Tag Archives: pony

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

Reasons…

This post is probably going to be really boring.

Just a warning.

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Why?

Because I’m just going to count the reasons why I love my baby boy.

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1. He loves Kashi Cinnamon Harvest even more than I do. Ever since I started feeding him some, he’s become wicked greedy for his cookies…shaking his head, flopping his lips, giving me that “Aren’t I priceless??” look. I think he’s been disappointed lately because he’s back to plain old Rounders until I open up my next box of Kashi.

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2. He still loves me, even though I look like a monkey on his back. I just want to shake myself in these pictures and scream “sit up!! sit up!!

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3. He’s afraid of the mysterious cat that roams around the fields, but doesn’t care when I train goes by right near us.

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4. He doesn’t really “get” the hot horses that expend energy by just galloping full-speed everywhere. He’d rather sit and watch them. While he eats.

Atta boy, Tedday!

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5. He gives me kisses while I warm his bit up in my hands, and then licks my face. We’re gross together.

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6. He stands politely while my mom takes a cute headshot, even though she takes a cute picture of me blowing my nose while she’s at it.

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7. He watches me and “helps” me clean out his hut. Either that or he’s laughing in his little brain, thinking about how much I’m wrapped around his little hoof.

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8. He’s just about got canter down pat in the outdoor. I’ve got my fingers crossed he has the same mentality in the indoor when we ride in it next!

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9. He’s really good at finding things. Take, for instance, the one miniscule burdock bush that even I cannot find. And just shoves his head right in.

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10. If a depression strike and I can’t afford to feed him, he’ll stay fat on air. And he’s a good forager!

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11. He looks like a fuzzy, wooly teddy bear with his winter woolies on!

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12. He’s nice and low to the ground.

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13. He’s too darn cute for words.

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Filed under teddie

Gingerbread Muffins

I’m really glad everyone enjoyed yesterday’s post!! I enjoyed writing it, too – I was actually a little surprised that I had to reel myself in a few times. Before moving onto a normal post, one thing Daniel pointed out that I should mention is that ketones actually occur when carbohydrate intake is less than 50-100g/day, not when protein intake is too high, which is what I had said. Another thing I forgot to point out is that yes – ketones are in our body naturally. The only difference is that if we’re eating a diet that is well balanced, everything in our body should be relatively well-balanced, too. So when there are carbohydrates consumed only in minor amounts, less fatty acids are being broken down and excess ketones build.

I was sure I was missing something 😉

But anyways. This weekend has been busy! Good busy, but still busy. Yesterday morning I had  a senior portrait to shoot bright and early…well, it was supposed to be bright and early. I ended up having to wait for the girl an extra half hour which was sort of frustrating, but I dealt.

I was probably so understanding because my breakfast was simply outstanding. It must have put me in a good mood 😉 Well that and I’m pretty easy-going, anyways 😛 I ended up taking so many pictures on this shoot – I am still going through them. I don’t do much usually, but she specified she wanted a “scene-vintage” type senior picture, so I’m doing some funky editing with color and such on some of them.

Since I was parked within walking distance of the co-op, there was no way I could just not go. I mean, hello! I was so stoked to see they had this coconut milk kefir! Ironically – I usually hate strawberry flavored stuff.

I was debating as to whether I wanted to try it for a good five minutes, literally standing there with a bottle of kefir in one hand, and this in the other.

I’d put one back, then change my mind.

I think the people there thought I was crazy.

Obviously, you see which I chose 😉 I think I just have a bad mental image of strawberry flavored things since I’d remember strawberry flavored ice cream, yogurt, etc. taste so artificial-like. I tend to forget that stuff like this doesn’t taste artificial because it uses real fruit!

So I was quite pleased with the taste. I had it over some of the best waffles I’ve ever made…mashed banana oat bran. It’s really good on its own, too.

That said, I really hope the co-op gets the plain or at least vanilla in stock…strawberry is good, but I doubt I’ll always want strawberry.

Especially with my ginger-kick! Speaking of which…

I ran completely out of ginger, but guilt-tripped my mom into getting me some while we were at the store 😛 She made me return a bunch of nasty cans and bottles for her.

As in, that she finds. It doesn’t sound too gross…but they’re not all rinsed out, the bag smells, and the beer slime gets all over your hands.

Though it is sort of comical as little old ladies watch as you feed the machine with gigantic empty 40s.

Anyways. Ginger kick. With my new ginger, I could now attempt gingerbread muffins. I guess attempt is an unfair adjective, though – I succeeded, after all!

Seeing as how it was basically impossible to find a recipe that did not require at least a cup of sugar, I decided to just wing it based on a banana bread recipe, because I also had some ripe bananas to use up.

Gingerbread Muffins

yields 6 muffins

  • 3/4 c. white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 c. oat bran
  • 1 t. ground ginger
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. ground clove
  • 1/4 c. blackstrap molasses
  • 1/3 c. + 1 T. almond milk
  • 1 medium-large ripe banana
  • 1/4 c. raisins
  • 1/4 c. walnuts

Preheat oven to 350*

Combine the flour, oat bran, ginger, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and clove in a large bowl. Set aside, and in a medium bowl, mash the banana with a fork. Stir in the molasses and almond milk.

Add the wet to the dry, and stir until just combined. Fold in the walnuts and raisins.

Spoon into sprayed muffin tins and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

And if you want to play a trick on someone, tell them it’s chocolate!

Okay, that’s just a little bit mean.

Next time, though, I’d love to add fresh cranberries rather than dried raisins. ooooh! ahhhhh!

I also tried my first carnival squash this weekend! I was expecting it to taste a lot like an acorn squash, but it’s actually so much better. A lot sweeter than I was expecting (because, as I said, I was expecting acorny!) but purely delicious, especially with cheater baked beans.

I tried a different baking method, too – rather than baking face-down in a pie plate with water for an hour, I just put it on a cookie sheet and baked it face-up at 450* for…I don’t know how long.

I will definitely buy this guy again! It made for a great easy dinner last night, and easy lunch today – which is saying something, because you know I love me a good sandwich for lunch!

like this. My mom broke out the “let it snow” placemats already. Uhhh, let’s not.

Anyways. This was a “grilled cheese,” the cheese being humnut cheese! It was just what I was craving.

It was, however, the last of my bread. I really enjoyed that loaf of honey whole wheat, but I wanted to try something new this time.

My initial plan was to make a bread that required I be of legal drinking age for the key ingredient, but we didn’t have any in the house, so I settled on spelt bread. I really love spelt – but you might not know that because I can’t remember the last time I bought a loaf/made a loaf.

Spelt is similar to wheat in appearance. However, spelt has a tougher husk than wheat, which may help protect the nutrients in spelt. Spelt flour has a somewhat nuttier and slightly sweeter flavor than whole wheat flour. Spelt contains more protein than wheat, and the protein in spelt is easier to digest.
It is that nuttier flavor that makes me really love it, I think!
Except…every time I’ve made spelt flour, I get a flat-top! I followed this recipe with some tweaks.
Next time, I’d just bake it for 35 minutes or so at 400* rather than 15 minutes at 480* first, and then 45 minutes at 380*. I think the high temperature first gave it a really crunchy crust. While the inside is still moist and flavorful, it’s really hard to cut through!

And hey..might as well wrap this up with a quasi-fail, right?!

I wanted to try making my own “KIND” bars – but my binding method needs tweaking 😛 The flavor is delicious – it’s a mix of cashews, dates, puffed millet, date molasses, flax and sunflower butter (well, primarily) – but I couldn’t get them out of the pan in one piece. I formed some of the “scraps” into balls!

This blurb is horsey, read or picture-read, just giving you a warning!

And I know, I know – it’s been ages since you’ve seen Teddie photos! My mom hasn’t come out with me recently, but she wanted to come see him this morning. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to go (since I haven’t been on Sundays) but then I realized I got all of my homework done yesterday and there was no way I was going to just sit and edit photos all day.

I’m so glad we went, though – it was a nice enough (by that I mean it’s getting too cold already!!) morning and since we got dumped with a tooon of rain the past two days, I knew we’d have to work in the indoor. I wasn’t sure how he’d be, so I was more willing to go knowing I’d have help available on the ground if necessary.

See, I took a lesson with A last week and we worked on going forward – meaning, hello, Teddie, yes leg means go! I’m fairly certain he knows this, just likes to try and get away with not doing it – namely, in the indoor. So the second he’d pull his “I’m going to stop” move, she’d be right there and quick little pop him in the butt with a lunge whip.

Before you go calling PETA, we weren’t beating him into submission, merely politely reinforcing the rules.

And he’s actually been really good since then! He’ll still randomly try it one or two times – usually if we’re crossing through the middle of the ring – but it’s not a huge issue. Knock on wood. We now have a nice, forward marching walk and trot. I was surprised at how much he’s stepping up in some of these pictures, actually!

I’m seeing our mini-dressage pony potential coming through again, which makes me happy 🙂 He’s such a stinker…love him!

And on a completely unrelated note…

I also loved tonight’s dinner.

But, since I’m one for cliffhangers lately, you’ll just have to wait and see what it is. I promise it’s pretty ridiculously yummy, though!

What was your highlight of the weekend?

Does anyone know of a good “nutrition tracker” or recipe-calculator website? I have to track three days of eating to analyze for nutrition for class…and while I’m really excited for the project, it’s also going to be a bit of work considering how much I make from scratch. I’m trying “SparkPeople” at the moment, but I’m not sure I trust all of the calculations since some of the foods are entered by users.

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

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

You know how, when you google things, google always has suggestions for you? Sometimes it’s really fun, especially when you’re looking for some sort of recipe but you don’t really know what. That’s sort of what happened when I googled “spaghetti squash recipe.” I mean, I still have 1/2 (well, now 1/4) of the thing left – might as well try something new!

Just remember the lesson you were taught in grade school: never judge a book by its' cover! It's tastier than it looks 😉

When spaghetti squash casserole showed up as a “you might have meant,” I hopped on that train, and found this recipe. After a few tweaks here and there, I came up with the following. The intention was for it to be a one-time meal…but by the time I was done I realized there was no way in hay I was going to eat it all in one sitting! I tend to do that…

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

serves 2

  • 1/4 of a large spaghetti squash, cooked

To prepare your spaghetti squash, simply microwave it on high for ten minutes in a microwave-safe dish. Fill the dish with enough water to come up about 1/2″ along the sides of the squash. The squash should be face down. Allow it to cool, and then pull the strands apart with a fork.

Forking.

You could bake it, too - but this saves a good 30 minutes!

  • olive oil – to coat bottom of your pan
  • 2 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 1/4 of a medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 large portabella cap, chopped
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 t. fresh oregano, chopped
  • 2-3 medium basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 t. fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a nonstick pan. Add in all your veggies except for the spinach and the herbs.

Once the onions are beginning to turn translucent, add in the herbs and spinach. When the spinach is cooked down, shut off the heat and let sit while you prepare the next step.

  • 1 T. milled flax
  • 3 T. almond milk

Combine and set aside.

  • 1/3 c. (heaping) garbanzo beans
  • 1 small slice bread, toasted
  • 2 T. fresh chives
  • 1 T. parmesan cheese

Whirl in a blender until you get the consistency of breadcrumbs.

AKA best breadcrumbs ever.

The final step:

Combine everything except the breadcrumbs in with the veggies and combine. Stir in a scant 1/4 c. grated smoked mozzarella**.

Your eyes aren't deceiving you - there are snap peas in there, too. I didn't mention it because I only left three in the bag (?) but you could easily add in some more veg!

And pour everything in a casserole dish. Top with the breadcrumby mixture.

And bake at 350* for about 35 minutes, or until the top is browning and it is set a bit.

**I specififed smoked mozzarella because it’s what I used – all I had on hand. Since it has such a noticeable flavor, I figured I would specify smoked. It actually adds a lovely flavor – but obviously you can use any sort of cheese/mozzarella!

______________________

So. What else have I been up to in the past 48 hours?

throwing hay (yesterday morning before work, no less. for some reason, my right thigh is really sore/tight from this. more than my arms, shoulders, back, anything…?


really good breakfasts (all vanity aside, though – i’m always up to that!)

Today's carrot cake waffles. I had to repeat them right away after having them Thursday, of course!

Yesterday's overnight oats with a white nextarine and a peanut butter sauce (PB & Organic Valley drinkable yog)

naughty ponies (yeah, go figure – after yesterday’s love story he decides to be a butt head again! and i’m a little worried he’s got something wrong with his eye! having a paranoid momma attack. in all actuality he wasn’t atrocious, just had a little temper tantrum towards the end when i wanted him to canter right lead. thinking i’ll be having the vet out about his eye, though…)


bun in the oven ponies (uhhh, yeah – so i’m just casually brushing Georgie, getting ready for a ride no less, when I see this:

I know this is a FOOD blog, but why is my mare BAGGED?!?!
yeah, so…not sure if my mom and i should be expecting a surprise one of these mornings. once again, the vet will be out about this, too. i know some mares bag up due to clover, but she has had none. )

relaxing ponies (i took Mel on a nice little ride this afternoon. it was nice to sit on a horse that probably wouldn’t do anything if you had a cougar drop on you – which is as reassuring as it is disgruntling)

green monstarrrrs

i tried making a heart. i failed.

red peppers!

a baby red pepper - it fell off the plant. but i was still proud of my homegrown baby!

really fantastic snacks

mmm - I'd forgotten how amazing these carrot cake larabars are! i'm rationing them until they show up in this area. thanks again for hookin' me up, rebekah!

i was practically laughing at my nuttiness (no pun intended) as i carefully put together different stuffed dates: one with cashews, half of one with a pecan, half with marcona almonds, half with peanuts, and half with a brazil nut. i loved them all - but i think the surprising winner was the brazil nut!

and now i have lots of blogs to read – so if you’ll excuse me, i need to go visit you 😛

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

Still Goin’

I’m still goin’ from the busy weekend and busy day…but only because I’m a glutton for punishment. I could have slept all day today if I so chose…but where’s the fun in that?

Instead, today, I relied on old standbys in the kitchen, prepping foodstuffs for the week.

There's something you haven't seen in a while.

First up once I got home from the barn, was bread. Those of you who have read me for a while now, know that a. I’m bad at making bread, and b. recently found the best bread ever. Those of you may also know that I was disappointed in my most recent loaf.

This encouraged me to give it another go. This recipe was my “victim.” I mean, c’mon…I was following a recipe straight from the bread machine book. There was no way I could fail.

Right?

We’ll see.

Chunkier Chunks of Energy - Oatmeal Raisin form!

Next up was an oatmeal raisin variation of my chunkier chunks of energy.

I’m pretty oatmeal raisin obsessed lately. I mean, lets think about it – it’s the perfect flavor! Not too sweet, warmth from the cinnamon, heartiness from the oat. Yes, please.

For this variation, I used honey rather than maple syrup, added a heaping 1/2 t. of ground cinnamon, a pinch of ground nutmeg, and 1/3 c. raisins instead of the papaya or coconut. I also used less honey than the 1/8 c. maple syrup. I thought they could do with less sweetness.

You know the recipe's a winner when it's made more than once in a matter of weeks.

I also put a bunch of split-open bananas that my mom brought home from work to good use in Amanda’s banana bread. I don’t think I’ve had a better banana bread experience yet! The girl’s a genius.

I baked in my toaster-oven again, and yielded two smallish sized loaves. Direct into the freezer after a couple of tastes and dessert for the fam 🙂

I’m all out of spelt flour, though – and subbed with white whole wheat. I also used honey rather than maple syrup, and peanut butter rather than coconut butter. And added – you guessed itraisins and pecans.

I also threw together my eggplant strata in a larger batch than last time, and some chickpea cutlets. You’ll see the strata soon – and I didn’t cook the cutlets yet. By then I was almost out of steam, and figure they’ll keep just fine if I bake/fry them as needed.

I resisted the urge for oatmeal raisin waffles for the plum that was screaming to be used.

So that was [part of] my afternoon – how did it all begin? Well, the waffle way of course! It is a Tuesday, after all.

Afterwards, though – it was of course Teddie time. I haven’t really gotten into detail as to what our “issues” are just because I haven’t had the time – but I’m hoping today was a step in the right direction.

Topped with banana, plum, maple syrup, cashews, and chia icing

On Saturday, he basically gave A and I the big middle finger when we asked him to do anything. Which is funny, because he warmed up amazing – wonderfully supple, if not a bit spooky, as I’d mentioned. Then it all went downhill. He’d just randomly slam on the brakes and kick out. After about 20 minutes of this, I was beginning to feel like I was really pushing my luck, so just hopped off with the intention to lunge his booty off. A walked in at the knick of time and offered to hop on.

As I mentioned – he was just as monstrous for her, and he really never got over whatever his issue was. He even nailed the wall a couple times. I hope it hurt.

She finally found an okay note to end on, though.

I bought my lunch at the same store I bought the horse's lunch today. Hah! Just kidding. Couldn't forget about Kaia though!

Sunday, I wasn’t looking forward to how it was going to go, but remained optimistic because that’s the attitude that gets you places. He wasn’t as bad – did fine at first, but still did the stopping thing. Rather than be a real brat, though – he’d just sort of stop, shuffle around without going forward, and then finally sigh and go. I kept it light, and when he’d gone around in an agreeable manner, took him for a walk down to the outdoor and around it a few times.

I'd been missing my Green Monster lunches. It'd been too long! For this one, I blended a banana, a peach, spinach, vanilla chobani, a couple of dates, and flax oil. Topped with quick oats, marcona almonds, dried apricots, peanut butter, and honey!

So then today I decided maybe it’s pain that’s causing him to act this way. I realize at his stage in training it’s very common for horses to test their limits, but I also want to make sure he’s not acting out because something is hurting him. While I’m pretty confident in my saddle fitting knowledge, I was wondering if maybe my saddle was pinching him a bit. Or, maybe he was just tired of the indoor (and working) and working without another horse. So, I tried him with my close contact saddle.

He was much better – would still test me but all he did was stop and with a little pop he’d resume his walk. We squeeked out a pretty agreeable trot, too, and then I hacked him around outside a bit.

So, long story short – maybe it’s my saddle, or maybe he just needed an attitude adjustment. I think it’s sort of a combination of green-ness (wanting to test his limits) and boredom. That and – Haflingers are practically known for being a bit lazy.

I had some of my strata on a bed of farmer's market lettuce with some Ragu and a big dollop of garlic hummus.

Ironically enough, my friend asked me if he could use me and Teddie for a “photo story” assignment he has for his photo class. So Thursday you’ll see some Teddie pictures! I told him his story might involve a bucking pony, but if you ask me – that’d make a pretty good story. I’ve always maintained that if I get dumped, I want it on film, you know? So we’ll see how it goes 😉

There was an ear of corn leftover from last night, and I claimed it before anyone else could. In typical Jess fashion, I enjoyed it with some butter, salt, and parmesan cheese.

Sorry this was such a horse-intensive post, but I just felt like even though only a couple of days had passed since I gave an update – a lot has been missed! That and, I’m always sharing the “glitz and glamour” of young horses, when in reality – training bumps always pop up. Usually, when you least expect it!

I was quite eagerly waiting for my bread to be done - and timed it so it was just as I was finishing dinner. Perfect! Now I had something to soak up the leftover "dressing" with.

But, while maybe Teddie hasn’t been smooth sailing the past couple of days, this lovely lady is doing great!

Georgie says Haiiii.

I’ve been working with her at least every other night, usually involving hopping on and walking around a bit. And my mom sat on Maya (tacked up) for the first time tonight!

They both seem like they’ve been handled a bit roughly, so we’re taking it slow. They’re both very affectionate and we’re really enjoying working with them, though! I can so picture Georgie as being a perfect little hunter pony. Maybe you wouldn’t think it from the pictures since she is…well, a Haflinger – but she’s got a beautiful, floaty trot and a naturally nice head carriage.

So – now that you’re all horsed out, I feel like I’ve finally caught up with life! I was terrible photographing anything other than my main meals that made it into my gullet today – whoopsies!

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

Eggplant Strata

I think this is my most blunt post-title thus far. I’m sort of proud.

Some housekeeping, before I forget:

  1. I am so so sorry if any new readers have left comments and I haven’t responded in any way, shape, or form. Something inspired me to go through my comments marked as “spam” automatically today, and found a bunch of legitimate comments and pingbacks. Whaaa?! Couldn’t quite figure it out myself, but I felt bad because some of them are from weeks ago!! So, check your “spam” every so often, kids!
  2. I loved reading everyone’s “if I’m being honest…” comments!! I forgot to mention it in the next days post. I think my favorite might have been Freya‘s:  she mentioned she had a dream where she peeled a peach…and when someone questioned the act, said “because Jess does.”
  3. I bought age-defying foundation today because apparently Revlon stopped making my favorite foundation. The closest I could find was this stuff called “instant age rewind.” I think I was unconsciously fascinated by the fact that it has goji berries in it. Hopefully I don’t look like a 5 year old tomorrow.
  4. Apparently in the state of Vermont, a “detour” means “ten minutes out of your way, but we’ll get you there eventually.”
  5. Apparently Vermont has a lot of diaper-rashed babies. I was looking for some for Teddie (apparently it helps keep the bugs out of their booty) and there was no store-brand stuff left on the shelves. The Desitin was too pricey for a “it might work, it might not” situation. Sorry buddy.
  6. Make the following eggplant strata STAT.

For dinner tonight, I whipped up this project based on Moosewood’s Eggplant Strata recipe. It is in Low-Fat Favorites, and while I kept the idea the same, I decided to switch up the flavors a bit. It’s great for a hot day, because it’s actually served cold, and the only cooking you need to do is broiling the eggplant – which can easily be done in a toaster oven. Not only that – but it gets better the longer it sits. Helllooo, leftovers.

Not to mention it’s mom-approved.

Eggplant Strata

adapted from Moosewood’s Low Fat Favorites

serves 2-4

Part One:

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 T. balsamic vinegar
  • salt

Cut off the ends of the eggplant so that it can stand up. Peel two of the sides off and discard, and then cut into 1/2″ thick strips. Arrange on a pan to broil them, sprinkling with salt and balsamic. Broil for about ten minutes on each side.

Meanwhile, prepare the fillings.

Part Two:

  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • lemon pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium clove garlic
  • salt (to taste – I didn’t add any because the beans are already pretty salty. your call.)
  • 1 t. olive oil

Combine all in a medium bowl and mash, or, if you’re feeling motivated, blend them in a blender or processor.

I preferred them having some chunks, though, and since the processor will be needed for the next step, didn’t feel like washing and drying in between. Call me lazy, it’s okay.

Part Two:

  • 1 1/2 T. goat cheese (I used Peppered goat cheese)
  • 3 T. feta cheese (I used tomato & basil feta)
  • 3 T. almond milk
  • 1/4 of a roasted red pepper
  • 2-3 leaves, chopped, of fresh basil
  • 1 medium clove garlic
  • 3 chopped sundried tomatoes (I used the dried kind, not in oil or rehydrated)

Microwave goat cheese for a couple seconds, just to get it softened. Add in the almond milk and feta, and whisk until combined.

Add in the remaining ingredients, and combine.

Part Three:

  • 1 medium Roma tomato, chopped
  • 7 basil leaves (small-medium sized)
  • 1 medium clove garlic
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Place all in a processor, and puree.

Putting it all together:

By the time all the fillings are made, your eggplant should be ready. Perfect timing!

Let the eggplant cool a bit, and then cut into approximately 1/2″ strips.

Line the bottom of a loaf pan with plastic wrap (this is the hardest part of the whole recipe. Does anyone else despise that stuff?) and then place in 1/3 of the eggplant slices, going parallel to the short sides of the pan.

I made sure the bottom layer (to be top layer) was pretty snug and cozy.

Press in all of the chickpea mash. I had some more roasted red peppers, so added those on top, too.

Layer on another third of the eggplant, remembering to go parallel to the short sides, and then all of the cheese mixture.

Spoon on the tomato mixture,…

and then the remaining eggplant slices. As you can see, my eggplant ended up being a bit small 😛

Place plastic wrap over the top, and press down firmly. If you have a pan to fit inside, place the pan on top.

And then let sit in the fridge for as long as you want, until you’re ready to eat. Moosewood’s suggests at least two hours, or even overnight. I only waited about an hour and it was still delicious.

To plate, just remove the top piece of plastic wrap, place a plate over the top, and quickly flip.

nom-licious!!

I enjoyed my portion over some local lettuce – hey, I was gonna have a salad, anyways. It made a great dressing!! And some is already waiting for me for tomorrow night. Perfff!

But dinner wasn’t the only exciting thing today. So was breakfast. Yes, yes – waffles, but in carrot cake form!

I can’t remember if I’ve made carrot cake waffles before, even though it’s one of my favorite oats concoction, even if I have gotten rather lazy when it comes to shredding carrots. Why does shredding carrots seem like such a chore to me?

I just used my usual waffle recipe, but added in one small shredded carrot, lots of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Oh and I’ve been getting rather forgetful and haven’t been using the applesauce lately. I think I could probably throw ice cream on my waffle maker and still get a waffle, though.

Okay, maybe not.

The funky-lookin’ drizzle stuff was an icing mix of almond milk, chunky peanut butter, and chia seeds. It was delicious…

as were the toppings, which was one chopped, peeled peach microwaved with a chopped Turkish fig and some maple sizzurp. The usual earth balance and ginger preserves were on thurr, too 🙂

aaaand, before I let you go, the funny comment of the day, said by a little girl just arriving at the barn as I was tacking Teddie up to ride:

Oh, good, you’re all done! Uh, not that I didn’t want you to ride…. (voice trails off)

I’d only met her one other time, and apparently Teddie left quite the impression – the one other time just happened to be Teddie’s first time seeing another horse in the ring with him at the same time…and he was a crazy man 😉 I think he wowed her with his gentlemanly manners today, though. His ground work is improving by miles, although he’s still like a five year old child who needs his binkie.

I can’t help but laugh: imagine me, middle of the ring, coaxing and trying a million different things to get an adorable pony to drop the leadrope, while he stands there as if there’s not a problem in the world. Hmph. Good thing he’s adorable.

On a positive note, I no longer hope to have the barn to myself just so I can get a ride in. Now if there’s other people riding, too – all the more fun! Of course, go figure – there’s never very many people around 😦 I think this was our busiest week yet.

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

It’s Raining Ponies

Cousin It found its way into our backyard today:

That’s a lot of hair. But, before I introduce you to our two newest comrades, lets do a lowdown on today.

I loved overnight oats yesterday morning so much that I decided to make some for this morning, too. Waffles aren’t very time consuming at all – but when it’s this hot, every second in the kitchen counts, and I wanted to get to the barn before another sweltering day.

I used the same base as yesterday, except with more Peppy Kernels and regular chia seeds instead of Ruth’s. I love the goldenberries and the mulberries of the trail power mix, and let to sit in the mixture overnight makes it that much better.

I tried to make the toppings pretty, but it’s really hard to do when an entire plum and banana is involved, and that’s hardly half of it. Eventually, I just said to heck with it 😉 On the top:

And yes, I did microwave the fruit and plum. I’m probably a raw foodist’s nightmare – I love microwaving my fruit if it’s going on oats or waffles of any sort!

My bad mom story of the day: I went out to work Teddie-kins before it was scorching – I figured he’d be fine with 20 minutes of walk/trot work. He was being sort of a punk – not naughty, but was more stubborn than usual. We would be going along fine and then he would just stop when we got to a certain point. So, he’d get the boot and off we’d go on our merry way until we got back to the same spot and, all of a sudden, stop. Boot, go, stop. ugh. By then I’d probably been riding him twenty minutes and we were both drenched, but, as with any young animal or horse – you don’t stop until you’re able to end on a good note. Finally, we walked a full circle and trotted a full circle past the “sticky” spot. I stopped to dismount (far away from the “sticky spot,” mind you) and that poor horse stretched out (as they do when they go to pee) and practically peed Lake Champlain. You have no. idea. how awful I felt. Although, he was still a gentleman – never offered to buck or kick out even though I’d have to boot him pretty good to get him to move. If I were him I’d have sent my derriere flying and said “yeah, I wanna see you run around this indoor with a full bladder.” Some horses just don’t like to pee undersaddle, and he’s probably one of them – or at least until he’s more comfortable undersaddle.

Bless his soul.

On a positive note, I cross-tied him today without any problems! And made sure he got a nice hose-down and plenty of grass after my “I’m a terrible mom” moment.

Now that I’ve taken five minutes talking to you about horse pee, lets talk about lunch. (Gosh, I’m weird. I’m surprised you guys stick around.) I guess this could also classify as breakfast #2. I’ll let you decide.

As you may remember, I’m out of bread until tomorrow. Did I mention that tomorrow, there’s a loaf of bread with my name on it? Yeah, special ordered that baby. I hope they make it with extra love.

Of course, considering the poor man makes each loaf individually with a tiny Kitchen-Aid mixer, he probably wishes I would move away already or something 😉

Anyways. Driving home I thought about eggs, and really wanted an egg sandwich. It’s hard to have an egg sandwich when there’s no bread. Enter: Down Home Buckwheat Waffle. Yes, please.  And a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. With a banana for bread. Because that’s how I roll.

I made a ranch-esque spread consisting of greek yogurt, garlic salt, pepper, basil, and chives which adorned the waffle along with some roma tomato slices. And a yummy crispy-fried egg.

And iced coffee, since I was obviously fantasizing about that driving home, too.

This lunch was pretty spectacular, if I may say so myself.

I cooled off for a bit before warming myself back up with some yoga sculpt. I don’t do yoga very often – I’ve been doing about 30 consistent minutes every Tuesday and Thursday, maybe some Saturday and Sunday, and if I feel like it a couple minutes at night MWF. But honestly…I already feel such. a. difference. Love.

Anyways. The snackery that occurred: (minus the random handfuls of cherries and dried apricots)

Kashi Puffed grains, sunflower seed butter, dried apricot, greek yogurt, honey roasted cashews, Xagave.

Charlene at The Organic Whey notified me of this whey protein powder, and asked if I’d be interested in trying it. I heard a big truck pull into the driveway when I was dripping with sweat from mucking out the horses and lugging down water for the ponies soon to come, so I was pretty excited to seen this on my doorstep when I went back in.

Especially because I was hungry again but not sure what I wanted! Enter: protein brownie batter! My mix was

It was so. good. I tried this with Tera’s Whey bourbon vanilla the other night, but even though I love Tera’s Whey flavors – it turned out pretty gross! This, however – hit the spot. Probably because it’s not flavored or sweetened, which is going to be awesome to add into bars and muffins and such!

Comparisons, click to enlarge. And also note the serving sizes are slightly different, so take that into consideration.

Tera's Whey

The Organic Whey

I’ll have to keep an eye out for some recipes to put it to use in! For me, I actually like that it has less protein than most…I try to get in my protein with the food I eat, so powders/supplements aren’t really necessary, but I don’t think they’re necessarily bad for a diet, either.

I also made a tabouli-esque salad during the day for dinner tonight.

  • 1/4 c. (dry measure) bulgur wheat
  • 3/4s of a finely diced roma tomato
  • 2 fresh basil leaves
  • garlic salt
  • chives
  • balsamic vinegar

I served it over a bed of local lettuce, and intended to add chickpeas to it for some protein. I forgot about that idea halfway through…so, imagine this bowl half-eaten, but with a bunch of chickpeas and feta added 😉

…and then, as we were finishing up dessert, it was pony central!

Remember the ponies I mentioned a couple of weeks ago? I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t. It was a while ago! We were beginning to wonder when they were ever going to deliver them, or if they’d decided not to sell them to us. We’d called enough times and they had our number so finally we started thinking they’d sold them to someone else or had shipped them already.

But, they came tonight! They were soaked with sweat getting off the trailer because it was so hot. Poor guys.  They’re not too skinny, but for Haffies could certainly use some pounds – and definitely some love! I mean…their tails are practically dreadlocked, and just look at this poor girl’s mane and forelock! Don’t think she can even see!

…but she’s got absolutely gorgeous, kind eyes hiding underneath there.

The mare with all the hair is actually the younger one – and is the daughter of the other mare, above. I’m thinking mama is probably crossed with some other pony breed possibly. She’s actually got a pretty cute trot on her, too. She is a little more stand-offish, but I think they’ll both warm up when they learn what affection is!

They haven’t been handled much, but lead and are friendly enough. We saw the mom dragged out of her paddock back in April when we were horse shopping. They just tacked her up and got on her, possibly for the first time ever, but at the very least the first time in years. She didn’t do anything bad but honestly didn’t know what to make of it.

They will be a project for us, that is for sure – but projects are fun 🙂

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