Saturday, November 29, 2008

thanksgiving photo essay

Well!  Michael and I just rolled back into town today and I have lots of pictures from my family dinner to show you.  After one somewhat major (at the time) disaster, I managed to pull off a pretty decent dinner, with the help of my mom and Michael and maybe a little luck.  Here's what we ate:
green beans (by Mom)

mashed potatoes with EB and soymilk

gravy (by Michael)

cranberry sauce (by Mom - she used agar agar!)

steamed brussels sprouts w/seasoned salt and pepper

upside down pear cake

seitan roulades w/stuffing #1

stuffing #2

sweet potato casserole w/pecan topping

place setting with salad

thanksgiving plate (Mom made biscuits too, they're on here)

Michael set the table :)

dessert table (Mom made us a vegan pumpkin pie, it's the smaller one)

Looks like we made out ok, right?  And now for some recipe linkage (all recipes are linked from the website name):

Seitan Roulades idea came from Vegan Yum Yum.   However, I ended up using the seitan recipe from VWAV because when I first tried to make these, the seitan fell apart into a million pieces, triggering a major breakdown in my kitchen the night before Thanksgiving.  The re-do turned out fine, but needed to be baked longer than that recipe calls for...they were a tad mushy.  Also, in the stuffing, I used pistachios and oyster mushrooms instead of crimini mushrooms and chesnuts.  That stuffing was oh. so. good.

Stuffing #2 recipe came from VegWeb.  And seriously, can you ever have enough stuffing?  Mom kept saying that she really thought that we only needed one, to which I scoffed mightily and disagreed heartily.  Results?  I got massive stuffing leftovers to take home with me (which I get to eat for dinner tonight).  I think we all know who was right.  (me.)  Anyway, I didn't use all those nuts it called for.  Or apples, or raisins.  I used about 1/4 cup of pecans and 1/4 cup of dried cranberries instead.  This stuffing was also good.  In a different way.  I never realized how easy it is to make stuffing.  Jeez.  I'd make it for every meal if it wasn't for the fact that we really only eat it on holidays for a reason.  (hey - it's not that good for you apparently.)

The sweet potato casserole came straight from FatFree Vegan Kitchen.  This was really good, which came as a surprise to me, for some reason.  In my omni days, I never ate the sweet potato casserole.  Mainly because it had marshmallows on it and that seemed...weird to me.  Like...why would I want to eat something sweet with my Thanksgiving dinner?  Now I get it.  You eat a little bit of it at a time and it's wonderful.  Actually, I might eat the leftovers of this for dessert tonight.  You know.  Just to shake it up a bit.  Because it's actually sweeter than either of the desserts I ate at dinner.

I don't have the recipe for either the vegan pumpkin pie or the cranberry sauce.  But rest assured that they were both totally awesome.  And so were the biscuits.  My mom's a helluva cook.  We're alike in that way (ha!).  Oh, by the way, the consensus is that agar agar thickens like the dickens.  My mom was a little apalled at how well it worked in the cranberries and was even afraid that they would be too hard to eat!  However, they were very nice.  And cruelty-free.  I didn't even ask her to do that, she just did.  Taking culinary risks is FUN, isn't it?

Finally, the upside down pear cake.  This came from a recipe that I veganized from Body & Soul Magazine.  I can't find the recipe online, but I doubt that Martha Stewart is trolling vegan blogs to find people to prosecute for sharing veganized versions of her recipes, so I'll share it with you.  Because it was really, really delicious.  And actually, easy.  Here, go make it yourself:

2 Tbsp vegan margarine (I used EB)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 Bosc pears, cut in half and into 18 wedges (I used those big, red pears...I'm not sure of their name.  also, you'll get more than 18 pieces out of your pears probably, just use the nicest whole slices)
1 cup AP flour
1 cup WW flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp EnerG Egg Replacer mixed into 4 Tbsp warm water (or whatever equivalent for 2 eggs you'd like...the energ worked really well here though)
1 cup soymilk with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar mixed in (buttermilk replacement)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup walnut oil (i used canola)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract (recipe calls for 1/2 tsp, but since i didn't use the walnut oil, i upped it to 1 full tsp)

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Melt margarine with 1/4 cup of the brown sugar in a 12 inch cast iron skillet over medium.  Arrange pears in a circular fashion, around the edge of the pan.  (Michael did this part for me, since I'm inept.  We used 2 layers of pears because 1 didn't seem like enough.)  Cook, without turning pears, until pears are golden underneath, 18-20 minutes (rotating pan as necessary for even browning).
2. First, mix vinegar into the soymilk and set aside.  In a large bowl, combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt; whisk to combine.  In a medium bowl, combine remaining sugar, egg replacer, soymilk mixture, applesauce, oil, and vanilla; whisk to combine (seriously, martha...i used a fork for all my 'whisking').  Add wet mixture to dry and WHISK until just combined.  What is with this whisking obsession.  Your fork works just fine if you don't have a whisk.
3.  Pour batter over pears, spread to cover.  Transfer to the oven;  bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 25-30 minutes (mine took exactly 27 minutes).  Allow to stand for 5 minutes.  Run a knife around the edge and turn out onto a serving platter.

We didn't need to run the knife around the edges because it just came out beautifully.  You all know how to turn out an upside down cake, right?  Put your plate on the cake and THEN flip the pan over, so that it's nicely nestled against the plate instead of just trying to flop it down onto one.  That could equal disaster.

Anyway, the cake is good.  Not too sweet, nice and moist, very yummy with a scoop of Rice Dream (vanilla of course).

Michael and I spent the following day at his sister's house for an after Thanksgiving get together.  She was very accomodating and made us some lovely pumpkin/bean burgers that were really good and also some gnocchi with a zesty veggie tomato sauce.  Oh!  And an apple crisp that was seriously delicious.  The prize winning food of the day though, was the giant trashbag-full of chex mix that we all made together.  This chex mix involved 3 big boxes of cereal, 1 giant bag of pretzels, a can of nuts, 2 sticks of margarine, hot sauce, soy sauce, and seasoned salt.  There was plenty left over for us to take some home (yay!).  I don't have the recipe for the pumpkin burgers just yet, but when I get it from her I will share it with you.  They were a nice mixture of savory and sweet.  Also, I was being really lazy and didn't take any pictures.  I was exhausted from the day before!

Anyway, I hope you all had lovely UnTurkey Days as well.  Mine turned out very nicely.  But I'm glad it's over, yeah?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

pre-thanksgiving blah

Is anyone else experiencing this?  I've got a bad case of the kitchen blahs.  I think it's because I know that tomorrow evening and most of the day Thursday I'm going to be cooking these (hopefully) fabulous dishes and I've psyched myself out.  I haven't wanted to cook at all.  Seriously, I had popcorn for dinner on Saturday.  Then it was like pulling teeth to even make spaghetti on Sunday.  Actually, Michael did most everything.  I cut an onion and a green pepper.  I might have made a craptastic salad.  I just couldn't be bothered with it.  It tasted good though.  He did a nice job.
he even garnished my plate for me

Superman also made a bunch of garlic toasts that ruled.
these were so, so yummy

Then last night I didn't feel like cooking either.  Or eating, really.  So Michael wanted a big sammich, and that's what he got.  I think I might have spread the hummus on this.  I may have cut up an avocado.  Oh!  I put the olives on.  And opened the can.  See?  I contribute.
monster sammie

It's days like these that I probably wouldn't bother to eat at all if it wasn't for Michael.  Simply because the kitchen doesn't seem to be my friend right now.  I have to snap out of it though, because tomorrow is a big pre-cooking day for me.  I haven't really posted a menu yet, have I?  Well, I'm not going to.  You can see it in all its glory AFTER Thanksgiving.  I probably won't get to post until Saturday though, because I will be out of town until then.  

Good luck with your giant dinners, American blog buddies (if you so choose to participate in the madness).  Don't overdo it.  Try to remember (like I'm trying) that the most important thing is seeing family and friends and enjoying your time together.  Everything else is...just stuff.  

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Hey!  Looklooklooklooklook!
wait, what?  is that a....cranberry!?

Indeed, friends.  That is a cranberry you see.  In fact, those are cranberry pancakes.  I got the idea from Hannah over at Bittersweet (recipe linked here), but I didn't follow her recipe because I didn't have any white cornmeal.  So I used the basic recipe for pancakes in Vegan with a Vengeance and added cranberries to it.  The pancakes themselves were...not fluffy haha...  But they were still good!  The cranberries were genius (thanks, Hannah!).  Nice and tart.  They balanced out the sweetness of the syrup on the pancakes.  And they do cook in the time it takes to cook the pancakes, in case you were wondering.  I had my doubts, but it all turned out well.

I also made some greasy potatoes.  
greasy goodness

These were roasted in some canola oil, seasoned salt, pepper, and onion powder.  They were lovely, especially with some (lots of) ketchup.

Oh, in case you don't know what brinner is, it stands for 'brown dinner'.  See?
no veggies.  none.

Just kidding, it means breakfast for dinner.  Those are the tempeh sausage crumbles from VWAV.  They were amazing.  And you know what?  Despite the complete and total lack of vegetables here (potatoes don't really count towards nutrition, no matter how good they are), it was really, really great.  Like, really great.  I surprised myself, especially since I generally suck at making breakfast.  I don't even especially like breakfast that much.  But apparently, I like it for dinner.  The best part?  The pancakes were like dessert, so I didn't get a sweets craving afterwards.  Woo!

So go make yourself some pancakes.  Because you deserve it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

come on vivian, put your glasses on

(nerf herder....yessssss I'm in a poppy punk mood today.)

Well.  First off, I've been given an award for how awesome my blog is by Becks at I am not a Rabbit.  Look.

And while I'm not sure about the grammatical correctness of this particular award (ever know?), I am surely happy to receive it!  Becks authors one of my favorite blogs.  She's one of what I like to call my 'Brit Blog Buddies' and is a constant source of fabulous looking food, hilariousness, and fun brit words that make me giggle because I'm easily amused.  Plus, she made some of the most awesome comic strips during Vegan Mofo that I've ever seen.  Anyway, I'm supposed to nominate 10 (!) other blogs for this award.  That seems like a bit much to me, and since I am lazy and a rulebreaking rebel at heart, I'm only going to nominate 5 people.  But I'm going to do it at the end of this post so that we can get on with some food porn, ok?  Yeah, I didn't think you'd have a problem with that.

First up is a lovely dinner that I ate for breakfast the following 2 mornings because I loved it just that much.  I got in the mood for lentils the other day when my boss was talking about how gross they are (he's demented, seriously) and how that must be all that 'vayguns' eat.  Which got me to thinking:  I don't eat nearly enough lentils.  I used the savory lentils recipe from ED&BV.  Except I sauteed an onion first and used a veggie bouillon cube instead of a mushroom one (ew).  I also have had several winter squashies staring at me since the beginning of October that needed using.  So I just baked the crap out of most of them and smooshed em up with some cinnamon, cumin, garlic powder, EB, and a dash of soymilk.  
breakfast?  sure, why not?

They made a really nice pair with the salty herbiness of the lentils adding some texture to the smooth and sweet squash.  By the by, I used 2 butternut squash and one carnivale.  I still have a carnivale and 2 pie pumpkins to do something with.  It's just such an effort to cut these stupid winter squashes.  Is anyone else with me on this?  Also, after roasting, it is NOT simple and easy to just scoop out the squashiness for me.  The peel always wants to hang out with the inside forever and ever and it bothers me.  So.  This was a labor  Emphasis on the labor, but there was still a hefty serving of love involved.

Next up is a bok choy overload.  Michael made this one!  At first, when he suggested hot and sour soup (vcon recipe) I was like no no no no no.  Because the only hot and sour soup I've ever had was goopy and GROSS.  This was not either of those things.  But I did 86 most of the mushrooms called for.  I did allow baby bellas to be added, but not sliced so that I could get around them easily.
goop and gross free.

We used bok choy instead of napa cabbage cause there was no napa cabbage at the store that day.  There was also no baby bok choy, which was needed for that bok choy recipe in vcon (can't be bothered to go look up the proper name, sue me).  So we just ate a lot of bok choy in its fully grown form for dinner.  They did however, have sugar snap peas at the store on SALE (yay!) so we added them to that recipe.  Ate it atop the very last of the bamboo rice that I got at Target forever ago.  Green rice is fun.  It is not, however, really any different in taste than normal rice and costs twice as much.  Life's interesting, isn't it?
mean green dinner time

One of the squash giving me the evil eye for awhile now was a spaghetti squash.  I had never had this before, but I've heard people loving it all over the place recently, so I thought what the hell I'll try it out.  It's healthier than spaghetti, right?  It's also a crapload sweeter than spaghetti, which no one told me and surprised me in this dish that I created.  It was good though.  A little crunchy.  I dunno, it took like 20 minutes to cook in my microwave, which didn't seem right, so next time I think I'll just bake it in the oven.  
look at those delicious babies...mwahahaha

You see those pine nuts?  Them's toasted pine nuts, kids.  You know why I did that?  Because Jessy over at HappyVeganFace puts them on pretty much everything and I thought well shit it must be good.  Ummmmyeah.  It is more than good.  It's fucking awesome.  I knew I liked that girl ;)  Oh, what's that?  You want a recipe?  Ok.

Artichoking the Hell Outta some Spaghetti Squash

1 big spaghetti squash, prepared (microwave, roast, whatever)
2 cups prepared baby artichokes or artichoke hearts (not preseasoned!)
1-2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
some big handfuls of fresh spinach (however much you like, remember it cooks down to practically nothing)
1 Tbsp capers, chopped (optional, i GUESS)
3 big garlic cloves, minced
1 huge shallot (2 medium), minced
1-2 tsp basil pesto
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup dry white wine
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
toasted pine nuts for garnish (do it!)

Ok, so get your squash ready and set aside.  Meanwhile, heat a dash of olive oil in a big skillet with fairly high sides.  Saute garlic, shallots, and capers (if using).  Once the garlic looks like it's about to burn (this always happens in like 20 seconds for me), rescue it by pouring in the wine.  Immediately add artichokes, tomatoes, spinach, and lemon juice and bring to a good simmer.  I usually put the spinach on top of everything so that it steams up nicely before you have to stir it in.  Cover and let simmer about 5 minutes, until the spinach starts wilting.  Stir it all up, also stirring in the pesto.  Continue to simmer until the artichokes are tender (maybe 5 more minutes).  Add squash to pan, toss to combine, and allow to heat through on low heat.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with pine nuts.  If you're like me and aren't allowed to cook with capers, but love them anyway, you will also garnish with the capers that you couldn't add to the sauce.  :P

Like I said before, this was a little sweet, so if you want, add some vinegar to your sauce to cut that.  I didn't think of it in time to add it and I don't really know how it would taste, so I didn't add it to my recipe.  However, if you're just using the sauce with regular pasta (it would KILL on linguine), it's probably not an issue.

I served this with the bread that I made earlier in the evening when I was in a baking frenzy.  
oh...this bread.

I got this recipe over at Happy Herbivore.  It's beer bread, guys.  BEER bread.  And since we just happened to have a bunch of beer in the fridge yesterday, it seemed like the most obvious option.  Plus, it was the easiest bread I've ever made and it's delicious.  Moist on the inside, crusty as all get out on the outside (I used Sam Adam's Winter Ale in it, in case you're curious).  I have no complaints.  Hers is prettier than mine though.

I also baked some more of these muffins from Vegan Dad's blog.  Pumpkin-y, apple-y, raisin-y, bran-y, yummy.  I doubled the recipe and took half to work today.  They were a hit.  I like em too.  What he says about them...getting the mail moving in the true, too, which is always a plus with me.
muffin overload?  never.

Ok, so now I have to nominate people.  I've been thinking about this all day.  At least one of the people I want to nominate has already been nominated, but I've decided that I'm not going to let that stop me.  Because I want them to know how cool I think they are, too.  So.  Only 5, ok?

1. Lindy Loo over at Yeah that 'Vegan Shit'.  She's hilarious.  She's crass.  Hers is the blog that made me want to start blogging.  I always thought blogging was kind of stupid before I read her blog.  Then I realized that you can curse on the internet and no one will tell you not to.  Which is only one of the reasons I started blogging.  I don't think I even got up the guts to start cursing until last month, really.  Which is weird because I'm kind of a pottymouth.  But my parents read, so.  There ya go.  Anyway, Lindy Loo also seems like the kind of gal that I would totally hang out with if I had any friends in real life.  She's smart and passionate and just plain cool.  Also, she named her cats after JD Salinger book characters and then gave me a link to a website where I can find lots of book recommendations.  Um, yeah.  She rules.

2. Jessy from HappyVeganFace.  Jessy is one very happy girl.  And I love that about her.  Literally everything she writes makes me smile.  Be it her own blog, comments on my blog, or comments on someone else's blog, she's always 100% cheerful and it's awesome.  Usually chronic cheerfulness annoys me, but Jessy balances it out with a good mix of made-up words and total rad-ness and seriously AMAZING food.  Plus, she's my dad's favorite commentor here and usually anything my dad likes is really good.  Except meat.  Jessy is also compassionate and makes a big effort to help the world in general.  She's in a challenge to basically make your own everything and use less of stuff which is cool, and she also adopted a turkey.  So yeah, Jessy is a good apple.

3.  Shellyfish at Musings from the Fishbowl.  Shelly's crafty.  She makes things for people.  And not just whatever stuff, but seriously she embroiders things.  She makes little dolls for her newborn neice and her guppy (who is terminally adorable).  I like this trait.  Craftiness is something that I have little patience for, and I really wish I had inherited the gene for it from my mom.  My mom has always been amazing at a sewing machine (and by hand) and still makes me things, which rules.  So anyone who promotes that in this day and age of store bought crap, I'm a fan of.  She also lives in France and sometimes writes French phrases which I understand nothing of but really enjoy seeing.  (I need a Spanish blog buddy, I can read Spanish, darnit.)

4.  Liz from Food Snobbery is My Hobbery.  First off, awesome blog title.  Second, this girl has a helluva garden.  She has dazzled me with her gardening skills and the fresh food she creates using it all up.  This is like my utopia.  She's also another compassionate one and I'm amazed at her ability to balance her life what with a hubby and kids and all the various activities I've heard her mention.  I can only hope that one day I will have my shit together like Liz seems to.  Yeah, also, did I mention her garden?  And that she makes jam?  And that she bakes her own bread every week?  This chica is truly DIY to the max and I love it.

5.  Michelle at My Zoetrope.  Michelle is an awesome artist.  Don't believe me?  Click on the link and find the link on her page to her etsy shop.  She's truly talented.  I admire her creativity and her art.  I'm saving up my money to buy her mustache christmas ornaments because I really feel that my life is not complete without them.  Reading her blog makes me wish that I was the drawing type of artist instead of the photography and ceramics type.  Alas.  She also cooks up some tasty-looking food.  I love multitalented vegans.  It's nice to read about things other than food sometimes (I know, I must be crazy) and the musings of a fellow artist are inspiring and remind me of my art school friends who have all but disappeared from my life as of late. 

So thank you ladies for all being...great.  I'm out of words now, because I just typed a whole lot of awesome, witty shit.  Now I must go plan my brinner.  Yes, you read that right.  Breakfast for dinner is on the menu.

(hey, whaddya guys think of my semi-healthier, but still yummy dinners?)

Monday, November 17, 2008

weekend food and my vegan weight gain

As I sit here huddled in front of a space heater drinking a huge mug of hot tea, I must finally acknowledge that winter has come to my town.  It snowed today.  Snow!  The thing about winter is this:  I combat cold weather with heavy meals.  And It's starting to show.  Michael calls this my winterfat.  It's time for me to admit to myself though, that I've gained 10 pounds in the past 6 months and most of it has been since October.  Bummer!  My fattypants are now just 'pants'.  Which honestly, it doesn't look that bad.  But I don't have any work fattypants and I can't afford to buy new ones.  So I think it's time for me to tone down on my winter eating, haha...  Seriously, guys, I popped a button on Saturday.  I take this as a sign.  

As such, I am trying to eat a little lighter.  The meals you are about to see are the end of my overindulgence.  Yeah, I'm still probably going to be cooking warm winter meals, but my goal is to eat smaller portions of the heavy stuff and fill up on veggies.  Plus, I really have to start exercising, even though I hate it.  Great!  Please gimme some love on this front, because I need motivation.  Pronto.  I mean, I'm weighing more now than I have in about 3 years, and I really just wanna tone up.  And fit into my pants again.  What are exercises that you guys do at your houses (sans equipment) to stay in shape?  There is a gym in my office building, which I will use about 3 times a week, but what else can I do at home?  Is there an exercise video that you swear by?  One that is sort of fun and will trick me into wanting to exercise?  Just curious.  

Anyway, this being a food blog and all, you probably wanna see some food.  Here you are:

First up is some biscotti that Michael made last week: thing i'm not going to be eating for awhile

They were so good.  I didn't help him at all, either.  'Cause I'm a jerk like that.  No really, I get really pushy in the kitchen sometimes, and this was one of those days, so I just left him to it, and he did a wonderful job.  The recipe is from Vcon, but I really can't be bothered to look it up right now.  It's supposed to have macadamia nuts in it, but he put almonds in there instead, which was a wise (and less expensive) choice.  Chocolate + almonds = bliss, yes?  Especially lovely when dipped in a cup of coffee.  

Next is evidence that I do eat salad:
i love veggies.

Except that this was totally cancelled out by eating an excessive amount of croissantdogs.  Bah.

And then!  I got a request last week for a curry!  I haven't made a curry since before October, because we were a little burned out on them.  This one has loads of spinach, carrots, peas, and tofu.  Oh, and coconut  milk.  Foiled again!

Served with brown basmati rice:
creamy yummy yum yum yum

Saturday I cooked dinner for my 2 brothers and their families.  Before I show you the food, let me show you what was on the fridge at Jimmy's (my oldest brother) house.
broc!  hilarious!

No, but the truly crazy thing is that my nephew, Charlie, drew the picture on the left on Election Day (Nov 4, as if you didn't remember).  The photo on the left was in the paper on November 15.  What!  My nephew is psychic!  Cool.

So anyway, this is what I made.  It's the casserole with a gross name that tastes totally delicious.
i made way too much food.

I don't know why I made so much, but Michael and I ended up taking almost an entire casserole dish of the stuff home with us, which we ate.  Believe me, this stuff never goes to waste.  And it was a hit, I think!  My oldest brother seemed a little skeptical about the 'brown bits' and the 'white stuff', and weirded out by the amount of soy in the thing, but nobody could deny how totally rad it tasted.  I don't know if any of the kids ate it.  They were in a separate room with open access to a trash can, so it's anybody's guess.  So...all in all, success!

My sisters-in-law contributed some loverly bread rolls and a totally rockin' salad with homemade dressing.  Here it is all plated up.
you'd think our family was italian, no?

Look at my brother's supercool beer glasses.  That's his name, Jimmy.  Awesome!

Last night, I found a stuffing recipe.  We based a meal around it.  The rest of the meal was great!  The stuffing kind of sucked.  But I admit to that being my fault since I added excessive amounts of fresh sage to it.  Bad idea!  Oh, also, it was mushy.  I like a dry stuffing.  So at least I know what not to do on Thanksgiving.  Practice makes perfect.  The veg with dinner was yummy though.  We found baby artichokes on sale at the store on Friday ($1.49 for a HUGE package of them, whaaaat?).  These were fun and tasty, but the instructions on the package as to how to prepare them freaked me out.  It stopped calling them 'baby artichokes' and just started calling them 'babies'.  Weird!

Sauteed up with some onions, spinach, grape tomatoes, and white wine.  So good.  We were also feeling in the mood for tempeh.  I didn't feel like inventing a marinade, so I used the basic broiled tofu recipe from Vcon, but used tempeh (boiled first) instead.  It was seriously good.  It's amazing to me what soy sauce, garlic, and lemon juice can do to something.  So easy!  So good!  So...yeah!
sunday dinners are the best

So now I'm off to reheat my tea (it goes from boiling to ice cold in 10 minutes in my apartment) and think of what I can eat for dinner that isn't going to make me any fatter.  I really want some lentils.  And squash.  Those are ok, right?  Jeez.  Now that I actually cook things from scratch, I have no concept of how much fat and calories are in things anymore.  I used to know the calories/fat of everything in my cupboard when I was omni.  Not that that was healthy either, you know.  I'm just saying...sometimes I miss knowing what the hell I'm eating, dietary info-wise.  And no, I'm not going to spend an hour on some website feeding in every ingredient of a recipe to find out the nutrition breakdown.  I'm just gonna use my common sense, ok?  Word.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

i do still cook, i swear it

Back to the food, eh?  This has been a week of easy dinners.  We even ordered pizza on Tuesday.  But I have been cooking, I promise.  On Monday, I made this:
chili with vcon skillet cornbread

I never really have posted my chili recipe...  It's one of those things that I am just naturally good at making.  I don't have to think about it, I just do it.  Onions, peppers, beans, tomatoes, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, chipotle pepper in adobo...  Oh, but this time I added 2 cups of water and a 'beef' bouillon cube.  It was ohsogood.  Spicy.  Yum.  We ate it for lunch for 2 days afterwards, and it was wonderful.  It's been rainy and chilly (ha!) here this week, so a big bowl of steaming chili with some cornbread broken up in it is just what the doctor ordered.  (by the way, I'm not sick anymore!)
daddy bowl and mama bowl

I made both of those bowls, too.  A lot of the dishes you see (besides the fiestaware) is stuff I've made.  Did you know that?  I'm crafty as hell, people.

Last night, Michael and I wanted sloppy joes.  We went to the store to get tomato paste and basil to put into the mix we had in the cupboard.  Then we came home and realized...  no mix!  Well, luckily I knew about the sloppy joannas recipe in YRR.  It turned out startlingly similar to the Fantastic brand mix we usually buy.  How nice to know that we don't have to buy it anymore!  
yep, those are curly fries you see.  jealous much?

We did change the recipe a bit, but not too much.  First, we doubled it so that we could have some for lunch today.  Instead of 2 cups of TVP, we used 1 cup TVP, one cup of crumblers.  Added into the mix were a green bell pepper and about 1/2 cup fresh basil.  Have you ever put basil in your sloppy joes?  Do it, it's amazing.  It adds a flavor dimension that will knock your socks off.  I can't take credit for this, it's on the back of the box of the mix we buy as a suggestion.  But a good suggestion it is!  Indeed.  Oh, I think we also added a bunch of garlic powder, onion powder, and salt to the recipe as well.  I made a salad to go with it, I promise, I do eat green veggies occasionally.
I ate mine on a slice of homemade bread, openface style

So uh...  lots of fake ground beef, tomatoes, and peppers this week, eh?  Oh well.  It was all very, very good.  And!  Since Virginia got her cookies, I can now show a picture of the cookies I made last week.  These aren't identical to hers, but they are damn close.
my new favorite cookies.  f'realz.

I really must thank Celine again for coming up with such a fabulous pumpkin cookie recipe.  These have white chocolate chips.  And I doubled the recipe and made like 2 dozen small cookies instead of 6 big 'uns.  Virginia didn't get white chocolate chips in her version, but honestly...  I don't think they added much.  These chips are going to be best when I put them in a full-on chocolate cookie, I just know it.  In these, they were just little pockets of sweet.  The flavor got lost in the pumpkin.  That's why I made hers with just regular semi-sweets.  They go nicely in this cookie.  

Now it's time to go work on dinner again.  And there is possibly a trick up my sleeve.  Stay posted!