has also found chocolate sorbet, so she can make herself chocolate milkshakes!

~ I suggested adding peanut or almond butter to oatmeal for extra calories. Her doctor told her to avoid peanut butter, since many commercial nut butters contain dairy in some form. I suggested MaraNatha no-stir, since it has only a few ingredients, no dairy or soy, and tastes pretty close to commercial/conventional peanut butter, in my opinion.

Basically . . . my boss can't eat any processed foods! (She doesn't like to cook -- I told her she's going to have to start, right quick!) Since soy is in just about everything, she's going to have to switch quickly to a whole-foods based diet, so she has a better understanding of what's in her food.

So, here's the call to arms, food nerds! Did I miss anything in my suggestions to my boss?? Any ideas or suggestions you would offer her?? Any favorite recipes (remember -- quick and easy recipes) you want to pass along? Leave a comment or send me an email, and I'll compile all of our ideas for her over the next couple of weeks.

Thanks, everybody! I'm sure my boss will appreciate any help we can give her!

Monday, October 20, 2008

3-year-old cravings

No, not cravings that I've had for three years . . . and example of a 3-year-old's craving:

I was chatting with a couple of the little girls in my class before our school day was over, and we were talking about what we were going to do when we got home. One little girl asked me, "are you going to make dinner when you get home?" I said yes I was, and then asked them what they thought I should make for dinner. The other little girl shrieked excitedly,


I laughed -- and mentioned chocolate pie wasn't dinner, it was dessert, silly! Then we all laughed.


So, anybody have a favorite chocolate pie recipe? 'Cause now I'm craving chocolate pie.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

my weekend in food: a story

Dinner Friday night:
Pumpkin soup topped with roasted pumpkin seeds, salad with apples, fennel, fennel fronds, bleu cheese, toasted walnuts, and a simple balsamic vinaigrette, and bread on the side.

Vegan Creamy Pumpkin Soup:
Saute 1 cup onion, chopped, in 2 tablespoons nonhydrogenated margarine until the onion is soft. Add 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/8 tsp ground ginger, and 1/8 tsp ground black pepper and allow spices to toast for a few minutes. Add 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth, 2 cups pumpkin puree, and 1 tsp salt, and bring everything to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer the soup for 15 minutes. Puree soup with a stick blender, or in a regular blender in batches. Stir in 1 cup nondairy milk of your choice, and heat through.

Breakfast Saturday was simple enough -- peanut butter toast in a rush before I ran out the door for my shift at the store. I drank a Naked Juice smoothie during my shift, as usual. (They are a lifesaver!)

I met my friend Christine for lunch after work, and we headed over to Lucia's Bakery. I had a solo mushroom and onion pizza, some mixed roasted vegetables, and a pumpkin bar with cream cheese frosting. MMMMMMMM. Lucia's never disappoints! A wee bit pricy, but very much worth it.

Dinner Saturday night:
Dan and I worked together to prepare steamed brussels sprouts, garlic mashed potatoes, and Mediterranean-Style Baked Lima Beans, from VCON. I HAD to try this recipe, especially since my friend Courtney believes so strongly in it that she bought me a pound of lima beans with which to make it! And she's right . . . those are some DAMN tasty beans!

Saturday night baking project:
When I saw these on Diann's blog, I couldn't make them fast enough! I have always been intrigued by the combination of pumpkin and chocolate, but have found the texture of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies to be a little . . . off-putting? They always tasted like overly dry cake to me. (Blech.) Anyhow, I was so impatient to make these, in fact, that I couldn't wait until I had millet in the house to stay true to the recipe . . . I subbed a half-cup of Bob's Red Mill 10-grain hot cereal mix for the millet. They are FANTASTIC! Thanks for sharing your recipe, Diann!

There may have also been some "pull-n-peel" Twizzlers involved later Saturday night . . . Dan is a bad influence when it comes to candy!

Breakfast Sunday morning:
That's right . . . you get a close-up of one of those fantabulous pumpkin muffins, and they were just as delicious this morning as they were last night! Sliced local pear on the side. Not pictured: black coffee (of course.)

Mid-morning, Dan and I headed over to the Farmer's Market, to buy apples and a pumpkin:
We bought a nice-sized Jack-o-Lantern for carving (and seed roasting!) for only three bucks, and a bag of "UMN 1622" apples -- the University of Minnesota is always working on something in the apple department!
These tomatoes also caught our eye:
They are an heirloom called "sundrops." Aparently no acid, so they are super-sweet. We'll have to wait for them for a couple more days -- they don't smell ripe yet!

After the FM, I made brunch:
Same old, same old, but still delicious. Sauteed mushrooms added to the plates for a little change of pace.

Dan and I went to see the movie "W" this afternoon -- it was much better than I was expecting it to be, given the reviews. Bush, Bush, Bush . . . I realize this is a story told about him by someone else, but man . . . I shakes my head, I do!

We got out of the movie later than I had expected, so time for dinner was crunched short -- we ended up going out to a favorite local Mexican place, Salsa a la Salsa, even though I had originally planned on cooking. I ordered the vegetable tamales, which are smothered in a spicy green sauce, and accompanied by black beans and grilled veggies (on request -- typically, rice is the second side. But I love their veggies!) The service is always friendly, and tonight our server offered us a free sample of dessert! I was expecting a small sliver of cake to share, but no, she brought two nice-sized pieces of a limey cake/cheesecake layer treat, smothered in a deep red strawberry sauce. YUM! (She earned herself a very generous tip with the free dessert!) Ooohh -- I also had horchata.

I had a great weekend! Hope you did, too!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

the weekly haul

Finally, finally, FINALLY, I'm in town and have groceries in my house! This week's haul:
local multigrain ciabatta

organic "gold & white" flour
locally roasted, organic, fair trade coffee

local buttermilk bleu cheese
local sharp cheddar

DELI: (both items for dinner tonight)
local greek salad
local ginger pumpkin cake

organic raspberry juice concentrate

organic ground ginger
kava root

Bragg's liquid aminos
organic, fire-roasted, crushed tomatoes
organic garlic & cilantro salsa
red curry paste
1 roll Seventh Generation TP

local, organic broccoli
local, organic carrot
local honeycrisp apples
local, organic "luscious" pears
local, organic brussels sprouts
organic fennel
local, organic dinosaur kale
local, organic bulk salad mix
organic Italian parsley
local, organic cremini mushrooms
local, organic yellow onions
local, organic yellow potatoes
organic sweet potatoes
local, organic pie pumpkin
local, organic spearmint

Earth Balance buttery sticks
local, low-fat sour cream
Naked Juice "tropical-C" smoothie
local, organic plain yogurt
local, organic eggs


I can't WAIT to get back into my kitchen and do some cooking! The pie pumpkin is roasting as I type, and the "guts" are waiting to be picked through so I can roast the seeds. :) Yum. First, I have to find my kitchen underneath the mountain of dirty dishes, though. Maybe tomorrow morning I'll tackle those.

I'm pretty proud of myself this shopping trip, too -- over 55% of my purchases were local! WOO!

my favorite snack . . . for breakfast.

One of my all-time most favorite snacks EVER is an apple with peanut butter. Don't get me wrong -- I love summer's produce, but when apples are BACK in the fall, I get excited!! I crack open a new jar of no-stir, and spread away. Mmmmmm.

I decided to get a little bit creative with my breakfast this morning. Apple-cinnamon oatmeal is one of my most favorite things in the world . . . and I see people stirring nut butters into their oatmeal on a daily basis on many blogs . . . what about peanut-butter-apple oatmeal, I thought? I gave it a try:
HOLY HECK, this has been one of the best breakfasts ever! Rich and creamy from the almond milk and peanut butter, but with little bursts of tart apple throughout. Directions:
1. Combine 1 cup almond milk and 1 small apple, chopped, in a saucepan. Bring to a boil.
2. Stir in 1/2 cup rolled oats. Lower the heat and cook 5 to 8 minutes, until most of the milk has been absorbed, or until you reach your favorite thickness.
3. Stir in 1 small spoonfull of brown sugar and 1 spoonfull of peanut butter.


(It's almost Friday!! Woo! And it's grocery night for me, too!)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day 2008!

It's Blog Action Day, folks, and the theme this year is poverty. Poverty occurs in all parts of the world, with all types of people, and in my opinion, it is truly a shame. There are certain things (food, clothing, shelter, health care,) that I feel are basic human rights, and it just stinks that there are so many people that don't have accecss to these basic needs.

Soooo . . . what do I do about it? I work for an organization that tries to address poverty in my immediate community. I teach young children at a local nonprofit that serves low-income single mothers and their children. It is a residential program, so the families live on site. The children attend the early learning center, where I teach the 2- and 3-year-old class, while the moms work, finish college, and attend "life skills" classes. A full-scale attempt to break the cycle of poverty.

Recently, I read the bood A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby Payne. Payne proposes that poverty is less a lack of money, than a lack of many resources -- financial, as well as emotional, mental, spiritual, physical, support systems, relationships/role models, and knowledge of hidden rules. How does my organization help families develop resources in all of these areas??

FINANCIAL: We help families gain access to city/county resources from which they can benefit, (i.e., child care assistance, scholarships, WIC, etc.) and also require moms to attend a college, university, or training program that will prepare them for a good job with benefits. Moms enter our program earning on average $8 per hour, and graduate earning on average $16 per hour.

EMOTIONAL: All moms in our program must complete 32 hours of "Personal Empowerment" training, originally designed by Twin Cities RISE. All staff in the program complete empowerment as well, so we have a common "language" and understanding about how we interact and communicate.

MENTAL: Many of our moms wrestle with mental health issues. Our program helps them gain access to counseling/therapy and medications if necessary.

SPIRITUAL: Our moms are encouraged to pursue their spiritual interests, although our program does not have one spiritual focus. We are a non-denominational, secular program, although our "visionary founder" was a priest at the Basilica of Saint Mary, which is just a block away from our campus.

PHYSICAL: Again, we try to help our moms gain access to services (such as county/state health care programs) for themselves and their children that will help them maintain good physical health. Recently, an exercise program was started on campus, although it seems to have fizzled out for the time being.

SUPPORT SYSTEMS: Moms have lots of support while they are enrolled in the program, and we attempt to set them up for continued support once they graduate. Moms make deep friendships with one another while in the program, and many of these friendships become lasting. They are also able and encouraged to use the child development center once they graduate, so their children have consistency and they maintain a connection to the program.

RELATIONSHIPS/ROLE MODELS: Many of our moms are encouraged to participate in mentorship programs, and also find role models in staff of our program, as well as in each other.

KNOWLEDGE OF HIDDEN RULES: Payne spends a lot of time defining many of the hidden rules of poverty, of middle class, and of wealth. While she places no value on any one set of rules over the other, she recognizes that school and work (in the US, at least,) operate using the hidden rules of the middle class. She also notes that, as educators, it is our responsibility to teach the children with which we work the hidden rules of the middle class. Placing no value on any set of rules, I say "at school, we . . . " quite a bit. "At school, we use our words." "At school, we use our inside voices." "At school, we listen when the teacher is reading a story, and wait until she is done reading the page before saying anything." Etc. This is tricky and complicated, but possibly one of the most important things I do on a daily basis -- the kids I teach need to know the hidden rules of the middle class, so they can go out and be successful in school and work in their futures.


I strongly encourage anyone out there working to change families in poverty read A Framework for Understanding Poverty. Whether you are an educator, social worker, volunteer, etc., you (and your clients) can benefit from this information. What seems like common sense to us actually has to be taught to some, because it was not information, rules, or expectations that they had growing up. This Blog Action Day, let's gain a better understanding of poverty, so we can one day guarantee that every person in our wealthy world has enough to eat, clothing and shelter to protect them from the elements, and basic care to keep them healthy for a long life.

Monday, October 13, 2008

too short of a weekend

Dan and I were out of town again this past weekend -- he had a gig on Saturday night in Duluth, so we decided to make a mini-trip out of it, stay in a hotel, and take our time getting back to the cities on Sunday.

We had originally planned on taking a three-day weekend and heading up to Grand Marais, but Dan couldn't get today off from work. So, we made made the best of what time we had!

Sunday morning, we got up and decided to take a walk along Lake Superior. This lighthouse caught our eye, so we walked out towards it:
The famous Duluth "lift bridge:"
The lighthouse, up close:
Weak sun, dreary day:
As we were standing around the lighthouse, looking out into the water, we saw this in the distance:
And decided to brave the cold and wind and drizzle and wait for it to come in:
Going under the lift bridge (which lifts up for ships to pass under -- clever name, eh?)
After watching the ship come in, we walked along the lakeshore more, and listened to big waves rattle the rocks on the shoreline:

Cold and damp and hungry, we decided it was finally time for breakfast. We shared an omelette, hash browns, and some fruit at a favorite Duluth cafe/bakery -- Amazing Grace.

After debating our options for the afternoon, we decided to drive 40 miles north along the shore, check out the "fall colors," (since it was peak weekend, after all -- no wonder we had such a hard time making a hotel reservation!), and visit one of our favorite places on the North Shore -- Gooseberry Falls State Park.

The fall colors were, indeed, out in full force! We tried the Gitchi Gummi trail this time, new to both of us:


Although I think we are both glad to be back in town and not driving around in the car any more, (AND glad we're NOT travelling this coming weekend!), Dan and I were sad to leave the North Shore -- weekends are way too short! We still had lots of things we wanted to check out in Duluth that we just didn't have time for. We're already talking about taking a week next summer and fully enjoying the North Shore. Until then, we'll have to be satisfied by our mini-vacation!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

a little cooking

With all of this travelling, I have really been missing my kitchen! Egads. I did manage a little cooking/baking last night and this morning, though. Hooray!

Dinner last night:
Frozen artichoke and olive ravioli topped with jarred marinara, garlic toast, and a spinach salad topped with avocado, tomato, lemon juice, olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Quick and a bit lazy of me, but still healthy and delicious!!

Baking project today:
Rhubarb-Streusel Muffins! I had some sliced rhubarb in my freezer that was starting to get more than a little bit "icy," so I decided I better hurry up and use it up! I loosely followed the blueberry-streusel muffin recipe from Betty Crocker, but with more than a few changes based on what I had on hand. (i.e., no almond milk!) Recipe:

Beat together:
1 egg's worth of Ener-G whipped with 3 tablespoons water
1 cup whole-milk plain yogurt
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Stir in just until blended:
1/2 cup semolina flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup "vanilla sugar"
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Fold in:
1 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb

Scoop the batter into lined muffin cups. Top with streusel topping:
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
several dashes ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons Earth Balance, at room temperature

Bake 20 to 25 minutes at 400. Cool and enjoy!

Friday, October 10, 2008

groceries . . . finally!

With all of the travelling lately, there hasn't been as big of a need for groceries at my house. Sad, I know! But last night I did head over to the coop to pick up a few travel snacks, and a few things for easy meals the first part of this weekend:


organic "gummy cubs"

local "fiesta blend" edamame (edamame, corn, and red peppers)
organic, vegan ravioli

Stacy's "everything" bagel chips
1 roll Seventh Generation TP
organic almond Bumblebar
Rising Moon organic mac and cheese
organic pasta sauce

organic bananas
organic avocado
local honeycrisp apples
local, organic rainbow chard
local, organic bulk spinach
local, organic red potatoes
local hydroponic tomoatoes

watermelon chill Naked Juice
local, organic eggs (half-dozen)


I enjoyed the mac and cheese with the edamame blend mixed in last night for dinner, (there are some leftovers,) and we'll have ravioli, salad, and garlic bread tonight. Eggs, hashbrowns, and greens tomorrow morning before we head out of town again! (Whew!) Bagel chips, candy, the Bumblebar, and apples for trip snacks. More later this weekend, I hope!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Just say "NO" to fast food and gas station snacks!

Dan and I took a little road trip this past weekend, and I wanted to offer up some suggestions for how to say "NO" to fast food and gas station snacks when driving long distances!!


Dan and I left town Saturday morning with a small cooler packed with snacks and lunch. We were able to avoid gas station snacks by munching on the pretzels, trail mix, and jellybeans I picked up at the co-op, and avoided fast food on Saturday by enjoying our sandwiches and apples in the sunshine at a picnic table at a rest stop.


We went out for dinner with some friends on Saturday night, and let them recommend their favorite Thai restaurant, Sala Thai. Dan and I enjoyed delicious (but scalding hot) veggie potstickers and tofu soup to start, and I chowed down on one of my favorites, tofu pad thai, for my entree. YUM!

On our way back towards MN on Sunday, we went out of our way (by about 20 miles) to stop at The Cheese Factory Restaurant, located just off I-94 in Wisconsin Dells.
We've dined here only once before, since we don't get down to south central Wisconsin all that often. However, this is a restaurant worth going out of your way for! All totally homemade, all vegetarian (with many vegan options,) and about the friendliest wait-staff I've ever experienced.

Dan enjoyed the Hungarian Goulash again, served with sauerkraut and potato pierogies:

And I tried something new: crepes stuffed with sauteed leeks and carrots and a touch of goat cheese, sitting atop a gorgonzola cream sauce, smothered in cranberry relish and toasted walnuts. (This also came with a salad!)

Both of our plates were nearly licked clean -- all that was left was half a crepe that neither one of us could find room for. (Sorry, delicious crepe!)


So, what are your tips/ideas for eating healthy while travelling?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

relaxation in the kitchen

I decided to stay home from choir practice tonight because I don't want to share this yukky cough with anyone, (particularly the older folks in my choir,) because my voice is shot from talking with/at children all day long and from coughing, and also because I'm just plain exhausted. I figured I needed to take some time for myself and relax a little bit, especially since I haven't been sleeping all that well this week. (Oliver keeps jumping on me in the middle of the night. I think he is cold and wants to paw his way under the covers . . . I'm going to try putting the heating pad in his usual "spot" tonight and see if that keeps him out of my hair!)

So, I got home from work, made myself some dinner, ate, and thought about watching a movie. And then I thought harder about baking cookies. Crazy? Perhaps. But baking has always been very relaxing for me. Cookies it was.
Vegan Snickerdoodles! SOOOOOO delicious, and possibly one of the best vegan cookies I've ever made. Recipe:

Cream together:
1 cup Earth Balance (at room temperature)
1 1/2 cups natural granulated sugar

Whip until foamy, then stir in:
1 tablespoon Ener-G
4 tablespoons water

Whisk together, then stir in:
2 3/4 cups flour (I used a mix of AP, whole-wheat pastry, and spelt)
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Roll the dough into balls, then coat with cinnamon-sugar. Bake on parchment-lined cookie sheets at 400 for about 8 minutes. (If your oven is lousy like mine, make sure to rotate your sheets front-to-back halfway through the baking time.)