Tag Archives: pasta

Surprises

Today was full of fun surprises!

I was once again pleasantly surprised at how good my homemade almond butter was on pancakes this morning…

…and was also surprised to learn that Vermont has a maple law…which is giving McDonalds some flack about their new oatmeal!

“What we understand, is there is no actual maple in the [McDonald’s] product being advertised. Vermont maple law and regulations are very specific for how the term maple is used in advertisements,” Kelly Loftus, VAA spokesperson told Slashfood. “It is illegal to use the word maple on a product unless the sweetener is 100 percent pure maple. Artificial maple flavoring should be clearly and conspicuously labeled on the principal panel with the term ‘artificial flavor’.”

Read more: http://www.slashfood.com/2011/01/10/a-sticky-mess-for-mcdonalds/#ixzz1BcP2Afr7

Basically, Vermont is requiring them to give option of a tablespoon of real Vermont maple syrup, a teaspoon of Vermont maple sugar, or eliminating the “maple” advertisement since all it is is fake flavoring.

Can I get a hell-yeah for Vermont, please?

I was pleasantly surprised to see that Teddie doesn’t hate me after all…

…even if all I did today was dote on him.

When I got home, I was surprised that the mail hadn’t come yet…but was hungry and went ahead and made lunch anyway.

When it finally came, I’d be lying if I said I was completely surprised that I had two big “presents,” but I was surprised at what they contained!

Package numero uno – from the wonderful Blue Eyed Heart.

Blueberry Muffin Larabar?! I was pleasantly surprised when I heard of this new flavor. Yes, I was the girl eating a Dunkin’ Donuts blueberry muffin every. single. day. all through high school. I cannot. wait. to try this baby. How surprised was I to learn it’s more cashew-based than almond-based? Very – but that’s definitely a good surprised. Eye heart cashoos.

The most perfect-est pumpkin bran muffins ever. I broke into one STAT.

And the primary reason for the package: sprouted wheatberry bread.

My mom always said not to beg, and that it doesn’t get anybody anywhere. Well, I sort of begged for this bread and it got me a sprouted wheatberry bread addiction. That could be seen as a good or a bad thing. I choose to see it as a good thing.

The cutest lil’ mini loaf, too! I can’t wait to have mini PB&Js. If it lasts that long.

I think I’m convinced that I ought to try making my own sprouted bread now. That is, if I can’t convince her to get into business making and selling this bread 😉

I wasn’t just surprised with this month’s Foodzie Tasting Box

…I was just about awed!

Never, ever heard of Sun Dried Nectarines before. Cannot. Wait. to try them.

I expect at least half of the Foodzie boxes to be something I wouldn’t like, but that’s okay with me. I enjoy the surprise aspect, and don’t mind getting some things (like natural beef jerky) that I can pass on to someone else. That’s why I was so awed when I realized just about everything in this month’s box is a keeper!

While I usually like sweeter teas (Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride and Gingerbread, anyone?) these Runa teas were fun to try!

It certainly surprised me at how fresh the leaves seemed compared to the usual teas I drink!

Enjoyed with a cracker flat that L sent me…

…I got a little hungry while waiting for my tea to heat 😉 I can’t say I’m surprised at how delicious these are, though – spelt and cinnamon raisin are two things that have always had my heart.

Well, maybe not always. I don’t think I was a four-year old running around demanding my mom to make cinnamon-raisin spelt bread…but maybe.

I was surprised to realize I hadn’t had any plans for dinner, but then realized I was craving pasta

…which didn’t surprise me at how wonderful this simple meal was. Sometimes, good ol’ pasta just hits the spot, don’t you think?! Just a serving of whole wheat pasta, cooked and then tossed with:

  • drizzle olive oil
  • fire-roasted tomatoes
  • roasted red peppers
  • garlic
  • tempeh
  • fresh parsley

served atop collard greens sauteed in a bit of olive oil with red onion and garlic, and all garnished with humnut cheese and more fresh parsley.

I actually really hate fresh parsley, I’ve just been eating it because for some reason I decided I needed fresh parsley for something. At this point, I don’t even remember what I wanted it for. I just know I have a lot more to eat…

What have you been surprised by lately?!

23 Comments

Filed under breakfast, cooking, dinner, food, foodblog, foodzie, health, health food, healthy living, hummus, italian, lunch, nut butter, pancakes, pasta, recipe, spelt, teddie, tempeh, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian, vermont, whole grains

It’s a Zesty Thing

I wish I had a good excuse as to why I’ve been so absent in the blog world lately. Truth be told – I do have a good excuse…but I’ve been battling as to whether it’s something I want to share with everyone just yet.

And then I remembered that I can be completely open with you guys, without feeling the need to hide anything. Save for the details about where I live and where I am at specific times of the day just because…you know…there are still creepers out there.

Anyways. Enough beating around the bush. The truth is…

I’m in a new relationship.

With my zester. It’s getting really heated these days…and I just can’t bear to be without it very long. Using it brings a whole new element of “brightness,” almost, to a dish – and I knew I was getting a little too involved after wishing I had my zester with me while I was at work yesterday.

To add orange zest to my hot chocolate. I tried this at home just now, and I definitely think it’s one of the weirder things I’ve done. My mind was on the right track – you know, dark chocolate + orange? However, the execution needs work. I’m currently drinking hot chocolate only to chew on a mouthful of zest immediately afterwards. Uhh…whoops.

Luckily – this Dagoba hot chocolate is fan. freaking. tastic. I’ve had my eyeballs peeled (how creepy is the word eyeballs, anyways?!) for a good hot cocoa and when I saw this on sale at the co-op I had to splurge on it. Yes, I just used “on sale” and “splurge” in the same sentence…because it was still $7 for a couple of cups of hot cocoa. Never fear, though – it has chunks of dark chocolate in it, which is pretty amazing whether you love hot cocoa/chocolate or not. I don’t declare myself a chocolate fan, however I love a good cup of hot cocoa to warm up with! I just wish it didn’t have a little bit of dairy in it :\

Oh, and by the way while we’re speaking of eyeballs, my eyeballs were also glued to the TV last night anyways, as I watched Tuuka Rask make a great come-back from a less-than-wonderful game on Sunday night. Just had to throw that out there, you know.

Ask an ordinary human being, and some of my other creations have probably been a little bit out there – but ask me, and I’d say not at all! You’ve already seen me post recipes including zest – the orange-date cookies, the lime poppyseed muffins, and how I’m constantly having pancakes with blueberries and lemon or lime, or cranberries and orange.

But how about something savory?

…like pasta? Pasta with kale and orange zest? And cranberries? and butternut squash? Sounds good to me!

[shallots sauteed in olive oil + kale + juice of one tangerine + salt, pepper, sage + roasted butternur squash + zest of one tangerine + splash of balsamic vinegar + serving of cooked whole wheat pasta + topped with dried cranberries and toasted walnuts]

Similar to that was my lunch today – but the mushrooms took it to the next level.

[sautee 1/4 of a red onion and a clove of garlic in basil oil – add in sliced mushrooms and chopped kale – add in juice of one tangerine – fold in a heaping portion of roasted butternut squash. serve with toasted walnuts.]

The critical element is getting the mushrooms to get a little bit of crispy golden-ness on them and not cooking them until they’re mushy.

And then, there’s the sweet side of my new addiction. Also known as – the combination of two obsessions in a relatively odd way. Also known as – sweet potato pancakes. With orange zest and cranberries.

I thought orange zest would be a good addition because it would add a refreshing element to contrast the heaviness of the sweet potatoes. I also wanted to leave the sweet potato in chunks, rather thanmashing it and adding it to the batter. I wouldn’t have bothered baking a sweet potato just for pancakes in the morning – but I had one I couldn’t finish the night before, so I chopped it up for the following morning. I think next time, I’d make them with the individual chunks having been roasted. I just chopped a potato I’d baked whole, and the texture of the potato and the pancake were a bit too similar.

I topped them with almond butter “mousse” (almond butter mixed with almond milk) date syrup and almonds. I love this crunchy TJ’s almond butter with flaxseeds that Jess sent me – so runny, crunchy and delicious!

True conversation:

“whats in the oven?”

                “a sweet potato.”

didn’t you just have one for lunch?

                “yup.”

huh. is that good for you?”

              “well, i can think of worse things i could have.”

This was followed by my mom telling me I was soon going to turn orange. I’m sorry – but once you oven bake a sweet potato, or have them roasted low and slow, there is no going back!

[for the pancakes: follow the base for my BLOC pancakes, replacing the lemon with orange and blueberries for cranberries, and use only 1/4 of a cup. add in 1/4 of a chopped baked sweet potato. season with ground cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg.]

I’ve also put some ripe bananas to good use…do you know what I added to the recipe, though? I bet you do…

…and if youguessed orange zest, you’d be hitting the nail on the head!

Aaaand lastly, but surely not leastly – something a bit more traditional. Blueberry pancakes with tangerine zest rather than lemon or lime! Honestly – is there anything better than some good ol’ blueberry pancakes, panfried in a leetle bit of earth balance (or butter) to get nice and crispy-golden, lightened up with the zest and juice of a good ol’ citrus fruit? And don’t forget, smeared with the aforementioned almond butter mousse and real (vermont!) maple syrup?

The answer is no, my friends. If you’d like to tell me something is better than that, go for it. It might take a bit of convincing, but I welcome the thoughts.

And yes, I’d be totally okay with eating pancakes for the rest of my life.

Alas, this never-ending zesting has left its mark: the knuckle on my left thumb has a permanent scar from my slipping with the zest one too many times (and zesting my thumb knuckle) and my zester is missing a metal “loop.” I’ve eaten it, for all I know. And believe it or not – the zesting is contagious. My mom added orange zest to a jello pudding pie she made the other day!

Zest: yay or nay? I want to hear you weigh in with tips, tricks, recipes, etc!

OH! Two more things: don’t forget about the date syrup giveaway, AND!!! Teddie posted some videos on his blog that might make you laugh 🙂

30 Comments

Filed under almond butter, baking, breakfast, cooking, dinner, foodblog, health, health food, healthy living, lunch, recipe

To-Do Lists

Does anyone else find it a little ironic that at the same time we’re all supposed to be relaxed and enjoying the holiday season – is when our lives start spinning at mach ten?

Or is it just me?

I know around the holidays, hours at work go into overdrive, trying to remain studious with schoolwork goes into overdrive, baking and gifting goes into overdrive and life in general just starts flying by faster than the blink of an eye.

Do I need to say that I’ve got a pretty hefty to-do list at the moment? I don’t think it’s only me, either – senior pictures have bee up for months with customers able to purchase, but it’s Christmas that motivates them to finally order prints: I’ve received three orders this weekend after going weeks without any!

Anyways. That said – I’m still a firm believer in finding time for what you love.

Like Teddie.

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And food.

Like bread.

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And with Healthy Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, it couldn’t be easier! Expect a review soon.

And like cookies.

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Lemon poppyseed cookies.

And like pancakes.

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Peanut butter and jelly cornmeal pancakes, no less. Made with peanut flour instead of graham flour.

And like hearty, soul-warming dinners.

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I think I’m on a little bit of a mushroom kick, ever since making the stuffing for Thanksgiving.

My next “must-do” involved stroganoff.

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To preface this; I didn’t, and still don’t; know what a stroganoff exactly is. I just have this assumption of what it is in my head.

Creamy.

With noodles.

and mushrooms.

…and creamy.

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To be blatantly honest, I’ve never had real stroganoff. I just think I like it because I have fond memories of this stuff:

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Uhhh, yeah….about that. Is that even stroganoff? I don’t see mushrooms. It just says there are mushrooms.

I like my version better.

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I made it last night on a whim, not sure what I’d turn out in the end. I wasn’t feeling pasta though, so just had the stroganoff with a side of roasted b-nut squash ad cranberry sauce, because apparently I am still honing Thanksgiving.

That or I like odd combos, take your pick.

Anyways; I was so surprised at how good it turned out that as soon as my mom took her seat at the table I shoved my bowl in her face, demanding her to taste it.

Since I am never so convincing in my pleas, she was pretty sure I was poisoning her or something, though she was delighted with the hearty flavor from the fennel, the creaminess from the hummus, and the contrast in texture of the kale ad mushrooms. It was so good that I had to make it again tonight, this time following through with the noodle part. And it was even better.

Now that I’ve piqued your interested with a so-called stroganoff that involved hummus, I’ll share with you my delightful recipe. I might be having this every day for the rest of the week, if you don’t mind.

Mushroom and Kale “Stroganoff”

serves two

  • 2 servings whole wheat pasta

prepare the pasta as directed in salted water. When it is cooked, drain ad set aside, reserving one cup of the water for later use.

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2  T. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 c. sliced mushrooms
  • 3 large kale leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 t. fennel seed
  • salt and pepper, to taste

In a large pan, heat the olive oil and then add in the onion. You might need to add a little bit of water. You want to cook them until they start to brown/get a little crispy on the outer edges, though – so don’t use too much oil. Add in the mushrooms, kale, fennel seed and salt and pepper. Add in a couple of tablespoons of water and cover until the mushrooms are tender and the kale is bright green, stirring ocassionally.

  • 1 c. reserved pasta water
  • 1 T. white bean flour (for thickening – you could use any type of bean flour/flour/cornstarch, though I am unsure of amount exchange if using cornstarch)
  • 2 T. roasted red pepper hummus
  • 1/2 T. pub-style dijon mustard
  • 1 T. nutritional yeast

In a small mixing bowl, whisk all together until smooth. It is best to do this while the water is still hot.

Once the kale and mushroom mixture is cooked, pour in the liquid. Lower the heat and bring to a simmer, stirring often. Allow to thicken about ten minutes, still stirring often. Once thickened, shut off heat and let sit one minute. Gently stir in the pasta.

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Uh-yuhm.

What’s your favorite mushroom dish? Well, if you like mushrooms, anyway Winking smile

17 Comments

Filed under breakfast, dinner, pasta, recipe, vegan, vegetarian

Aioli and Eggplant

I think I’m getting back in my groove. I haven’t had slow roasted sweet potatoes in two days!!

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I actually had something completely different that included a mini giveaway planned for today – but then I had to tackle some eggplant in the fridge.

See, I’m nearing eggplant burnout. My mom buys me eggplant every time she goes to the store. I’m not complaining – I mean, it’s really very sweet of her. But eggplant isn’t very forgiving of being forgotten about. There’s a fragile couple of days between the time an eggplant is purchased and the time you use it. And then it turns all soft, mushy, bruised and ugly.

Naturally, this creates an added bit of pressure for me to use it quickly…and as someone who’s getting rather sick of eggplant, I am not as enthusiastic about using it right off the bat, and I’m not about to start groveling at my mother’s feet, begging her for the love of all that is sacred to stop buying me eggplant. That’d just appear ungrateful.

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My heart almost stopped as I heard she was going grocery shopping today and I still had half an eggplant in my fridge from a week ago. I could only imagine being bombarded with another eggplant. Luckily, she didn’t.

I almost decided that I was going to make my first-ever baba ghanoush, but after a little bit of dwelling decided I was in the mood for pasta, and so eggplant “parm” won me over.

With white bean aioli “meatballs.”

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Why? Well, I was out of hummus…and wanted to make hummus…but then saw a V-Con recipe for white bean aioli. Okay. So then I wanted chickpea balls of sorts. And was too lazy for both. So I still did both…but the lazy girl’s way. Are you following this?

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I definitely had a driver error with the breadcrumbs. The crackers got nice and crumby, but I should have processed the bread longer. It was a bit chunky, and as such, didn’t stick as well.

Between that and the fact that my skillet is warped and all the oil went to the bottom left corner, my “frying of the eggplant” was a bit of a still-delicious fail.

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Whatever. All that matters is how good it still tasted. I love the aioli. And the aioli balls. And the final eggplant product. And…everything.

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Note: I have refused to make my own hummus because I am 100% committed to Cedar’s. I know I’ll never be able to produce something so creamy and flavorful, so I don’t try. I figured making aioli was a good almost-hummus. I don’t keep tahini around, anyway.

White Bean Aioli

Adapted from Veganomicon

  • 1 can small white beans, drained
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 1/2 t. sea salt
  • pinch ground pepper
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional, to taste)
  • 2 T. sundried tomato pesto (I like Bella Sun Luci)
  • 2 T. basil oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

In a small frying pan over medium heat, heat the oil and pesto and then add in the garlic, lightly browning it. Meanwhile, in a blender, combine beans, lemon juice, sea salt and peppers. Blend until smooth. Add in the oil, pesto and garlic. Blend until smooth.

White Bean Aioli Balls

  • 1/3 c. white bean aioli
  • 3 T. breadcrumbs (I used home-made that were rather course)
  • 1 T. vital wheat gluten
  • 1/8 c. diced scallion

Combine all ingredients. Roll into balls by the tablespoon and bake at 350* for 35 minutes on a sprayed baking sheet. They should be browned on the bottom.

This recipe only makes about 6 -  but could easily be doubled. I just wasn’t sure if it would work!

Breaded Eggplant

  • 1/3 c. Kashi Fire-Roasted Veggie Crackers
  • 1 slice whole wheat bread, toasted
  • 1/2 of a large eggplant, peeled and sliced into 1/2” thick rounds
  • salt
  • 1 T. flax + 3 T. warm water
  • 1 T. olive oil

Place the eggplant on a paper towel or strainer and sprinkle with salt. Set aside and prepare breadcrumbs: blend crackers and toasted bread until very fine.

In a small bowl, stir together flax and water.

Begin heating olive oil in nonstick pan. Dip eggplant slices first in flax egg, then in breadcrumbs. Fry in olive oil and repeat until all the slices are browed on both sides. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes at 350*

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Uh-yuhm.

Do you make your own hummus or buy it?

25 Comments

Filed under dinner, recipe, vegan

It’s All the Rage

There are two things running rampant in blog-ville these past few days.

One, pumpkin.

And two, a pesky little thing we’ll call the MC article. Lets talk about pumpkin first. Pumpkin is a lot happier.

So, brew yourselves some coffee…

…and lets discuss how to go through a can of pumpkin in just one day. Yes – that’s right. I’m sort of bummed. I usually prefer the smaller cans because the big cans are…just too much pumpkin all at once. And now I don’t even have pumpkin left to have overnight oats with tomorrow. Nice going, Jess.

Apparently, I was really into “tutorial-type” pictures today.

If you bear with me through them all, I’ll show you a Teddie video tomorrow. Don’t get your hopes up, though. We’re not doing anything, I just show you him trying to eat a carrot for two minutes and forty seconds.

Anyways. We’re gonna make pumpkin pancakes with an apple compote type topping. Yes, I said pancakes. I was feeling adventurous.

Start by chopping up a nice, fresh, crisp, local apple, and sautee it in some almond milk, cinnamon and a teensy drizzle of maple syrup over low heat while you prepare everything else. If you’re good, the timing will be impeccable, I promise you.

And meanwhile, mix together 1/4 c. quick oats, 3 T. WW flour, 2 T. oat bran, 2 T. raisins, baking powder, 1/4 c. pumpkin, 1/2 t. cinnamon, 1/4 t. nutmeg, 1/2 T. molasses, 1/2 c. almond milk, 1/4 c. pumpkin puree, and a chia egg and pour by 1/4 c. scoops into a preheated non-stick pan sprayed with olive oil spray. Or coated with real oil, whatever.

I know, I know. Teflon and spray oils, I’m surprised I’m still kickin’.

Whilst those are cookin’ (cause they take forever, and reminded me why waffles are so. much. more. convenient.) take your vitamins…

…and make the prized peanut butter sauce. It’s quite simple. Like sunshine and spaghetti.

I currently have a big jug of Canadian maple syrup, though. It was an accident, I swear. Please don’t throw me out to spend the night with the horses, please don’t!

I just mush-mix about a tablespoon or so of peanut buttah with maybe double or triple the amount of kefir, and a lil’ drizzle of maple sizzurp.

Don’t forget to keep stirring your apples!

Don’t forget to flip your pancakes!

You could probably make four normal sized ones. I, however, grew too impatient for that and just made the last one really huge.

And toasted the first two while I waited. Please tell me I’m not alone and you guys toast your pancakes, too. So good!

Add some raisins to your apples in the last few minutes or so! They pucker up and…well, who doesn’t like apples, cinnamon, and raisins?! You cook it until the liquid is just about gone and/or the apples are soft. You can add more milk if you haven’t reached the desired consistency yet.

And plate it all up!

These obviously aren’t your typical pancakes – they’re like oatmeal in the middle, all mushy, pumpkinny, and yummy – which was just what I was going for! If you want a really excellent “real pancake” recipe, however, might I suggest this one?

It still doesn’t feel like “pumpkin season” yet, and so I was apprehensive about breaking out the pumpkin – but once I did, there was, apparently, no stopping me.

When I came home from the barn, I had to fix up a pumpkin green monster!

Topped with wheat germ, pepitas, and figs with a slice of toast and cashew butter.

And then, I baked.

I baked pumpkin birdseed bars, of course! Except, after the fact, they’re more like gingerbread birdseed bars, but I’m not complaining. It made me realize – why hadn’t I thought to make gingerbread?! Sure, I made ginger ones (which, by the way, my mom brought to work and told me her co-worker wants the recipe! I was flattered.) but that differs from gingerbread.

Combine 1/4 c. rolled oats, 1/4 c. puffed millet, 1/4 c. pepitas, 1/8 c. chia seeds, 1/8 c. poppyseeds, 1/8 c. chopped walnuts, 1/8 c. sunflower seeds, 1/8 c. protein powder, 1/4 c. raisins, 1 t. cinnamon, and 1/2 t. nutmeg

…and then play with molasses. I paid good money for this organic, fair trade molasses! …and was unashamedly mesmerized by how gooey and dark it was!

In a smaller bowl, combine 1/4 c. milled flaxseed, 1/4 c. pumpkin puree, and 1/8 c. blackstrap molasses.

Mix it all up…

…and then combine it with the dry ingredients. It won’t be easy at first, but neither is life. I’m just prepping you for the real world.

You might need a little more moisture – that’s okay, just pour in 1-2 T. of unsweetened almond milk. You’d rather them be too wet than too dry! Unless you’re…different.

And heck, now that you mention it, some ginger syrup would taste pretty fine, too! Just a drizzle will do.

Before anyone asks – no, by technical definition, this is not a “bar pan.” It is to me, though, so it will continue to be called that by moi.

It is, however, a mini loaf pan. It’s the equivalent of an extra large muffin pan, I think.

Make sure you press them down really, really good! Sort of press and smooth, ya know?!

Bake them for 10-15m at 375*. More for crunch, less for…goop? Whatever floats your boat.

I think I did 13 minutes, and have a wonderfully moist yet still “bar-y” texture.

Yes, 13 minutes. That’s  a big deal for me, considering when cooking things I prefer to go in multiples of five.

Believe it or not, I did more with my life than bake pumpkin today. Aside from playing with Teddie and the other ponies, doing homework, and getting in some twerkin’ out, my big bargain buys came from SmartPak.

Why yes, yes I do jump at the chance to save 90%. This jacket was originally $236 (honestly – who pays that?!) and I paid $24. Oh, yes. And the vest, too. I had to.

But, continuing on in our practices of pumpkinism, lets make pumpkin baked gobbletti! Gobbletti (or gobetti? I don’t know) is a form of pasta, if you’re scratching your heads. This was based on a Veganomicon recipe. It’s my “I don’t feel like dirtying dishes and want to get more reading done rather than stand over the stove” version.

Nuke a couple handfuls of baby spinach in a large bowl until it’s slightly wilted. Stir in 3/4 c. pureed pumpkin, 1/4 c. chopped red pepper, 2 T. diced red onion, a generous pinch of nutmeg, 1 t. date sugar, generous 1/2 c. black beans, salt, maple pepper, and ground black pepper.

Thin it with water (1/2 c.?) and stir in your pastaaa. I love this shape! Shape really is everything.

Cover, and bake at 375* for 45 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked.

I topped it with some dried sage, chopped walnuts, and paprika. It was lovely. But apparently I was too eager to eat it to take a good picture.

I made a double batch, though – maybe tomorrow I will.

Or not.

Anyways. This post was needlessly picture heavy, sorry about that. Now onto something a little more serious that I’ll preface with this: I was, and am still not, one to get involved in drama-rama. All through high school and still now, I don’t really care about who said what and she said that. I don’t keep grudges, I don’t retaliate, I try not to get too upset. Life is too short for that junk. When I read the Marie Claire article that I’m sure you’ve all heard of, my heart hurt for those bloggers. I just can never understand when people are downright mean.

I’m not going to defend them (Not only have they done it quite eloquently thmselves, but I don’t know them) because it’s not my job. In fact, sure – the article raises a good point, though quite arguably, one that could have shown both sides of blogging… because here’s the positive: it can educate for the better, and counter against disordered eating, too. I am only where I am now because of these blogs. The media sure as heck didn’t have anything to do with it. Blogs have done more for me than the public and media has, and media is far more commonly seen than the majority of the health blogs out there. When I first started blogging, I was all about “shortcuts.” Sugar free maple syrup, because obviously chemicals are better than real food. Stevia, because of course any form of calories from sugar were the devil. Oil alternatives, because of course there’s no such thing as healthy fat.

Note the sarcasm. When we go through the grocery store aisles, see commercials on TV, and see advertisements in magazines, it’s all low-cal, low-fat, sugar-free, fat-free “food substitutes.” I don’t know about you, but that’s not what I see from the majority of blogs I read. And if I read one that I don’t agree with, I don’t have to read it. Ahh, the wonders of that cute little red “X” in the top right corner.

So, that’s that. I wasn’t going to say anything, but I feel like by not, I am turning a blind eye. So yes, I understand that while the article may raise a valid point about some blogs, I also understand that when it comes to the blogs in question, I’ve never been more inspired to become the best “me.”

And that’s that. So – what’s your favorite pumpkin dish?!

36 Comments

Filed under breakfast, cooking, dinner, foodblog, health, health food, lunch, recipe

Hit or Miss

We all know food can tend to be a hit or miss. This is especially true when it comes to trying new products or just trying a different brand of the same product.

And we all know there’s nothing worse than excitedly digging into something new only to be let down. Okay – maybe it’s worse that we then have a whole jar/bottle of whatever that is nasty.

Breakfast: HIT!! Base: 1/2 mashed banana, ~1/2 c. quick oats, 1/2 c. almond milk, chia seeds, cinnamon (and lots of it.) Vanilla chobani mixed in in the morning.

It’s hard to ever know for sure what you’re getting into with new stuff, too – just because one person loves it doesn’t mean you will, and just because they hate it doesn’t mean you will.

Topped this morning with peanut butter sauce, raisins, walnuts, wheat germ, and maple syrup. And some mo' banana.

I think a good case in point is that Banana peanut butter I picked up the other week. I was so excited about it at first, but now I find myself using more and more of it just because I want it gone already so I can move on to the good stuff. Luckily – I can’t really taste it’s plasticy taste when it’s made into a peanut butter sauce or birdseed bars.

HIT! Store-brand peanut butter!

Ironically, “the good stuff” is just $3.69 Price Chopper brand organic crunchy peanut butter. Who’s a thought?! I’m also loving locally made jams as well as random dented can store finds like this Holiday jam.

MISS: Once Again Sunflower Seed Butter.

Another recent disappointment? This Once Again Sunflower Seed butter. I had high hopes – I mean, give me a spoon and a jar of sunflower butter and I’m a happy girl. I love it even more than peanut butter, even though (and I just realized this) you rarely see it on this blog. Usually I buy the Full Circle brand, though Sunbutter is just as good. The only brand the co-op had was Once Again – but it’s oddly gritty and salty? Not a fan. I can’t wait for it to be over so I can buy some of the good stuff! It does get brownie points for having a really cute mascot, though.

Lunch: HIT!! And I thought the wraps I've been having are the best wraps ever...add tempeh to the mix, and you'll be in heaven!!

I grilled the tempeh on the panini press before wrapping it in a homemade pesto wrap with tomato “sauce” (leftover from last night), garlic hummus, feta, and mozzarella, and panini’d away. So. dang. good.

MISS.

I’ll probably get tomatoes thrown at me for this, but this Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla was a gigantic miss for me. I might as well have been pouring water over my cereal, except this might have been worse.

This was the first almond milk I’d ever had, back when healthy eating was hardly much of a passion. It was gross to me then and made me think all almond milk was gross, and it still is. I think it made my tongue even go a little tingly.

HIT!

This (sweetened) original Silk Pure Almond, however? ding, ding, ding, we have a winner! Even though I’m not a fan of really sweet things, the Almond Breeze was just not doin’ it for me. I don’t find this milk to be too sweet, and I can use it in sweet or savory baking and/or cooking.

I’ll take the bit of added sugar if it means enjoyment! I should note – I do enjoy the original sweetened Almond Breeze. The deciding factor of whether I get Silk or Almond Breeze is dependent on which store I’m in and which is cheaper. Usually, Almond Breeze is cheaper only by a quarter or two, but is only in one store I sometimes go to.

HIT!

I dusted the date brownies from yesterday with some confectioner’s sugar to sweeten them up a bit for work. They were enjoyed! Although one boss said they needed more chocolate…crazy, if you ask me.

HITS!

The Organic Whey and Tera’s Whey are both great powders, but I’m thinkin’ The Organic Whey takes the ultimate cake. It’s unsweetened, unflavored, organic, and rBGH free…you can do whatever your little heart desires with it! Tera’s is great – but it’s already flavored and sweetened. Good for when you’re mixing it with unsweetened vanilla almond milk or when you want your bars to be very vanilla-y, but not if you’re aiming for a certain flavor. Other than bourbon vanilla, that is.

And, if you click here and enter your e-mail, you can get on the list for all sorts of big specials and savings!! I’m always getting emails for 3 pouches for $99, free shipping, and so on and so on. And neat tips!

Reasons to be careful and research your protein powders before purchase:

Reason #1 Whey protein comes from milk. If the milk contains growth hormones, antibiotics or pesticides then the resulting whey also contains these harmful ingredients. 99% of whey protein available today comes from milk that contains all three harmful elements.

Reason #2 Whey loses most of its natural goodness when it is processed using acids or high temperatures. Most major protein brands sell whey which is acid-processed because that is the most cost-effective method for industrial production. The companion nutrients in whey-things like lactoglobulin- are very tender and are destroyed in this processing.

Reason #3 Protein companies then add artificial/natural flavors and sweeteners to mask the strong taste of chemicals present in whey after it is subjected to industrial processing.

Reason #4 In the whey business, all companies buy whey from blenders who source it from the cheapest source in the world at that moment. Whey protein companies don’t know where their whey is coming from and therefore, can’t tell consumers where it is coming from or how was it processed.

HIT!

Both my mom and I love these birdseed bars!

HIT!

And I’m loving my new water bobble, too. It’s a water bottle with a filter!
I was a little bummed at first because I thought it was going to be as large as a Nalgene bottle, but the disappointment wore off when the coolness factor kicked in 😉 Although – surfing their site I see I just got one of the smaller ones :\ Bummer! Buying a larger one is in order. When you first start using it, don’t be surprised if it’s really difficult to draw from – once the filter gets a couple uses on it it’s not as much of a bother!
Here’s a great article!

HIT!

I’ve raved about this Organic Valley pourable yogurt before – but I’ll reiterate. I love it!


HIT!

HIT!

As well as Chobani Vanilla Greek Yogurt. I enjoy the plain, too - but since having Vanilla, I've been having a hard time switching back ;) And, last but not least...

DOUBLE WHAMMY!!

Uhhhh, yeah...I may or may not have been thinking of this waiting for me at home all afternoon ;) What are your recent hits and misses? (These opinions are my own and I am not being paid or reimbursed in any way. In fact, all of these weren't even sent to me except for The Organic Whey - but you all knew that already.)

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On Fire

It seems like the best dreams are the ones you’re having when something rudely interrupts your sleep.

There I was, in the middle of some-really-good-dream-that-I-can’t-remember when there was a tap-knock on my window and a “Jessie, open the door I forgot my keys!”

At first I was wondering if it was a trick and there was a creeper at my window (gosh, I have such optimistic faith in mankind! Everyone is out to get me, if you ask me.) but that sentiment didn’t last long and my next thought was “I’ll just pretend I’m sleeping and can’t hear her.”

Of course, immediately after that, my logical and honest mind kicked in.

Karma’s a biscuit, Jess. Open the door.

And so I opened the door for my dear mother. Mumbled a your-welcome. Burrowed back into my cocoon. Tried to remember the dream. Couldn’t. Woke up an hour and a half later anyways.

Fed the animals. And made these really good pancakes. I’ve made so many really good things today (I’m not blunt or anything) that I’d almost forgotten about these until I saw the pictures. Man…I’m on fiyuh today!

See, I’ve had various flours in my cupboard for some time, and yet – usually I just resort to whole wheat or white whole wheat. No, these aren’t white bean flour waffles – though maybe I’ll try that next (speaking of which – I used that in dinner! I surprise even myself some days.) These are coconut flour waffles! I nixed the wheat bran and WW flour in the usual recipe and instead used a heaping tablespoon of coconut flour and also added in some shredded coconut. This itty bitty change made a huge difference!  Texture wise…they were so much lighter and daintier. Whereas the usual waffles I make are pretty dense and…chewy? inside – these were more like your typical waffle.

It makes me want to play with flour every day. Or not. What’s your favorite flour?

This is irrelevant, but I'm throwing it in there for those of you who picture-read...I'm getting a little wordy, aren't I? This is from Sunday, when I hopped on Jiggy for a bit.

Afterwards (well, a while afterwards) I went for – get this – a runwalk. I’m digging them these days. It was sort of a crappy day so it was my way of telling the weather “alright, figure out what you’re going to do today so I can decide when I’m going to see the cutest pony in the world.”

My biggest motivation:

Don’t judge. I have…eclectic tastes. I’m not usually a rap fan unless it’s Jay-Z or rock-type rap stuff. And watching rap videos makes e really angry because I hate all the corny hand gestures. Like, seriously…you’d be a lot cooler if you didn’t try to look cool.

What makes me even more annoyed is driving down the street and seeing kids walking all alone and doing the same hand signs. I know, I know – I should just mind my own business. But they should stop doing weird things with their hands and use them to keep their pants from dropping to their ankles, because for some reason their belt isn’t doing the part.

Hi, my name is Jess and I might as well be your grandma.

On a different note but still a musical note…this is currently my favorite song of all-time.

I am no longer an emo teenager, but sometimes the music I listen to might suggest otherwise. I have no shame, nor should you.

WOW TANGENT ALERT. Back to weather…The weather didn’t really make up its mind so I went to see Teddiekins once I was done and we got rained on so I had to ride inside and holy run-on sentences I was so proud of him. It sounds silly, but since I didn’t want my saddle to get wet I decided it was time to face my “indoor fear.” Last we rode in the indoor it ended on a “You want me to move? Oh, thanks but no thanks.” sort of note before I took him outside. So even though all I did was walk around for ten minutes or so – he was good every. single. second. He was even offering to come round and was so. light. in. the. bridle. I wasn’t going to ask that much of him – but he offered, so I took it. While we were on a roll I threw in some leg yielding and side passing and he was a saint.

I wanted to reward him by taking him for a little canter in the meadow since it stopped raining but halfway there it started nearly downpouring so I just quickly trotted back to the barn.

I am a wimp.

And I like broccoli. And eggs…and cornbread…hummus…mustard. You know the deal.

And then I got to baking. I could have done fun things like business homework reading, but the monotony of baking was just singing my name, you know? 😉 In all honesty, though, so I’m not being a bad influence – I read the whole chapter for my intro to Business class that was assigned while dinner was cooking. Now I’m set for the week! Beat that.

These are, I think, my best bars yet. Which sounds silly because I’m always saying that…but I think I’m right this time. I also realize it’s silly because bars are really personal and I’ve come to the conclusion that a. you can throw anything you like in a bowl and bind it together somehow and make a granola bar, and b. people don’t follow granola bar recipes to a T because they adjust it so it works for them.

I’m going to go against everything I just said and share this recipe anyway. This is my take at making my own 9-Bars. I couldn’t be happier with the result – though I will say, for someone who has so many nuts…

In my defense, I'm not hoarding all the marcona almonds. One of those has cashews, but I those containers are wayyy easier to get into than the bulk-bin bags.

…I don’t have anywhere near enough seeds!! These would be (in the words of the fabulous Freya) ace with the addition of some more seeds (namely, pumpkin) which I will keep in mind for next time…but for now, they’re thisclose to being ace.

Birdseed Bars (name courtesy of Mama Exposures)

makes 5-6

Part One:

  • 2 T. sunflower kernels
  • 2 T. Ruth’s Chia Goodness**
  • 2 T. (heaping) chopped walnuts
  • 2 T. sesame seeds
  • 1/2 T. poppy seeds
  • 1/4 c. puffed millet
  • 1/4 c. + 1 T. rolled oats
  • 1 T. The Organic Whey
  • 4-5 large Medjool dates, chopped
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon

**I used Ruth’s Chia Goodness because a. I don’t have much plain chia seed left, and b. I liked that it has pumpkin seeds in it. Seedy is what I was goin’ for, here! You could easily get away with using regular chia seed – but maybe use a leetle less.

Combine all of the Part One ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Move on to part two:

Part Two:

  • 1/4 c. milled flaxseed
  • 1 T. pumpkin butter
  • 2 T. maple syrup
  • 1 T. molasses
  • 1 1/2 T. peanut butter
  • 2 T. almond milk

Combine all Part Two ingreds:

and then mix wet and dry.

Press down into a greased bar pan (teehee) being sure to smooth down firmly. I find using the back of a spoon works great.

And then bake for about 15 minutes in a preheated 350* oven. Admit how much you love me for just telling you now that your oven should be preheated.

numnumnum good! They’d be bomb with figs, too. ‘Cause I like to get figgy with it…you know.

If you don’t have pumpkin butter, don’t fret – either use a little more maple sizzurp or some other jam that would go with the seedy flavor. I love the addition of the molasses…I needed a little more syrupy consistency to have enough liquid, but knew if I added more than 2 T. maple syrup it’d be too sweet. Molasses was just the ticket!

Next I thought I’d make some goodies for work. I have a freezer full of bran muffins, so I didn’t necessarily want to make something for me, and my mom’s got a lot of [store bought] sweets so I didn’t really want more dessert-type stuff here to just go to waste.

I love Anja’s blog, and turn to her for sweets recipes that are decadent but not necessarily the typical sugar overload goodies. Just because I’m making something for somebody else doesn’t mean I need to throw my own healthy eating habits out the window. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with real brownies, but making surprisingly good treats for being healthy is part of my charm, non?! I like to surprise people.

I’m not usually much of a brownie fan – but these date brownies certainly piqued my interest. I followed it to a T, though cut back a hair on the dates. She mentioned it was very sweet with the dates, so I figured it’d be okay.

Lookit how monstrous these are!

Anyways – I even made a hot water bath to melt the chocolate. Now you know it’s serious. I don’t think I’ve ever done that before, except for…watching my mom do it. My carelessness almost ruined it, I think, as I was using a bowl that had water in it. I noticed the dangerous droplet just before the chocolate started melting it, though – and heard my mom’s voice ringing in my head…”never have a dirty bowl when melting your chocolate!”

I don’t know if that’s real or not, but I switched the bowl.

These brownies scare me. They are so dark. I am not much of a brownie person, though…so I don’t really know how good they are. To me, they’re a little “meh.” Next time, I’d add a little bit of oil. I think it might make them more fudgy, and a little less cakey. Although, there probably won’t be a next time. Not because they’re bad, but because I’m not a brownie person.

I’m still waiting for Henry to try one to tell me if they’re work-acceptable. There’s nothing worse than trying someone’s homemade goodies and thinking they’re awful, but having to act all nice about it.

I don’t want to be that person.

I asked my mom, but she’s the same as me. I guess that’e where I get it from.

New Developing: He just tried one. They’re good. Now you have it! Oh yeah, and I added walnuts. I think Anja did too, just forgot to say so in the recipe.

What’s your favorite dessert/sweet? What about your favorite treat to make for others?

Anyways. I spent all afternoon afterwards cleaning up the mess the ponies made with their hay. Since it got all rained on and was the last of their round bale, they made a huge mess and took forever to clean up.

Will not complain. Will thank them for giving me guns this summer. Have you bought your tickets yet? cause that wet hay is heaaaavvv-y. (harrrdee harr, harr!!)

Mo’s Pasta Alla Formiana has been screaming my name ever since she posted it. Having time to prepare it, a mom to help eat it, lots of tomatoes to use up and business homework to read while it was baking – tonight was as good as any other.

Rather than using canned tomatoes, I just blended two huuuge ones from our garden with the garlic. I also didn’t use any butter (I had faith, Mo, I did! But I didn’t have any butter). Or any measuring spoons, for that matter. Oh, and black beans for the protein…so I pretty much skipped “part two” and just added black beans to the pasta and tomato mixture. It might sound strange, but it worked. Topped with some mozzzzz.

I became so enamored with y business reading (insert eyeroll here) that I baked it a little too long – but even as so, this was fan. taz. tic. Hellloooo, baked pasta, I will be seeing you again soon. And I don’t mean the leftovers for dinner tomorrow, I mean this is going to be the definition of my winter. Please and thank you.

Go make it. You’re welcome.

And with that, I am out…here is my final sentiment:

I lub yoo all!

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Filed under breakfast, cooking, dinner, foodblog, health, health food, lunch, oatmeal, recipe