Category Archives: baking

Drunk on Brownies

It’s a heat wave!

I think I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel that is the deep-freeze of January and February. It reached 30* today, and isn’t supposed to be below 20* (during the day) all week.

I am a happy girl.

Who had a wonderful ride on a happy pony.

Life is good.

And so is BBQ spinach and tofu.

My white balance, however, is not so good. Just pretend otherwise for the time being, m’kay? Please?

So remember how I’ve been saying I was now only going to buy the Vermont Soy tofu that I’ve proclaimed my love for?

Well, I guess I lied. For the sake of convenience (as well as the fact that I’m cheap and had a $1 off coupon thanks to the heads-up from Matt) I picked up some Nasoya Plus on my shopping-trip-gone-wrong yesterday.

I’m not gonna lie. I think I’m a Vermont-Soy-only kinda gal. Nasoya just doesn’t hold a candle. I’m not sure if I’m just spoiled or what. But the Vermont Soy tofu is so much easier to work with. I’m not sure that the taste is a huge difference, but at least I don’t need to press it for about five hours with my body weight in paper towels. And it gets a better “crust” and has a better texture all around. I’ll step off my soapbox now. One last thing, though, since every story has a moral…

Moral of the story: Vermont Rawks.

But I made do with what I had.

I hate to make a big deal out of a sandwich, but this simple combination is stupid good. And with it having a combination of onions and enough garlic to kill a cow, it lets you see who really enjoys your company enough to still hang out with you after eating it.

For one sandwich:

  • 1/4 of a small yellow onion, sliced
  • olive oil, for sauteeing the onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 “serving” (a.k.a. however much you want) tofu
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • hefty handful spinach
  • 1-3 t. barbecue sauce, to taste
  • 2 slices bread
  • earth balance/butter/whatever for grilling the bread

For maximum efficiency, you can do everything pretty much all at once: preheat a small pan over medium heat, adding enough oil to thinly coat the bottom of the pan. Add the onions and sautee, stirring occasionally, about 7-8 minutes, or until golden brown/beginning to get carameliz-y. Or just a little burnt if you’re like me…anyways. Meanwhile, preheat another large pan or griddle over medium heat. Place the tofu on the pan and spread a little earth balance/butter on one side of each of your slices of bread. Add to the pan with the tofu. Cook the tofu until it gets a little bit of a crust on it, and the bread until golden.

When the onions are done, transfer to a dish and add the spinach and garlic to the same hot pan. Cover and allow to wilt, stirring in the BBQ sauce. Once good and sloppy (trust me, it will be) assemble your sandwich by layering the onions on top of the bread, followed by the spinach and then the tofu.

After eating this, you’ll be a greasy grimy mess, but you’ll still have the satisfaction of knowing it’s really not all too greasy and definitely not grimy.

And because I wanted to be really stinky when I start sweating tomorrow, I decided to polish off the day with onion rings in which I used garlic salt in the breadcrumbs instead of regular salt.

And thanks to L, I even had real breadcrumbs to complete this mission with! I was as happy as a kid in a candy shop.

Who’d-a thought this turned out to be way easier than crushing a bunch of pretzels.

Oh, and by the way – cutting that onion totally reduced me to tears. I have been so sensitive to cutting onions lately. I don’t remember always being this way but I guess I should just be happy that I’m getting pretty skilled at slicing onions with my eyes clenched shut. I even got them nice and evenly sliced!

I’m kidding.

I am now proclaiming myself an onion ring fiend.

It’s just a shame I can’t find them this good anywhere else.

Badoom-chh!

Luckily for you guys, this is a recipe that Isa chose to share on her website.

Second on the plate: no, I will never tire of sweet potatoes.

I’d call it a rut, but I prefer to call it a groove.

That gross looking yellow plop?

Curry hummus. Oh kale yes I went there.

I can’t take the credit for this genius, though – I saw it whilst flipping through Eat, Drink and Be Vegan. I did simplify it, though:

  • 1 can chickpeas (I used a 19 oz. can which I think is a little larger than most?)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 t. curry (the curry powder I have is a sweeter curry, I think. I’m not a curry connoisseur, though.)
  • pinch salt
  • hefty pinch dried chives
  • handful raisins

Drain the chickpeas, reserving the liquid in a cup or bowl. Add all ingredients except raisins to processor. Blend until smooth, adding in the reserved liquid as necessary. At the end, add the raisins and pulse a few more times to combine.

The “reserved-chickpea” trick is from Appetite for Reduction. I am a cookbook fiend lately, obviously.

By the way, try to stop eating this by the spoonful after your tenth spoonful straight from the processor. It’s really good on sweet p’s or onion rings and does deserve to show you that.

And since I was on a pieces-parts theme for dinner, tofu also made an appearance. Kind of.

Most of it was eaten before it made it to the plate. Sorry. I was waiting for the onion rings to finish cooking and it was right there! I couldn’t resist.

I followed the concept of this recipe for the ‘fu, but basically just reduced it to a combination of cashew butter, lime juice, salt, pepper and dijon mustard. It needed a hint of honey, but was otherwise just as good.

Rounded out by a spot o’ wine.

Okay, so maybe not quite. This cabernet brownie was in the Foodzie box I received yesterday. As you know, I’m usually saying I’m not a brownie person, but lately I’ve come to appreciate chocolate rather than feel it’s overrated.

See guys, there’s still hope for me!

I was surprised to discover I actually really liked it! Probably because it uses a weird flour. I’m a sucker for any  kind of different flour.

Like most things like this, though, it was so sweet after a couple of bites! Mreh, well.

At least if you have it you can say your drunk on brownies, whether you are or not. It’s got a ring to it, don’t you think?

What’s a simple sandwich combination that you love?

*****

DON’T FORGET! You have until tomorrow to enter my giveaway!!

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Filed under baking, chickpeas, cooking, curry, dessert, dinner, food, foodzie, healthy living, hummus, indian, lunch, recipe, sandwich, sweet potato, tofu, vegan, vegetarian

Scrambling

I am loving reading everyone’s requests for winning the baked goods! Seems like the lemon poppyseed cookies and birdseed bars are in high demand 😉 Keep on piling in those entries!

***

I don’t think whatever that sickness I had yesterday had much of a chance…in fact, I think I effectively slept it off. Between dozing all morning yesterday and sleeping until nearly 8:00 this morning, I was good to go today. I woke up still a little “bleh,” but ate something and took 875% of my d.v. of vitamin C and I was feeling better already.

I actually received this sample along with my iHerb order, and I figured there was no day better than today to use it. Yes, that is 525 mg of vitamin C per serving, and yes, that does equate 875% of my daily value of the stuff.

I was a little worried I was going to turn into a clementine or something, but I’m still alive. Even better than alive, dare I say.

Maybe this was the reason why I felt so good all afternoon? It’s probably just coincidence, but oh well 😉

Good enough to go grocery shopping, even!

…unfortunately, I would have been better off at home. Ugh, $60? Really? I am so upset because I didn’t need to spend that much. In fact, I had just cashed a check for $45 an intended to spend no more than that.

I decided to just go to Price Chopper (from here on out to be called “The store which shall not be named,” AKA TSWSNBN) rather than Hannaford (closest thing I have to a Whole Foods around here, though I’m thinking it’s less expensive from what I hear) because of the whole convenience thing. TSWSNBN = 5 mins away, Hannaford = 1 hour away. It’s convenient if I’m in the area because of work/going to see Teddie, but not on a day like today.

Anyways. I get there and start cringing at the produce prices, but shrug it off thinking “I didn’t spend any gas money to get here at least.” and carry on. Note I pretty much just buy produce that’s on sale. If you can call it that.

Not only that, but they were out of just about everything I needed – most imperatively, dates.

I almost started crying when the stock-boy told me they were sold out. My lip started quivering and I had to breathe deep, but luckily I spared him the waterworks. And moved on to wanting to hit him over the head with the chopped dates he suggested I get.

You know you’re a date addict when you move from feelings of despair to ones of extreme anger.

Not only that but all their produce was on its outs, they didn’t have any old fashioned rolled oats unless I wanted to buy them in the tiniest container possible for $4 and I bought a moldy yucca.

So basically, I have to go to Hannafords and/or the co-op sometime soon anyway. And had I known that from the get-go, I just plain wouldn’t have wasted my time and money there today.

UGH! Okay, rant over. Onto happy things.

Like banana scrambles.

Oh hail yes. I feel better just looking at that. Don’t you?

It’s like food therapy.

See, the other option for breakfast the other morning was a banana scramble, but the French toast had the louder scream.

When I saw Jenny suggest a banana scramble on that very post, I knew it was fate. I had to try one, once and for all. I might start cheating on my pancakes for these babies, too.

But oyu know what I haven’t had in a while?

Anything gingerbread. I’m assuming this has been done already, since it is gingerbread and all…but here’s how I did it:

Gingerbread Banana Scramble

adapted from The Edible Perspective’s Cinnamon Banana Scramble

  • 1/3 c. quick oats
  • 1 T. oat bran
  • 1 t. chia seeds
  • 1-2 T. milk
  • 1/2 of a large banana
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/8 t. ground clove
  • 1/8 – 1/4 t. ground ginger
  • 1/4 t. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 – 1 t. molasses
  • pinch of maple sugar

Mash the banana with the oats. Mix in all remaining ingredients and then form into a patty with your hands. Place on a pre-heated, greased pan and cook until golden brown on both sides. Top with peanut-ginger sauce.

Peanut-Ginger Sauce

  • scant 1/4 c. peanut flour
  • 1/2 – 1 t. molasses
  • 1/2 t. maple syrup (or to taste)
  • pinch ground ginger
  • heavy pinch ground cinnamon
  • 2-3 T. milk

Whisk together all ingredients, starting with just 1 T. milk and adding more to get to your desired consistency. Check for sweetness, adding more maple syrup as your taste buds call for it 😉

The only thing that would have made this better would have been having it between French toast. Too bad I was out of bread :[

But naturally, when new obsessions are born, they do not die quickly. As a snack post-workout, I decided more were necessary as an almost-lunch-but-not-quite.

On a note unrelated to banana scrambles, I think this was when I realized I might be more of a “late morning” workout kinda gal. I’ve never given myself the chance to workout anytime other than mornings, before starting my day. I felt like my mind was so much more in it today, though.

Maybe I was just high on Vitamin C, though.

In keeping with my almost-tradition of making just about everything either gingerbread or carrot cake, though, these ones were carrot cake.

I die.

Carrot Cake Banana Scrambles

adapted from the Edible Perspective’s Apple Scramble

  • 1/4 c. quick oats
  • 2-3 T. applesauce
  • 5 shredded baby carrots (do you find it funny to imagine me shredding poor little baby carrots?)
  • 1 t. chia seeds
  • 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. ground nutmeg
  • pinch ground ginger
  • 1/2 T. shredded coconut
  • pinch maple sugar
  • 2-3 T. milk

Combine all ingredients, adding in more milk as you see fit. Carefully form a patty (or two) and place it on a preheated, greased pan. Cook until golden on both sides.  Serve and top with peanut-carrot sauce, coconut, carrot, pecans and molasses.

Peanut-Carrot Sauce

  • scant 1/4 c. peanut flour
  • 1 shredded baby carrot
  • 1/2 t. maple syrup (more or less as desired)
  • 2-3 T. milk

Whisk all ingredients together, adding milk 1 T. at a time until you reach your desired consistency.

I think this one would have been ever better with a banana instead of applesauce, just to add a little bit more sweetness to the carrots. I didn’t really want to go on three bananas today, though. What can I say?

What else happened today? Well, naturally I made more bread. Do I even need to say I love Sarena’s bread anymore? It’s probably engrained in everyone’s brains already.

I made this loaf with 6-grain flour that I’d almost forgotten about, adding in a little Vital Wheat Gluten to make up for the heavier flour.

You know bread is good when you can eat it plain without even toasting it.

I made Chelsey’s granola and burnt all the raisins.

Luckily, I don’t mind the occassional taste of char. You probably think I’m being witty right now but I’m totally serious.

Ironically, I also had to make it with quick oats. The whole reason I wanted to get rolled oats at the store was so I could make granola. My heart was dead-set on making granola though, so I didn’t give up. It worked better than I thought it would!

Aaand lastly – sausage and peppers and a baked sweet potato.

You know what I realized? I don’t think I like green peppers anymore.

And also: Jenn’s method of baking a couple sweet potatoes at a time (in the oven) for grabbing one on the fly, totally works. I baked this one when I baked one for last night, and after reheating in the toaster oven, it was just as good as if it were fresh out of the oven. It’s a great trick if I’m craving a sweet potato for work the next day since it takes an hour in the oven and I now flat-out refuse to microwave-bake my taters.

What are your time-saving techniques?


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Filed under baking, banana, banana scramble, breakfast, carrot cake, chia seeds, coconut, cooking, dates, dinner, food, healthy living, molasses, oats, recipe, seitan, sweet potato, vegan, vegetarian

Plagued

You can take one look at my breakfast and know something was up:

Strawberry-Banana So Delicious yogurt with protein powder, banana, chia seeds and a bran muffin.

What’s cool and soothing for a scratchy throat?

Yogurt.

Yep. My condition deteriorated rapidly last night, and I had to resort to crawling in bed, hardly able to breath, at hardly 8:00. This was difficult for me because the Bs were playing the Habs last night – always a good game.

My efforts to fall asleep early were a bit of a joke, however, as I intended to watch the game as I dozed. When you hear things like “Score!” every 30 seconds and then announcers excitedly narrating fights, going to bed early just isn’t a priority anymore.

I suppose combining a bran muffin with strawberry-banana yogurt is a bit odd...but luckily I couldn't taste much anyway.

I just knew I was going to wake up with a scratchy throat and a pounding head, and I did.

I kept telling myself I deserved to get sick for once, after dodging all the illnesses that float around my workplace. Missing out on swine flu is my proudest moment, you know.

Luckily (if you can call it that,) I think it’s more of a pesky sinus-y type thing that I’ve got. I slept just about all morning, and finally started to feel somewhat normal after lunch. I’ve got a little bit of a headache still, but I think I’ll make it 😉

Let us not forget the reds 8000 I chugged this morning.

Extra precautions.

So it seems a lot of people, when they are sick, lose their appetite.

I am the exact opposite.

In fact, all that is appealing to me is just eating more in efforts to make swallowing less painful.

Carrots, hummus and applesauce were all of equal importance today.

Not together, obviously. But I think I ate a whole bag of carrots and a good cup of hummus as well as many bowls of applesauce. What can I say?

And when I began to realize I wasn’t going to die from the plague like I initially thought I was, I realized I was a-okay to get some baking done. I took extra precautions to make sure the baking wasn’t infected, I promise.

Remember my Birdseed bars?

I baked some up for a certain someone, but tweaked the recipe again. This might be my favorite version yet! I love how the “bar pans” (mini loaf pans) allow each bar to get crispy edges, too.

I kept it simple for dinner though, as I was beginning to feel a little lethargic again. It’d been a while since I had a baked sweet potato though, and I decided one was imperative to my well-being.

Luckily, I had just read Mandiee’s mention of the magical numbers: 425* for 45 minutes. Remember that. Don’t ever forget it. It is the key to ooey, gooey sweet potatoes. There will be no more haphazardly throwing sweet potatoes in the oven at a temperature anywhere from 400* to 450* from me.

Paired with a hummus-quinoa casserole idea taken from Vive le Vegan. I just layered cooked quinoa, then a mixture of hummus and tomato sauce and then some roasted veg.

I bet you guys didn’t know that I love frozen peas. I don’t eat them frozen, obviously, but I think they’re the one vegetable I’d rather have from frozen than from fresh. Probably because the fresh ones are so much work and I can be kind of lazy…but whatever.

What’s your favorite “sick food”?

Is there any food you prefer packaged/frozen/what-have-you over fresh?

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Filed under baking, breakfast, carrots, casserole, chia seeds, cooking, dinner, food, healthy living, hummus, sweet potato, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian

Note to Self…

This morning, hardly awake:

First thought – DKM. Dropkick Murphys. YES! That was it! go back to sleep.

Second thought – Bran muffins. I want some bran muffins. go back to sleep.

Third thought – I think I’ll sleep in today. I’m a little tired and it looks crappy out so I probably won’t be going anywhere anyway. shut eyes.

Fourth thought – The phone would ring immediately after I declare I’m sleeping in, wouldn’t it?

_________________

So, basically I must have been driving myself crazy in my sleep because I still hadn’t thought of what DKM was before I went to bed. There were a couple bloggers who guessed it [e-mail me to redeem your prizes], which just made me laugh and remember waking up with “Shipping Up to Boston” in my head moments earlier.

And no, it’s not just because of the Bruins that I love that song. I mean, just listen to it. First thing in the morning, preferably. And do some Irish jigs around your butcher block in the kitchen while preparing your breakfast.

In a leprechaun hat, preferably.

Not that I would know anything about any of that scenario.

I would know something about flaxy French toast, though. So I’ll talk about that, instead. I’ll leave it to your own imaginations as to whether I was tap dancing around my kitchen while making this, though.

 

Being that I looked out my window and saw this yet again:

Really wet, heavy snow. Read: Sloppy and slippery. House arrest once again.

I decided to make something a little more time consuming for breakfast. I have pancakes down to a science so I can make them quickly in the morning, which carries over to mornings when I have more time, too. Having nowhere to go, I decided to put a little more thought into breakfast this morning.

I’ve been wanting to make French toast for a while now, but wasn’t sure if the mini slices would be enough for keeping me full. Today, I knew I’d be home all day. Worse comes to worse, I eat an hour later, right?! Surprisingly enough, it was difficult for me to finish it all! Don’t worry, though – I took one for the team and did.

Yes, it really is possible to get that same French toast texture without eggs! Making it with flax sounds strange at first, I admit. I mean, I think I was legitimately grossed out when I first heard of it, so I don’t blame you if you are, too.

But I mean, really. Have I ever lied to you? -insert shifty-eyes here-

Buttering/Earth Balancing your pan is critical to making any sort of pancake or sandwich – and French toast is no exception. You don’t need a lot, but you can’t even compare the flavor to that and just using non-stick spray.

And please, no need to be “neat” about it. We’re not after pretty awards here, we all know the ugly food is the best.

Huh, maybe that’s why I’m always disappointed whenever I go out to eat…

If you’re patient and give it enough time – the outside still gets crispy while the insides are still moist and flavorful. I’m sorry if you hate the word moist. I do, too – but really, what else can I say? Damp? It’s not juicy not is it soggy.

The Mixture I used (approximately, anyways…about that measuring thing…)

  • 2 T. milled flaxseed
  • 1/4 c. + 2 T. coconut milk
  • 1/2 t. coffee extract (vanilla would work just fine, I just so happen to be the person who is all out of vanilla, yet has plenty of coffee, peppermint and coconut extracts. I would.)
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • pinch ground nutmeg

Mix all with a fork, allowing to sit a few minutes. Add more milk if necessary. Poke each piece of bread a few times before dipping each slice in and saturating. Transfer to a greased pan, allowing extra of the flax mixture to remain on the bread. Cook about 4-5 minutes on each side, until crispy.

Garnish with grilled banana and figgy peanut butter and jelly sauce. And chia seeds and honey-roasted almonds if you’re feeling feisty.

Note to self: I miss you terribly. (speaking of “bring me back” songs…)

Er, wait, what I meant was – note to self: make French toast more often.

And about those bran muffins?

They were not just a groggy early-morning sentiment, my dears. They were happening.

I promise these were muffins for me, not Teddie. I kept thinking how much he would love them. Carrots, applesauce, molasses, cinnamon and sunflower seeds? The kid would be in heaven.

I used these almost-forgotten about pressed dates that Mo sent me way back when. I got a kick out of the “serving size: 1 package,” as I imagined myself just plopping down on the couch and nommin’ on the brick like so:

om-nom-nom

The recipe I used was Kelsey’s. And they are fantastic! It’s a good thing I didn’t actually read the recipe before I printed it off and trekked into my kitchen, though. It requires the use of a food processor, which is usually a big no-no for me. For some reason, I detest cleaning the processor in addition to regular baking dishes. Or in general. Same goes for garlic presses.

Life’s tough.

I realize this is probably old-news, but my new trick is using an ice-cream scoop. I used to just spoon it in, but then I’d have really ugly muffin tops. This leaves them nice and smooth!

And perfectly sized! Well actually my mini-muffins are perfectly sized since I usually just want a little somethin’ somethin’ when it comes to muffins, but that would have required me refilling the tray about ten times.

Which wasn’t happening.

I am very picky about my bran muffins – a lot of bran muffin recipes use more oat bran than wheat, and are too sweet for my liking. I like my bran muffins to be dense, moist and…well…wheaty! These are just the ticket.

Another added bonus: they didn’t require any bananas. I love bananas, and have a great branana muffin recipe – but I’m down to my last banana and you guys know what happens when I lose my bananas. I think I might hide the last one, just as an extra precaution. You know…in case someone else might want it, heaven forbid.

But if I haven’t convinced you to make bran muffins or flaxy French toast…maybe I can convince you to do this:

Toast up some good bread…smother one slice with cashew butter…smother the other with a bit o’ butter/earth balance…throw on some good dried apricots…drizzle a smidgen o’ maple syrup…and chow down. Heavenly.

(but what’s with me saying o’ instead of “of”? Am I really feeling that Irish today?)

And I’ll leave you with this scandalous picture:

I had sausages with dinner! I love sausages…

What’s something you openly admit to having high standards about? I am definitely a bread snob!

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Filed under baking, banana, bran, bread, breakfast, brunch, carrots, chia seeds, cooking, dates, dinner, food, french toast, healthy living, muffin, muffins, recipe, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetarian

That’s Totally Okay

Looking back through today’s pictures, I still don’t know how I was as productive as I was.

I guess that explains how it’s already 6 pm, though. Last I checked it was 10am!

There was lots of learning to be done, though. Both of the educational sense as well as the personal sense.

Like how it’s totally okay to completely mess up your pancakes, only to discover they’re the best you’ve had all week. Even if they look like they’ve already been digested once or twice.

…and it’s also totally okay to realize that maybe the only reason you make mini loaves of bread is not because you like it better fresh – but because it’s so much fun to make and smell.

Sarena’s bread has yet to disappoint. I don’t think it’s possible for it to. It is so quick, so simple and so delicious.

Roasted Red Pepper & Garlic hummus from Appetite for Reduction

Realize you’re home alone for 25 minutes? Well – it’s perfectly reasonable to go on an insane food-processor rampage, right?

For some reason, I can’t get the rest of my family to welcome with open arms the amount of noise required for making hummus and nut butters. On a Sunday morning, no less.

When people should be waking up to the smell of bacon, not the sound of hummus.

And yes, it’s totally okay to combine hemp seeds, sunflower seeds and peanuts in your quest to make the perfect unsweetened peanut butter. Just don’t forget the pinch of salt!

But hey – why not try a flavored cashew butter for once? I’ve never had anything other than “normal” cashew butter, so I decided to give it a try. Verdict? totally okay.

  • 2 c. roasted & salted cashews
  • 1 t. olive oil
  • 1 t. date syrup
  • 1/2 t. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 – 1/4 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 c. golden raisins

Method: Process the cashews until they form a ball. Break it up and add in the oil, syrup, extract and cinnamon. Process again until smooth. Add more oil depending on how runny you like it. Add in raisins and pulse a few more times to combine.

And by the way…if you just so happened to have made peanut butter before this…and didn’t feel like washing and trying your processor…it’s totally okay to just use the processor with the peanut butter residue still in it.

Not that I would have ever ofund myself in this situation or anything.

Haven’t done laundry in two weeks? Totally okay – it just makes you find all those old clothes you don’t know why you still have…but then realize why when you have nothing else to wear.

Again, not that I would know anything about that.

Yes, it’s perfectly fine to consider your workout for the day simply walking up a hill.

…but it’s probably easier to buy when the snow is up to your waist, and your dog might hate you for it.

Sorry for the butt shot…but this just had to be done. Kaia found that it worked best if she just tried dragging herself along on her belly.

We have so much snow right now. And we had a thundersnow storm last night!

It was kind of creepy and I was ready for the apocalypse.


I also realize that lately I’ve been hardly creative in the kitchen on my own, but rather have been making recipes out of books like it’s my job.

Well, I do wish it were my job…

But hey, that’s totally okay. I’m calling it “fine-tuning my technique.”

Because really, I don’t actually know anything about cooking or baking.

It’s totally okay to instantly think of your childhood when creaming “butter” and sugar.

Isn’t it a requirement of growing up to eat the butter and sugar when making cookies?

Not quite enough dried figs for your homemade “Fig Not-Ins” after you absent-mindedly munched on a few?

Using some golden raisins as filler is perfectly okay.

Adding anise extract, on the other hand? Totally not okay. Sambuca has ruined anise extract for me for the rest of my life, I think. I can’t have peppermints anymore because of peppermint schnapps, either.

Luckily, the anise was just an accentuating flavor, not a main player. I followed Vegan with a Vengeance‘s recipe because I wanted to have a more dough-like newton. The recipes I found online were more like a date bar – but with figs. I wanted more of a distinct fig newton! But, adding the anise idea came from this recipe.

Ironically, rolling the dough out for this was very time consuming and difficult and it will probably be many moons before I do it again. That and the directions confused me. I don’t think they were confusing, I think I was just having a “moment.” A “what the kale?” moment.

And if you lose patience with it, it’s totally okay to end up just making two giant tarts with the last of your dough.

And by the way – taste-testing your fig filling? Perfectly fine. In fact, I think it’s required. Mainly if you have some fresh bread and cashew butter to accompany it. D’oh.

Having paprika that’s older than you are? Well, that’s probably not okay, but I use it anyway. It probably doesn’t taste like…well…anything…to be perfectly honest with you.

I kid you not, I remember having this paprika when I was, like, three.

Because I was definitely using paprika as a wee little three year old. I distinctly remember burping “mo’ papriikay!” a time or two.

But until I finally remember to buy new paprika, this old stuff had to do for the mushroom and cannellini paprikas in Appetite for Reduction.

And in case you were wondering – it’s also totally okay to have sweet potato fries with every meal…and still not know whether you prefer them with barbeque sauce or hummus.

And lastly – it’s perfectly fine if you just watch the Superbowl for the commercials. I’m not a football fan…I prefer real sports.

Other things that are totally okay:

  • Realizing you haven’t gotten out of your pajamas all day. Which probably means they’re really gross considering the fact that I was definitely sweating walking up that hill.
  • Not putting away your laundry even if it’s all done.
  • Realizing you sort of enjoy the reading for your recent classes.

What was your “totally okay” moment of the day?

And I’ve gotta ask…Superbowl – yay or nay?

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Filed under baking, bread, breakfast, cookies, cooking, dessert, dinner, food, healthy living, hummus, lunch, musings, nut butter, pancakes, photography, recipe, snow, sweet potato, vegan, vegetarian, veggies, vermont

A Conglomeration

With my new (er, not so new anymore) blogging style, there’s a lot more useless blabber that ends up “on the cutting room floor,” as they say. With me, it’s more like on the bedroom floor and then covered with dirty clothes.
This leaves me feeling relatively out of touch with you lovely people, and I don’t like that! So…here’s some relatively mindless rambling that I deemed relatively useless at one point, and is probably still relatively useless, but I have nothing else to share. So there.
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I still eat pancakes like they’re going out of style. Because I work in phases, I’ve been loving sauteed apple as the topping of choice…though bananas still have my heart.
And are way cheaper.
And I’m welcoming applicants to start up a peanut flour business. I mean, I would think us bloggers alone are reason enough for TJ’s to keep it stocked, but apparently not.
Should we place bets on what the next hot food item will be? I don’t even know where to begin.
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In a traumatic event involving me trying to use Teddie’s right ear as something to hold onto whilst flying over his neck,he is now right earl-less. See?
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I have been loving on salads lately. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that my mom bought me two huge tubs of lettuce and baby spinach, but we’ll just say that ever since the eggplant bacon caesar salad I’ve been getting cozy with a big bowl of greens pretty frequently.
My favorite salad add-in (save for buffalo tempeh) is red onion. I like to breathe stinky.
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L is the sweetest girl ever, after hearing my grumblings of whole wheat breadcrumbs being nonexistant in these parts. I had no idea what the strangely shaped package my mom brought me contained…
But I don’t think I’ve ever been so giddy about breadcrumbs before. If I was just a little bit crazier I’d had run right out and bought a sweet onion so I could make onion rings, but those football fans that are stocking up on Superbowl foods scare me. That and the Bruins game was starting in ten minutes.
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Speaking of Bruins, Thursday night’s game = four fights and a goal within the first minute. Four fights and two goals within…two minutes, I think? That is all. I love hockey. We won’t talk about today’s game, though.
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iHerb.com has the fastest and most reasonably priced shipping I’ve ever seen. And reasonably priced goods! And if you want to save $5 off your first order, you can if you enter in code WEZ004. Oh, and they always include fun samples! Well, everytime I’ve ordered anyway.
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I received a bunch of fun-sounding salt samples in my last Foodzie box, but I’m really disappointed to report that I don’t think my tastebuds are so delicate to pick up on any differences.
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It occurred to me the other morning, as I was driving to work at 7:00 am, wide awake and so ready for the day, that if I were as optimistic, outgoing and energetic at night as I am in the morning, I wouldn’t even be a real person.
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The other day I was chopping celery with my really sharp knife, and I somehow slid a finger over the top of the blade by the point. I thought I cut myself, and deep enough to warrant stitches or at least a lot of blood, so I dropped the knife and started freaking out, clutching my hand and waiting for blood to start spurting everywhere. It turns out I didn’t even break skin. I can be a little be dramatic. I guess.
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My mom is convinced she wants to take part in Meatless Mondays since she watched Oprah, but wants it to change to Meatless Tuesday so that I can be home to cook for it. Yes, I watched the Oprah episode. If you haven’t seen it, Nicole wrote a good post about it, and I left my thoughts there, too. But, hey, if my mom wants to have a meatless Tuesday, awesome.
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Sometimes, I get asked why I won’t post a recipe from a book.

My answer is simple: I am morally opposed to it.

Cooking is an art-form. Creating recipes is an art-form. Even if a list of ingredients can’t technically be copyrighted (how weird is it that it’s copyrighted and not copywritten?) I know how it feels to have work that you’ve created show up elsewhere without credit. I am talking about my photography, but I view it as the same concept. I know how ripped I get when I see people taking my photos, and I can only imagine how ripped published authors must get when they see recipes they’ve poured their heart and soul into to be published in a book appear on websites where people can go and get them without paying a single penny.

I’m all about supporting the author, not ripping them off. I have too much respect for them than to post their recipes will-nill on the internet. In case you’re wondering, yes, I also buy my music rather than downloading it for free. Again, respect and appreciation.

As for posting recipes from other blogs? Well – I understand that basically everything has been done before. If I see a recipe that is similar to one another but there’s hardly any mention of another recipe, I tend to give the author the benefit of the doubt that there was a similar thinking process. But using a recipe from another blog, saying so, and then posting the exact same recipe on your own blog? Well, I think link-backs are sufficient so that traffic can be directed their way as a sign of appreciation…but I think that’s just one of my little quirks.

And lastly, re: adaptations and inspirations. I link-back or don’t post the recipe if from a book if I keep mostly the same. C’mon…changing the flour or a couple spices doesn’t make it a unique adaptation. I don’t even think veganizing something with a flax-egg and earth balance makes it an adaptation. When I do that, I say it and link-back to direct people to the basic recipe and instructions. Only when I change a good number of things – say, at least 5 things that aren’t basic flour swaps, etc – will I just re-post the recipe. And even 5 things is a close-call to me. Take, for example, the chickpea recipe I posted the other day. I was tempted to just write out my swaps again instead of re-typing the recipe – but then sort of realized that by the time I wrote out the swaps it was just plain confusing. Had it been a blogger or book, I might have passed on reposting. But it being a free source I decided to just go for it. Am I guilty of the “I swapped the flour, so I adapted it!” label? Well, I can’t say for certain – but I bet if I looked through my baking tabs I’d find one or two back from my beginnings that aren’t quite as unique as I now require. Not hypocritical – I’ve just learned what respect is.

This was not directed at anybody or any certain event!! Just something I’ve been meaning to mention lately, since I’ve been cooking out of books so much lately. I would love to hear your thoughts on it, though. Am I just picky because, being a photographer, I know how it feels and can relate too much to the authors? Maybe. I mean, I feel bad when I give full disclaimer that something wasn’t my idea and someone comments saying “oh my god! you’re so creative! marry me!”

I just want to say “no no no!! I’m a terrible person, I’m not the cool one!”

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Filed under baking, musings, random, review, salad, Uncategorized, vegan

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!

I had a lot of decisions to make today.

Now before you go getting all concerned, relax! Relax. Fortunately for me, the hardest decision I have on days like today is what I’m going to have for dinner. Before you laugh, that’s a pretty big decision. I mean, it can make or break your day! …or maybe I’m just a little dramatic.

In case you haven’t heard, it’s snowing all over the northeast.

I’m guessing you’ve heard.

My first decision I faced was whether I wanted to call in to work or not. I’m guessing you can figure out pretty quickly that I called in.

Which meant that I decided sauteed apples were in the forecast for breakfast this morning. I was awed when I saw that my beloved Gala apples were on sale at Hannaford’s. Unless they’re fresh picked from the farm down the road, they’re the only apples I truly enjoy. (okay, so I probably prefer them over the local McIntosh apples, but I fear that might be un-Vermontan of me to admit, so I won’t. We have maple laws for Pete’s sake, I wouldn’t put it past us to have an apple law, too)

My, oh my, how I’d forgotten how amazing sauteed apples are.

I polished off the last of my bread yesterday, and knew I had to make more today. The decision?

Do I keep it as the original inventor intended, or mix it up again?

I kept it as intended, and think this loaf is a bit prettier (re: less embarrassing) and so won’t withhold the name of the kind woman who shared her recipe with me this time – it was the lovely Sarena, of course! I don’t think there is anything she can’t do in the kitchen. And if you don’t want to see really delicious looking pancakes with a beautiful pour of maple syrup, definitely don’t go to her blog right now.

While that rose, I faced another decision: strength or cardio?

Cardio won.

But these things can only keep me entertained for so long. It was 9:00 and I was already looking for my next project.

Biscotti or granola bars?

Biscotti, says mother – who also had a snowday.

Orange chocolate chip or cranberry almond?

Orange chocolate chip. Best biscotti I’ve ever made all thanks to Veganomicon. No I can’t share the recipe and no I can’t find it either. Buy the book. The biscotti and the chickpea-quinoa pilaf are worth that $15.

…but do I want peanut butter, jelly or maple cream on my hot-from the oven bread?!

Maple cream.

But what kind of nut butter do I want smothered into my date?!

It doesn’t matter because I’ll have another one in five minutes.

If I have hot cocoa in my Easter mug, will it be Spring tomorrow?

probably not, but you can try.

I love this Dagoba hot cocoa!

Should I shovel multiple times so that I only shovel a couple inches at a time, or once so that I’m shoveling more than a foot – but only one time?

Uhhh, well, I banked on multiple times, but this so-called “storm of the century” fizzled out, and I didn’t need to shovel after the once.

As it is, though, the snowbank to the side of our front porch is taller than the front porch, and if I venture off the beaten path I am up to my waist in the fluffy powder.

I hope I can go to the barn tomorrow so I can ride Teddie in it! Hopefully he won’t be like my Corona pony and decide it’s more fun to roll in said snow than it is to play in it. I’m not worried about getting rolled on, I’m worried about my saddle getting saturated. I paid more for the saddle than I did for the pony.

Do I make buffalo tempeh or barbecue tempeh?

Both! Sorry, guys – but I think I’m getting tempeh burnout. I’m sort of bored with it. When this block is done, I need to bid goodbye for a couple weeks. Needless to say, I do adore buffalo tempeh! Especially with the last of my caesar dressing and red onion (I heart red onion + buffalo + caesar)

I think I struggle making the decision between sweet potato fries or whole-baked sweet potatoes more than I struggle with the decision about what to wear.

It takes me a while to figure out what to wear in the morning. It’s too early to think clear, so I just stare into my closet for at least five minutes as if it’s some other-worldly realm.

And in case you were wondering, a whole baked sweet potato won, but I didn’t get to use this picture yesterday and was pretty proud of how perfectly baked and cut those fries are. Not to toot my own horn or anything.

Dinner was a big decision today, but I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

I knew I should use the eggplant I had in the fridge, but nothing was particularly speaking to me.

Yes, when I flip through recipes certain ones call to me. I can plan “ooh I want to make that!” until I’m blue in the face but I can never decide what I want for dinner until 3:00 that day.

What did speak to me was Chickpea Piccata. (< Lucky for you guys, Isa has the recipe for this one on her website!)

But what to have it with?

Eggplant!

But how?

My new favorite way ever, of course!

I was flipping through my binder of recipes,and saw this very plain-jane recipe for roasting eggplant originally from Cooking Light. I was a bit apprehensive that it would be all that great – it is basically eggplant straight up, after all – but combined with the absolutely amazing piccata, this meal was enough to make me fall head over heels in love with…well, everything in site. It turned me into a hippie peace-love flower-girl.

For the eggplant, though:

Roasted Eggplant

slightly modified from cooking light, for one eggplant:

  • 1 medium eggplant, about 1 lb.
  • olive oil for brushing (I used basil oil)
  • pinch salt, pepper and herbs de provence

Preheat oven to 450*. Carefully slice your eggplant the “long way” into 1/4″ slices, leaving the end in-tact. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and fan out the eggplant. Brush with olive oil and bake for 15-20 minutes, until lightly tender. Remove from oven, press down to fan out more, and brush again with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs. Bake 15-20 minutes more or until tender and skin is beginning to crisp.

My mom: “are you going to eat that whole eggplant?”

Don’t mind if I do!

Decisions – do you find yourself sometimes having a terrible time deciding over the silliest of things, too?! Please say yes so I’m not alone. And don’t ask me who you should marry. I’ll just say “everyone! peace and love!”

26 Comments

Filed under apple, baking, bread, breakfast, chickpeas, cookie, cooking, dates, dinner, eggplant, food, food blog, healthy living, lunch, nut butter, pancakes, recipe, snack, snow, sweet potato, tempeh, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian, veggies