Wednesday, February 29, 2012

kids say the darndest . . .

I haven't had many of these posts recently, as my students are much younger with the new job I accepted in May, (16 to 33 months, to be exact,) and just don't talk as much! That's not to say we don't have plenty of laughs in the classroom, it's just . . . harder to explain them if you weren't there, you know?

Well, a couple of the older ones are talking more and more these days, and one of the toddlers has been talking in his sleep a bit over the past couple of weeks. Last week, he shouted out randomly during nap, while sound asleep . . .

"It's MINE . . . I want it!"

And today?

"Give it BACK!"

:) Oh, toddlers. (And least he's using his words!)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

so much for that hiatus

So much for my blogging hiatus. :) John cooked dinner on Friday night, and insisted I take a picture and blog about the meal he planned, shopped for, and prepared! I was forced to sit on the couch during dinner prep, and was not allowed to help at all. Being "lazy," especially regarding stuff in the kitchen, is challenging for me, but it was definitely nice to relax while someone else did all of the work!


"Tortellini with Nutty Herb Sauce," from The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook. This was a rich and flavorful pasta dish, that could have only benefited from a little lemon zest to wake things up, and maybe a green salad on the side to lighten things up. :) Well done, John!

(P.S. John kept calling this dish "pasta with creamy nut sauce." I shake my head.) :)

And here was breakfast this morning:

John requested cornmeal pancakes, and after an extensive internet search, we found a recipe that was . . . okay. The batter was far too thin, (I ended up adding quite a bit more flour,) and far too low-fat for my tastes, but I think I have a good idea of how I'd like them to be next time. :) We had a couple of Morningstar veggie breakfast patties on the side, and plenty of strawberries tossed with a little sugar and lemon zest on the pancakes. Delicious!

Here's what I think might make ideal cornmeal pancakes . . .

Dry ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups fine cornmeal
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

Wet ingredients:
2 cups buttermilk (2 tsp vinegar + 2 cups milk, which is what we used this morning)
1/4 cup oil
1 egg

Ideas? Input?

Monday, February 20, 2012

food, and a hiatus

First, in no particular order, here are some things I cooked or baked this weekend:

Chocolate Chip Cookies!

John had a potential tenant coming over on Saturday evening to look at a room he's renting out, and thought it would be good if the house smelled good. I suggested we bake something; after a quick trip to Target for flour, sugar, chocolate chips, and measuring cups, we made cookies! They were delicious, and the potential tenant took the room! Win win for all!

After John ate four cookies, we decided it was about time we made dinner, before cookies became dinner:

Swiss Chard with Chickpeas and Couscous is speedy, healthy, and almost always a hit. We used dried cranberries instead of raisins, (per John's request, as he's opposed to raisins almost always,) and I always reduce the amount of salt called for in the original recipe. Another hit!

Thursday night was a simple pasta and salad:

Homemade puttanesca sauce, sans anchovies, over bowties, with a "clean out the crisper" salad on the side. I even managed to use up some stale bread and made croutons! Delicious.

Sunday night pho:

Persuaded by a coupon, I decided to try Pacific Food's Vegetarian Pho Soup Base to make life a little easier this week. :) The boxed broth definitely made the whole homemade pho process speedier, and the broth is actually pretty delicious! My only complaint is that the broth is pretty high in sodium, and doesn't actually taste all that salty. John and I each added a few dashes of soy sauce to our bowls after our first couple of bites; processed food is always higher in sodium than homemade, and I guess that's a "hit" I'm willing to take in the future for speed and ease of meal preparation, at least in this case! What do you think? Have you tried any of the pho broths yet?

And now, it's time for a hiatus. Work is EXPLODING right now, and to top it all off, I'm taking an online class, which starts today! Really, really bad timing given how late I've been working these past couple of weeks, but I'm certain the class will be really good and I'll learn a lot. It's going to be weird . . . I haven't had reading assignments, lectures, and homework for YEARS! (Flashback!) Wish me luck staying on top of everything, and I'll be back when things slow down.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Breakfast repeat

The waffles were so good last week that we had to make them again this morning. :) The last of the breakfast sausages on the side, and a treat - raspberries! Please also admire John's "fancy" plates.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

getting caught up

In no particular order, here's what I've been cookin' up as of late . . .

In exciting kitchen-related news, I bought a waffle iron!

I've realized that the thrift store is a great resource for purchasing goofy appliances for my kitchen. I don't really need a quesadilla maker or mini-cupcake baker any time soon, (I was quite surprised by some of the kitchen appliances out there!) but the popcorn popper and waffle iron I've picked up recently have both been stellar finds on the cheap! I made a batch of "Amazing Overnight Waffles" from Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Cafe this past weekend, and they were as spectacular as I remembered. I spread mine with peanut butter and drizzled them with syrup, and enjoyed a few Breakfast Sausages on the side. I followed Vegan Dad's directions for maple-glazing the sausages this time, and I can't imagine NOT glazing sausages in the future. :) I still think the sausages could be a bit saltier and a bit spicier for my palate; I'll play around more with the recipe next batch.

I've been sick (AGAIN, ugh,) so John and I made some soup last Friday night:

Chickenless Noodle Soup, containing olive oil, onion, garlic, carrot, celery, vegetable broth, egg noodles, salt, and pepper. No more, no less, and it's downright perfect in its simplicity.

A somewhat fancy, healthy, impressive, yet speedy Monday night dinner:

Seitan in mole (using seitan I made late last week and mole from my freezer) over brown rice, with sides of sweet potatoes and chard. This also made a fantastic lunch leftover today! (Shout out to John for delivering my lunch to work for me today, as I forgot it in his fridge this morning! Double shout-out, as he included chocolate with the lunch delivery. :) I didn't realize we were celebrating Valentine's Day, but there you go! A lovely Tuesday surprise!)

Another weekend breakfast:

Eggs scrambled with onion, garlic, spinach, tomato, and feta, with a side of banana pancakes. Pancakes AND waffles in the SAME weekend? Hell yes.

Last, more soup:

Corn Chowder with Roasted Poblanos

with "Vermont Cheddar Bread," from AB in 5, on the side:

Consider me all caught up. :) Off to work through the leftovers!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

not too shabby

Here's what happens when John and I wander aimlessly through the supermarket, trolling for dinner supplies at 6:30 on a Tuesday night, feeling both hungry and tired:

Not too shabby, if you ask me! Stir-fry of rice noodles, onion, mushroom, carrot, sugar snap pea, and almonds, drizzled with a store-bought stir-fry sauce, augmented by some garlic and cayenne. Spicy-noodley good, even though the noodles stuck together en masse, and had to be carefully teased apart with two forks. Gotta love starchy-gooey rice noodles, eh?

Monday, February 06, 2012

weekend food recap

I'm lacking creativity this morning; I apologize for the bland and uninteresting post title. (My cat hates me, I think. I am so sleep-deprived!) Anyhow, I demonstrated much more creativity when meal-planning and cooking last weekend:

After a long, chilly, beautiful hike along the St. Croix on Saturday afternoon, a filling, speedy, delicious dinner was in order:

Breakfast burritos also make an excellent dinner! Sprouted tortillas stuffed with refried beans, cheese, hashbrowns, scrambled eggs, salsa, guacamole, and sour cream. Delicious.

Lunch Sunday was supposed to be dinner Saturday night, but we swapped meals due to hunger and speed of preparation. The lasagna was just as good the next day!

Whole-wheat noodles, homemade sauce, and a three cheese/spinach/artichoke filling became much more than the sum of its parts!

Dinner Sunday night was quick, easy, delicious, and consumed on the couch in front of a movie:

"Indonesian Sweet Potato and Cabbage Soup," from Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers. I love the sweet/salty/spicy/creamy/rich flavors in this soup so much!

Hope you had a wonderful weekend, too! (Although it really feels like a long time ago at this point . . . !)