Category Archives: cooking

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 ย 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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. ย 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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

Seitan Sausages

I had better not be getting sick.

My boss has been sick for the past…well, it seems like he’s always sick…but really sick for the past two weeks. I’ve been feeling 100% but all of a sudden this afternoon I got a tickle in my throat.

When these things happen, I tend to go a little overboard. Call it paranoia of catching the nasties, if you will. But as soon as there is even a vague hint of a cold or the nasties, I come home and start chugging the vit C and fresh veg.

And seitan sausages.

What, you don’t look to sausages to cure the plague?

…oh. Maybe it’s the higher protein content that I am hoping will shield me from infection.

You may or may not recall my mention of being burnt out on tempeh.

As well as my mention of limiting my grocery spending.

Enter: seitan. I used to make it all the time. What happened?!

I have no reasonably excuse for our time apart. I do enjoy seitan, after all.

But it was time to take vital wheat gluten’s and my relationship to the next level.

Every since first hearing I could make my own “seitan sausages,” I was intrigued by the idea.

Every time I went to make them though, I was turned off by all the many steps.

I think I was just being lazy, though. Truth is, making them was not difficult. I could have read the directions to Kaia and she’d have been able to make them, for Pete’s sake.

I based my seitan sausages off of these recipes. The flavors weren’t anything that tickled my fancy for what I envisioned in my mind, so I took the template and tweaked to my liking.

Aren’t they creepy looking?! No fear, though – they taste phenomenal. Perfect to go with a “sausage and peppers” theme. With pasta and jarred pasta sauce.

The initial idea was to have them with Chelsey’s Mexicalian cilantro pesto, but it was as I was chopping the cilantro for my sausages that I remembered I’m not a cilantro fan.

I think I get my herbs mixed up, and can only remember which ones I like when I smell them fresh.

From now on, I’ll just be that girl over in the produce aisle, sniffing all the herbs before landing them in my cart.

Hey, they have those little shower-sprayers for a reason. For wackjobs like me.

Either way, I still sauteed some sliced sausage up with onions and jarred roasted reds. We had no fresh. I’m telling you, my fridge is empty. I’m going to make it work, though. The cilantro was the last fresh bit of green in there, which is why it still made an appearance. The rotini tossed in jarred pasta sauce pulled it all together.

It’s the little things, people. The little things.

Tonight I had one in a similar fashion, but with polenta. Mmmm, mm. I love polenta.

Seitan Sausages:

yields 3-4 sausages

adapted from “Have Cake Will Travel”s fauxsages.

  • 1/2 c. + 2 T. vital wheat gluten
  • 2 T. nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 t. italian seasoning
  • dash crushed red pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T. onion, chopped finely
  • 1 T. fresh cilantro, optional
  • 1/2 t. sea salt
  • 2-3 sundried tomatoes in oil, chopped
  • 1 t. dried chives
  • 1 T. olive oil (I used the olive oil in the sundried tomato jar)
  • 1/3 c. + 3 T. water

Preheat oven to 325* F. In a large bowl, combine the VWG, nutritional yeast, italian seasoning, pepper, garlic, onion, cilantro, salt, chives and tomatoes. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil and water. Add to the VWG mixture, and mix to combine. Knead a few times. If you’ve got some herbs/onions/tomatoes wanting to fall out, that’s fine.

Divide the mixture into 4 equal parts, roll out a bit, and wrap tightly in a piece of aluminum foil. Repeat for the remaining, and place in a baking dish. Bake for one hour to an hour and 15 minutes. When done, unwrap and allow to cool. Or eat right away.

Some notes:

  • I think I overcooked mine a bit at an hour and 15. Next time I’d probably just do an hour.
  • I’d also like to try baking them in something, like tomato sauce. Maybe if they were baked in the foil for half the time, then taken out and baked in tomato sauce?
  • Needs more cowbell.

On another note, I wanted to share this fab little snack/dessert/what-have-you:

Averie’s banana oat cakes. The fig jam is a critical element.

What do you do when you have a hunch the plague is after you?

Seitan – yay or nay?

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Filed under banana, cooking, dinner, food, healthy living, recipe, seitan, 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

Chutney Chickpeas (and TEDDIE!)

I finally got the chance to play with my favorite little furry four-legged today!

…just a shame Vermont can’t plow roads this winter. I could have made it there much faster? Even in this picture you can see where someone started swerving!

With all the fashion blogs out there today, I thought I’d join in on the trend. Here I am modeling my gloriously fab boots, snow-pant breeches and Carhartt knock-off.

This is why I’m hot.

Naturally, being so bundled up didn’t make for optimum riding gear. So why not just hop on bareback (er…blanket-back…) and go for a snow ride?

That was Teddie’s thought as he took great joy in making me get an additional workout trying to climb atop him.

He may be short, but damn, when you’re wearing bulky clothing, you’re sinking up to your butt in snow, and you have an excited pony walking in circles around you because he wants to visit with everyone, it’s a lot easier to say “hop on” than it is to actually hop on.

When I finally got halfway on he was at least patient enough to stand still while I made like a seal as I flopped the rest of myself up and over.

We had fun. Maybe we’ll just become snow riders for the rest of the winter. Or pick up skijoring.

And in case you thought I was too hot to handle before, it got even better when I put my helmet on:

I realize I look like dorkus maximus, but look at Ted!

daaaaaaaamn! Oughta have put a warning sign on this blog.

See all that snow on his bridle? He took great pride in trudging along with his nose buried in the snow while I thought he was going to roll on me. Luckily, the only time I had to bail was when I accidentally steered him into a drift that was up to his belly. It was probably deeper than that, but his belly kept him from sinking further, luckily.

Sorry, Ted.

Oh,yeah…anyways. About that food thing.

Truth be told, when it came to dinner tonight, I almost just sauteed up some spinach, garlic and barbecue sauce with barbecue tempeh and called it a night. And if I didn’t have to work tomorrow, I totally would have.

Sauteeing spinach in olive oil with garlic and BBQ sauce is way better than it sounds, fyi.

But, I kind of like making enough dinner the night before working to be able to pack an easy lunch to bring the next day. Sauteed spinach wasn’t going to cut it.

Especially sauteed in garlic. I can still smell my breath from having it for lunch, and that was 5 snacks and a dinner ago.

I might as well just dedicate this post to Rachael Ray, what with using her bench scrape, knife and recipe.

They were Christmas presents! (…but I still love Rachael Ray.)

I’ve made this “Chutney Chicken One Pot” and posted about it before – well, raved about it before – but just linked to the recipe with all of my swaps written separately.

Well, usually I don’t break my “link-back” rule, but since this is one of my favorite meals (I’ve gotta go there) and I’ve made some substitutions over the couple times I’ve made it, I’m just going to go ahead and post how I make it.

Chutney Chickpea One-Pot

serves 2 as a side, adapted from Rachael Ray’s Chutney Chicken One-Pot

This dish is easily customizable to your likes and dislikes. Check out my notes after the recipe! Not only that, but once you’ve got everything chopped it comes together in a handful of minutes! And I know I just talked about a fear of long ingredients lists – and this one is…but it’s SO easy and you’ve probably got it all on hand.

  • 2 t. olive oil
  • 1 granny smith apple, peeled and diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 c. diced celery
  • 1/4 c. diced green or red peppers
  • 1/4 c. diced dried apricots
  • 2-3 dried Turkish figs, chopped
  • 1 c. chickpeas
  • 1/2 t. ground cumin
  • 1/8 t. curry powder
  • 1/2 t. allspice
  • 1/8 t. ground ginger
  • 1/4 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T. dijon or whole-grain mustard
  • 2 1/2 T. unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 c. vegetable broth
  • 2-3 handfuls baby spinach

Heat the oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add in the apple, onion, celery and peppers. Saute until slightly soft. Add in the spices, dried fruit and chickpeas. Stir and then add in the broth, applesauce, vinegar and mustard. Reduce heat and bring to a simmer. Simmer about five minutes, until sauce thickens slightly. Add in the spinach, stir and cover. Remove from heat, leaving covered until spinach wilts.

Serve with some crusty bread or a grain!

Last time, I made it with tofu instead of chickpeas, and mixed in cooked bulgur instead of serving it with bread. There were other differences, but I also didn’t add the spinach. I much prefer it with spinach! I also think I preferred it with bread instead of a grain.

I love dishes that mix a sweet element with savory, and this one hits the nail on the head. Change it to your tastebuds, though. I chose to use applesauce instead of jam because I figured jam would be pushing the envelope on too sweet. You can also easily use a bit less dried fruit, and use what dried fruit you have on hand. I love apricots and figs, but raisins are good, too!

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Filed under apple, beans, bread, chickpeas, cooking, equestrian, food, healthy cooking, healthy living, horseback riding, pony, recipe, snow, teddie, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian, veggies, vermont