Friday, May 28, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

Sorry I've been MIA this week -- I have a huge backlog of food photos and hiking photos from last weekend to share, but have had NO time this week. Why? Well, my birthay is this weekend, and I've been busy preparing to celebrate!

I ended up making the vanilla cupcake recipe from VCTOW, and they were a HUGE hit with the kids! I don't think many of them have ever had a chocolate-covered strawberry before, either. :) Wahoo!

Dan and I are off for a little camping action this weekend; I'll be back next week with a slew of photos and other assorted fun!

Happy Birthday to Me!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

recipe ideas?

Hello folks. I need advice! The conundrum?

I don't really like cake. And I promised my kidlets at work cupcakes next week for my birthday. And they don't like chocolate! (Weird, I realize.)

Anybody have a foolproof, moist, delicious, yellow or white cake recipe? (Or lemon cake -- I think that would go over well, too.) I'm thinking of making cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, decorated with chocolate-covered strawberries, but I only have a good chocolate cupcake recipe. And that just won't do, I guess. :)

Any suggestions welcome!

Friday, May 21, 2010

more fast food

We've had a couple more superfast meals this week . . .

I never thought I'd be one to whip out a few homemade pita on a weeknight:

This whole falafel meal, including making the pita, came together in under an hour. Pita is definitely a weeknight bread, since it takes only about 5 minutes to bake . . . if you have Artisan Bread dough in the fridge already, it's even easier. Falafel mix from the bulk bin, some homemade yogurt-tahini sauce, and roasted green beans (from the FM) rounded out the meal. Yum!

Last night's dinner was even faster:

"Huevos Rancheros" has to be one of the fastest, easiest, protein-est meals on the planet, and it's mighty tasty, too, in my opinion. Whole-wheat tortillas, canned refried beans (GASP!), a little leftover shredded cheese, fried egg, diced avocado, and a little leftover sour cream rounded things out. Extra veggies are always a must, so side salads were an easy choice. YUM. I want this for breakfast again today, but unfortunately, we're out of eggs. :(

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

finders, keepers.

You are NEVER going to BELIEVE what I found today:

Yesssss . . . that's about a half-pound of what I am fairly certain are true morels. I spent some time looking online, and it seems as though there are two clear differences between true morels and false morels -- true morels are completely hollow (while false morels are solid/dense throughout the cap and stem,) and the caps of true morels are attached to the stem (while the caps of false morels hang over the stem.)

Oh yeah . . . where did I find them? AT WORK. ON THE PLAYGROUND. Near the fence, poppping up from a pile of dead leaves, under a dying (what we believe is an ash) tree.

Who knew you could find morels in the middle of the city? :)


what to do?

Since my typical work hours are 9 - 6, I usually get up around 7 AM.

What do you do when the neighbor's dog across the street starts barking at 5:45 AM and doesn't quit? EVER?

Give up on going back to sleep, and make waffles. I had three for breakfast -- one with maple syrup, one with sweet potato butter, and one with raspberry jam. Numbs the pain just a little bit.

Happy Tuesday. :)

Monday, May 17, 2010


We've had a couple of superfast meals these past two nights!

Sunday night:

Whole-wheat pasta tossed with leftover homemade marinara and a grate of parmesan was ready in a jiffy; the artichokes took longer, but that was largely inactive time. (Like, we went to Target while the artichokes were gently steaming away.) Yum! Fast!

Tonight's dinner might have been even faster:

I started the potatoes as soon as I got home from work, and browning the bbq tempeh (set to marinade yesterday) and tossing the broccoli slaw took almost no time at all. Yummier! Faster!

What are some of your favorite speedy meals?

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Have I ever told the story of "toe-FOOD?" Well, it's a short one, but funny.

The kids at my old job didn't quite hear me the first time I said, "tofu," and they heard it, "toe-FOOD." So, forever from that point, they'd ask me, "do you have toe-FOOD for lunch today?" :)

(The other mispronunciation that was hilarious was "shush-ee." You know, seaweed wrapped around rice and veggies?")

Anyhow, I must have been hungry for "toe-FOOD" this past week, because we ate a TON of it:

"Brooklyn Pad Thai," from Vegan with a Vengeance:

Tofu coconut curry, over brown rice:

Asian noodley soup, with tofu and too many veggies:

I did also manage to throw a little variety in there, mostly this past weekend . . .


Beans and Rice:

Tucked safely away in the fridge for lunches this week. We never seem to get sick of beans and rice prepared in my super-secret way! (Super-secret? Nah. Pretty much everything you see in that picture, plus a jar of prepared salsa. Shhhhhhh! Don't tell!)


We had our annual "girls night in" last night, and we simplified this month by just doing dessert and tea. I made the "Vanilla-Yogurt Pound Cake," from Veganomicon, and topped the slices with vanilla ice cream (not pictured) and sliced strawberries tossed with a drizzle of agave. YUM!

Sigh. Must go find my kitchen under a mountain of dirty dishes! I leave you with a cat-in-a-box:

good guy

Due to Oliver's "craziness" lately, we've been trying to get him on more of a schedule for feeding, playing, etc. It seems to be working best feeding him at 7 AM and 7 PM -- he doesn't wake us up in the middle of the night begging for food any more, and between that and the medication, his over-grooming has gone down some.

Downside? I have to get up at 7 AM (well, more like sometime between 7:15 and 7:30, when I hear a pathetic meow,) to feed Oliver.

I've been pretty sleep-deprived lately; Dan had a true "good guy" moment this morning. Oliver let out one pathetic little yelp; Dan hopped out of bed without saying anything, fed him, and came back to bed. I got to go back to sleep! Yay! And I slept until almost 8:45. (This is a HUGE accomplishment for me! I usually can't sleep past 7:30.)

Thanks, hon!

Off to church in a little bit, and then I'm going out for brunch with a friend and for a long bike ride. Enjoy your Sunday!

Sunday, May 09, 2010


A few treats to share . . . !

Dan's parents brought us a couple of treats from their extended stay in South Carolina this spring:

Hel-LO sweet potato butter! I tried really hard to convince myself to wait on opening this jar, since we have 3 or so jars of homemade jam/apple butter littering up our fridge right now. I made it about a day and a half, before I finally cracked the seal:

Oh my. SO good. (The other piece of toast has homemade raspberry jam -- we haven't opened the mango pepper jelly yet.) I want to eat about 15 pieces of toast with sweet potato butter right now, but I'm full from dinner. Thanks for the treat, Pat and Sandy!

Speaking of dinner . . .

OH YES. Courtney and I went to Costco this afternoon, and I procured a package of four GIANT artichokes! MMMMMM. Also included in the meal were sauteed morels and asparagus, over local lemon-pepper fettucine. (There were some shallots, thyme, and parsley in there as well!) This was one treat of a dinner.

And dessert?

Organic strawberries from California, conventional blackberries from Mexico, but well, sometimes it's hard to resist beautiful berries! (And I couldn't BELIEVE the price on the blackberries at Costco!) I piled my berries over a scoop of vanilla ice cream; Dan ate his straight up. Deeeeeeeeelicious!

William O'Brien State Park

Whoops! Never posted pictures from our hike last weekend. Better late than never, right? Here's a few from William O'Brien State Park:

After exhausting ourselves on the trails, we stopped by the lake to enjoy our picnic supper (sandwiches, fruit, chips and salsa, pickles, and cookies.) Food always tastes better outside, doesn't it?

On our way home, we popped in the candy store in Stillwater, leaving with a blueberry truffle for Dan, a chocolate-covered mint Oreo for me, and a pound of saltwater taffy! Wee sugar!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

just busy.

Hello there! Yeah, I haven't posted much, and I haven't cooked much. Dan's out of town this weekend, and I was SO busy this morning, I feel like I've already put in a full day! What was I up to?

1. I took Oliver to a veterinary dermatologist in Eden Prairie for a consultation at 8 AM. He's been working hard at licking all of the fur off his belly for about a year now, and recently he's moved on to his legs as well. $214 later, we have a prescription for "Clomicalm," since we believe Oliver's over-grooming is psychosomatic/stress related. (He's always been a very anxious meowza.) Wish me luck giving him a pill every day! I'm thinking hiding it in 1/4 tsp of ice cream might make things easier????? Maybe?????

(The Clomicalm wasn't that expensive -- the visit and tests were most of the cost. Thank goodness!)

2. After safely returning a pretty pissy kitty to the apartment, I went to the Farmer's Market, Kitchen Window, Penzey's, Bill's Imported Foods, Shuang Hur, and finally, the Wedge. We're $200 poorer in our grocery budget, but well-stocked with fun things like morels (!) and asparagus and inexpensive tofu and lemongrass and pistachios and dried peaches and dried strawberries.

I'm such a food nerd -- I can't believe it took 6 stops to get the shopping done. :)

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Incredible Hulk Soup

There really should be more emerald green soup out there, shouldn't there?

"Cream of Spinach Soup," from Moosewood Cookbook. I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly this soup came together, (I washed and stemmed the spinach last weekend, which helped a ton,) and it had a nice, comforting, healthy green flavor, but not overpoweringly so. I did add a tiny splash of white wine vinegar to brighten it up, but I think I'd add the juice of one lemon next time, instead. The vinegar didn't have enough acidity or flavor for me!

Dan commented while eating dinner last night, "I feel myself getting healthier with every bite." He also noted that this probably wouldn't be a soup you'd easily feed to kids; my reply, "well, unless you called it 'Incredible Hulk Soup!'"

Would it work?

***UPDATE: Ok, so I took a bowl of this soup to work with my lunch today, and almost all of the kids wanted to try it. More importantly . . . all but TWO of them loved it! Most of them said the soup tasted like "green potatoes," whatever those are! :)

Sunday, May 02, 2010

weekend eats and baking projects

Did a little baking today . . .

trail mix cookies:

I made my usual oatmeal cookies, adding a ton of leftover trail mix that was languishing in our fridge. Fantastic! Lots of flavors, textures, and colors in these babies.


The usual, made with a few cashews this time. Yum!

And, a few meals . . .


I made a few cucumber, avocado, and asparagus rolls for myself, and since Dan bought himself a small piece of sushi-grade fish, he was a happy camper, too!

Beans and Rice:

Plated, with some roasted asparagus:

I can't believe how long it's been since I've made beans and rice, and Dan and I both agreed it's been too long! So yum.

Stay tuned for a few pictures from the hike we took on Saturday afternoon. Hope you had a good weekend, too!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

oldie but goodie

An oldie but a goodie that I haven't made in ages -- Sloppy Lentils!

I tweaked my recipe a wee bit this time, and it turned out wonderfully! I think I've really nailed the flavor you'd look for in a traditional sloppy joe. Sides of roasted sweet potatoes and roasted broccoli, and that ever-important pickle, rounded things out.

Here's my recipe, in case you're curious:

Saute together:
1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, (or 1/2 large,) minced
1 green pepper, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning

Add, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer 40 - 45 minutes:
15 ounces no-salt added tomato sauce
1 cup apple juice
1 cup green lentils (the "ordinary" kind)

When the lentils are almost done, add and continue simmering:
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp (approx.) salt

Serve on whole-wheat buns or stuffed in pita. Mmmm!

What are some of your "oldie but goodie" greatest hits?