Monday, December 29, 2008

year end review

I cannot believe the year is over already.  It's been a whirlwind, folks.  I graduated from grad school, had an awesome show of my work, then got a terrible 9-5 job to pay the billz, went vegan, started blogging, had a miserably hot summer, a tragically short fall, and am well into a topsy turvy winter.  It was 70 degrees (F) on Saturday, and we were 3 hours north of where I actually live!  What!  Anyway, I know I've been gone for a little bit from the blogosphere, but I'm back now.  This post will probably suck because it's mostly just going to be a bunch of pictures of food from the past week or so, and they are all really bad pictures because it just got darker and darker in my kitchen until a week ago, so...  pardon that.  Also, I had a couple recipes in my head, but then never wrote them down, time passed, and I've forgotten what they were all about.  I plan on remaking them though, so look forward to yumminess in the future.  Without further ado....

Christmas food first.  
cookie craziness

The only thing crazy about these were how awesome they were.  My mom made these special family cookies vegan for me and they were WONDERFUL!  Upon her own admission, you cannot even tell the difference.  Score one for team vegan!  The gingerbread guys are crispy and buttery and spicy and just wonderful.  The candy cane cookies have just a hint of peppermint and are soft and delicate.  My mom rules hard.  Just wait.
makeshift pizza time

Well, when I went to my parents' house for Christmas the weekend before actual Christmas, we were having pizza for lunch.  Everyone else had a frozen number, and they got me this awesome shell that's all crackery crispy (yum yum), but...  Mom and Dad had no veggies in the fridge.  Apparently things had been busy around there (imagine that!) and veggies had been overlooked (seriously an anomaly in our house).  So I made this thing up.  It's kinda mexi-style.  There's tomato sauce, fire roasted tomatoes, black beans , some green peppers I found in the freezer, some chipotles in adobo (spicy!  spicy!), some garlic powder, cumin, and nutritional yeast.  It actually turned out fricking awesome, for a complete fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type deal.
holy hello, cinnamon rolls!

So yeah, I told you my mom rules.  Those are cinnamon rolls and they are amazing.  They are identical to the cinnamon rolls of my youth.  In fact, sometimes I think that my mom just says that things are vegan to make me happy, that's how good she is at veganizing stuff.  Like, she's way better at it than I am.  Maybe someday I'll be as good a cook and baker as she is.  We also did some of the minicrustlesstofuquiches (what a mouthful that title is, jeez).  They had very few veggies in them and didn't photograph well, so no pic, but they were really delicious too.  I brought leftovers home to Michael and he asked me if they had cheese in them.  Um, no.  Duh.  But they were really rich, so I could understand his doubt.
perfect xmas brekkie

Just look at that.  It's crazy how awesome those were.
foodie gifts

Michael and I teamed up for presents for my brothers and their wives by making kahlua (me) and biscotti (Michael).  We got to eat the overdone (burned?) bits of biscotti and thought they tasted pretty rad.  The kahlua wasn't anything to scoff at, either.  It was especially good in some cocoa on xmas morning.
lasagna for xmas eve

My family has always had lasagna for Christmas eve dinner.  This year, even though the day was different, the food was not.  I made a sillyradtastic lasagna full of a tofu ricotta concoction that started with homemade tofu and then combined the two ricotta recipes from Vcon.  So...basil-y and cashew-y and very rich.  I put FYH mozzarella on about 1/3 of the dish so that if anyone else wanted to try it, they wouldn't have to eat vegan cheese.  We all know that that stuff is an acquired taste.  I like it, though.  All was very yummy.

For actual Christmas dinner, Michael and I got a tofurkey roast so that I wouldn't have to spend all day in the kitchen when I could be sitting on the couch drinking mimosas instead.  Still, we spent a nice bit of time on the side dishes and all.  Here she is nestled amongst loads of roasted veggies, including broccoli, beets, sweet potatoes, red potatoes, and carrots.
beets like to spread the love

The veggies were perfection, and the roast wasn't half bad either.  Best of all, it was easy peasy.  I did make a nice stuffing that had dried cranberries and some cayenne, but no crunchy nuts this time.  It was moist, in a good way.  I thought my Thanksgiving stuffing was a tad dry, so I upped my veg broth a bit.  The gravy is Roasted Garlic and Shallot gravy from the cookbook Michael got me, The Idiot's Guide to Cooking Vegan.  Jerk-y name, but a really good cookbook, actually.  If I'm gonna judge it by the gravy, it's fanfuckingtastic.  Yum.  And so low fat!  No roux!  Shocking!
big ol' plate of yumminess

That's it for Christmas food, but here's something cool:
not dope!

Those little bags contain teas that my parents and my grandma got for Michael.  It's called Numi Tea and it's the kind that blooms when you brew it.  See?

It's tasty, too.  Jasmine.  Yummmm.

So...I'm running low on blogfuel, even though I have like 8 more pictures of food to show you from my meals surrounding the holiday.  They are going to have to wait until tomorrow, methinks.  Until then, tide yourself over with a picture that totally sums up Michael and my first Christmas alone together:

That's season 4 of LOST on the tv, a mimosa slurped through a silly straw, the xmas tree, and some completely awesome giant sunglasses.  Oh yes.  Multiply that by 10, add in a dash of sleepiness, subtract any motivation to move and you get a perfectly laid back Christmas day.

Monday, December 22, 2008

short leave of absence

Guys, I'm worn out right now.  I have like 5 posts in my head ready to be written, but I have no time to do it in with getting ready for Christmas.  I went out of town this past weekend, then I'm going out of town again this coming weekend...  So let's just say that I'll be back a week from today, ok?  I hate to neglect this, as I do love blogging and all my bloggy buddies, but right now is just hectic.  I'm sure you understand.  Anyway, don't give up on me because I will be back.  In a week.

Have a happy holiday, everyone!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

diary of a mustard addict

How many types of mustard do you think the average vegan needs?  What a question.  I mean, what do you think, really?  One or two?  A plain and a spicy?  No.  No no no.  I am of the opinion that the right mustard can completely transform a sammich.  It adds a dimension that otherwise goes untasted.  But what kind of sammich needs what kind of mustard?  Well, it depends on your mood, really.  And when your mood changes as often as your tshirt, you need a variety of mustards in your life.  You need the comfort mustard.  The one you always go back to because you know it's always going to be good.  You  need the adventurous mustard.  A new and bolder flavor.  And what about all the mustards in between?  Well, for this situation, you may need...

Seven mustards.  That's right.  Seven.  7.  S-E-V-E-N.  Are you jealous of my mustard collection?  I may be a compulsive mustard buyer.  In fact, last night at the grocery store I acquired a new one, fully aware that I had six kinds in my fridge already.  But I mean...  you can never have too many kinds of mustard, as long as there is room on the second shelf.  (We have a pretty much an entire shelf dedicated to condiments in the fridge.)  Any time I'm at the store, I swing by the aisle with the mustard and check to see if there are any new varieties.  My only pet peeve is that a lot of the really awesome flavors (chipotle?  what?) have honey in them.  Lame.  Anyway, how's about a breakdown of these wonderful mustards?  

Spicy Brown.  A standby.  Good on any type of sammich, pretty much.  Adds a little spice and a lot of mustard flavor.  The good mustard flavor.  The brown kind.

This one, I don't like.  The garlic adds a weird flavor to it, surprisingly.  I do use it in sauces, from time to time.

The newest member of our collection!  It's sweet.  And boy, is it hot!  Like, real hot.  And I like it.  This went on dinner last night, which you'll see in a minute.

Stone ground.  Every mustard connoisseur needs a good stone ground mustard.  It's like the staple snobby mustard.  Sometimes good on sammies, but more often, I use it in sauces.  I like the little bits of mustard stuff that kind of pop in your mouth.

The reg.  Good old plain yellow.  Delicious mostly on carrots.  And tomato sammiches.

From the look of this one, you'd think we love it.  In reality, it's so-so.  We've had it awhile.  The horseradish really shines here.  It's the kind of mustard you want if you're into cleaning out your sinuses.
Last but not least, dijon.  Salty.  Reminds me of deli sammiches.  You can't put too much on a sammich unless you really want a salt overload, but it's good mixed with other mustards.  Like the spicy brown.

See?  A mustard for every purpose.  Never have too much  mustard.

And now that I've proved my point, I'll show you some food.
blt w/baked beans and sweet pickles

This is the sammie that my new friend, sweet hot mustard, went onto.  It complemented the saltiness of the bacon very nicely.  That's LightLife bacon on Ezekial bread.  Add some tomato, sprouts, lettuce, and avocado and you've got one helluva sammie.  The beans are canned, but doctored up with some ketchup, mustard (yellow!), and bbq sauce.  Pickles were good on their own, of course.  

Mac n Cheese.  This sauce has yellow mustard in it as well.  See how it's a nice stand-by?  I think, as well, that I finally perfected my very own cheese sauce that doesn't have tofu in it and is creamy and delicious.  I want to make it again and measure though, but there will be a recipe in the future.  I also put some leftover chickn strips and spinach in with this whole wheat penne.  

Sunday night nachos.  No mustard involved.  And really, no explanation needed, right?

That's all I have up my sleeve for today.  I've been nominated for an award by a couple different people, and I know I need to get on that, but I'm tired tonight.  Tomorrow?  Thanks for the extension, kids.

p.s. i also have powdered mustard in my spice cabinet.  you know.  just in case.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

broke ass vegan food

Oh how I love Saturdays.  It's 5:24 pm and I am sitting in my bathrobe and listening to The Postal Service on vinyl.  The television hasn't been turned on since my hunny left for work and it's been nice and quiet here.  Besides the records.  And I have time to talk to you!

Dinners recently have been a bit...creative, lets say.  After doing my Christmas shopping, I am totally broke until payday on Monday (not to say I spent a lot, I just don't make a whole lot of money, so what's left over after bills is never much anyway).  That means no running out to the store for this or that for any certain recipe.  We do have quite a bit of food around, but it's all ingredients to different recipes, it seems.  None of it wants to go together.  And we have zero fresh vegetables, which I can't stand.  Still, I'm pretty proud of my last two dinners!  

First up, chorizo by way of Jes at Cupcake Punk (recipe here).  I just happened to have almost everything I needed for this recipe on hand, so that worked out well.  I subbed in 4 grated cloves of garlic for the garlic powder (I'm out...sigh) and put a veggie bouillon cube in with my water and other wet ingredients since I don't have veggie broth powder stuff.  Here's how they turned out:
look how huge!

You can see some of them got a bit squished because this recipe makes a lot of sausage and my steamer is not big.  Like at all.  However, that doesn't really matter.  The verdict on taste?  Michael says this is the best sausage I have ever made.  And I agree.  It's wonderful!  We both really like the other sausage recipe I use, but this one had a spicy yumminess to it that was just perfect.  So thanks, Jes!  Everyone, go over there to her blog for this recipe because it is to die for.  Seriously.  

Anyway, I had some frozen peppers and onions in the freezer and a can of diced tomatoes, so we put that on top.  The bread you see is some flatbread I made that I'm not really happy with because it was kind of thick and chewy and not really the way I wanted it to be.  But it did its job of holding our sausage sammies together (sort did kinda break after it cooled), so that's fine by me.
monster sammie!

Next time I make those sausages (because there will be a next time, oh yes), I will probably make 6-7 sausages instead of the 5 huge ones.  It was just...a lot of sausage to take in at once.  I ended up cutting mine in half lengthwise and then making the sammich.  So that means I could probably make 10 sausages, actually.  Not bad for not going to the store at all, eh?

Dinner last night was a bit more challenging, because it was freezing cold in the kitchen and I didn't want to spend a lot of time in there making different components to a meal.  This meant I needed to make a casserole, basically.  But without veggies?  Well, I found 5 baby carrot sticks and a small bunch of green onions in the crisper.  That had to do.  Here's how it turned out:
wild rice and tofu dish of nom nom nommm

I actually thought this was really good.  It has capers in it though, so Michael liked it less.  I liked it so much though, that I thought I would give you the recipe, in case you were in need of something that was yummy, but doesn't have a bunch of veggies if you don't have them either.  That's homemade tofu in there, by the way!  It was so good.  I swear, I want to only make my own tofu from now on.  It's so fresh and takes up flavor very nicely.  The only thing is that I can't get it to be super firm like the tofu I buy.  Any suggestions?  Let me know.  In the meantime, here's the recipe:

My Fridge Is Empty Casserole

1 cup wild rice
1 block of tofu (firm?), cubed (i didn't press mine because i was afraid it would fall apart, but press yours if you like)
5 green onions, sliced
5 baby carrots (or one regular carrot), diced
1/2  15 oz can of artichoke hearts in brine (not in that oily stuff the sometimes come in), roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp capers, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 veggie bouillon cube
1 Tbsp vegan butter (EB)
1/4 cup white cooking wine
2-3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
juice of one lemon
2 1/4 cups water

Preheat oven to 425F.  Throw all that stuff in an 8x8 casserole dish and stir it up.  Put it in the oven and in about 20 minutes, stir it so that the bouillon (now dissolved) and butter (now melted) are incorporated.  Then leave it in the oven until the rice is done and the better part of the water is absorbed, probably another 30 minutes or so.  

My cooking time was a little wonky because I originally had it in there at 350F for an hour and the rice just wasn't cooking, so then I jacked it up to 450F for 20 minutes or so and it was done.  I figure a little less than an hour at 425F will be a fine cooking time.  But don't be afraid to increase the heat and cook a little longer if it's not done in an hour.  Just keep an eye out.

That sounds more complicated than it was.  Really, it took me 10 minutes to get everything in the dish (and this is while I was making it up as I went along).  Then just...wait.  If you have a caper hater in your house, take them out of the dish and then stir them in to your individual portion.  This is what I've been advised to do from now on, because apparently I've tried to sneak capers into one too many dishes.  Michael cannot be fooled!  He has, one might say, a sophisticated palate.  Meaning that he can tell when I'm being sneaky.  

Anyway, hope you are all having a lovely weekend.  Remember that it is possible to eat good vegan food even when you're extra poor around the holiday season.  

Thursday, December 11, 2008

i like food, food tastes good

Get outta my way or I'll eat you!  Oh wait, no, that's a Descendents song.  I'm not gonna eat you, I promise, come back!  I'm vegan for goodness sakes.

Speaking of food though, here's some I've eaten in the past couple of days:
tofu and veggie stirfry w/soba noodles

I made this Monday night because we had some sugar snap peas and baby bok choy hanging about that really needed using up.  I made the sauce up all on my own, and hello was that stuff spicy.  Probably half of the sauce ingredients were sriracha and garlic sriracha.  It was good though.  However, I didn't remember until the moment I finished making the whole thing that we were going to have Japanese food with my brother and his fam the next night.  Oh well, they were entirely different, and both were awesome (in my humble opinion).  As for the rest of my sauce, there was ginger and garlic and sesame oil and rice vinegar and rice wine and tamari.  A bit of a hodgepodge, but that's how I roll.  No pics of the food from Hibachi.  Go find Michael's birthday post and look at that food, because we can only get one thing when we go there, which is really tasty, but not worth photographing every single time.

Did I say Michael?  Yeah, he made some good stuffs this week too.  First up:
chili on the fly

I swear he made this in 15 minutes from start to finish.  I texted at 11:40 to ask what was up for lunch and he says he's just getting out of bed (oh great, I'm thinking).  But by the time I got home at like 12:09, this shit was finished!  How?  Who knows.   He may be magical.  Anyway, I put a bunch of scallions and nutritional yeast on mine.  And it was so wonderful.  

The reason I say he may be magic is right here, really:

Yeah.  I was having a bad day at work yesterday and then I come home to this.  Ooey gooey peanut buttery, caramely, chocolatey, sweet and salty goodness.  I don't know exactly what recipe he based this off of, but it came from VegWeb and when I find out, you shall know.  But I mean, just look at it.  The heart?  The chocolate?  The wonderfulness of a sugaryawesome treat after a terrible (yet again) day at work?  This boy is priceless.  

Since he was so nice, I made him BBQ tofu for din.
bbq shmarbeeque, i just wanted brussels sprouts and polenta

The tofu was tasty, indeed (it's just a bottled sauce that got doctored up by Michael, M.D.), but the brussels sprouts and polenta were stellar.  Just steamed sprouts with EB and seasoned salt.  The polenta got worked on a bit, though.  I wanted to do soft polenta because there is no other comfort in this world so great as soft polenta.  Of course, today it was just regular polenta because it was set up, which was also fine.  I usually do the soft poppy seed polenta from Vcon, but didn't.  I made it with veggie broth, a little thyme, onion powder, smoked paprika, and some (really awesome) chili powder.  The flavor was subtle, but definitely had a southwestern feel to it, which complemented the bbq tofu nicely.  What was really great was putting some tofu on the fork, spearing a sprout, then sopping up some polenta with the whole mess.  Does anyone else do this?  When I was a kid, I was insane about keeping my food separate and only eating one item on my plate at a time before moving on to the next (saving the best for last, of course).  I still do this sometimes, but I've learned that mushing things together can be great too.  

In other news, apparently there was a squirrel hanging out on the kitchen windowsill today.
found this picture on my camera

Michael gets to have so much fun while I'm at work all day.  Darnit.  I wanna hang out with squirrels.  Of course, I'm home now and having a blast (ha) while he's at work, so I guess it works out.  Speaking of which...

I worked out today.  Can you believe it?  I can't.  I don't know where I found the willpower.  It sucked, but I'm glad I did it.  30 minutes on the elliptical (at level one, go me) during which I thought that surely I would die, and really almost for real thought I was going to during the last 5 minutes, but I hung in there.  Then I did like 20 crunches and 10 leg lifts and looked at some weights and decided I wasn't ready for that just yet.  Anyway, it's a start.  I'm counteracting this accomplishment by noshing on carrot sticks and hummus.  Which ordinarily I wouldn't care about, but I got the hummus from the deli and I can just TELL that there's a shitload of tahini in it, which makes it creamy and tasty but also way fattier than I usually make mine at home.  Oh well, there was only less that 1/4 cup left in the container anyway.  It won't kill me.

One last thing:  When buying gifts for people on etsy, the hardest thing about it is repackaging everything in the lovely wrappings that they came in after you had to sneak a look.  I'm getting pretty good at it actually.  I recommend, if you go this route, to invest in a razor (for cutting without messy scissoring) and some scotch tape (for flawlessly covering up your cutting).  Oh, and work on your ribbon tieing skills.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Dudes! Do you know who you are talking to here? Of course I've had the Silk Nog with rum in it. It's the only way I like to drink the stuff.

Monday, December 8, 2008

journeys and adventures!

That is, a journey to my health food store and adventures in new recipes.

On Saturday, after blogging and watching it snow and generally laying about, I made a trek to the Healthy Life Market.  Healthy Life Market is code for overpriced stuff that's good for you.  Seriously, I only go here once every month or so, for two reasons:  it takes 20 minutes to get there and it's fucking expensive.  Sometimes, though, a girl needs to splurge on stuff that she can only find at the health food store.  And don't think those jerks don't know that they have a monopoly on the local healthy person market.  Jeez.  Sorry, but the prices really are ludicrous at this place.  I'm getting all worked up just thinking about it again.  Now it's time for you to tell me that what I got was worth the price and the drive.  No, I'm not going to tell you how much I spent.  Suffice to say that it's probably more than you think it is.
chickn nuggets, tofutti pizza, FYH mozzarella, organic tofu, ezekial bread, EB sticks, and some fake pepperoni

ww pastry flour, beet sugar, ww couscous, nutritional yeast*, green lentils, cumin, chile powder, cayenne

coconut milk, almond butter, d-mannose, wild rice blend, nature burger mix, quinoa pasta

So I guess I had a decent haul.  The nuggets and pizza and part of the pepperoni are already gone (also, the most expensive food things, of does pay for convenience).  This morning I had that sprouted bread as toast with some almond butter.  I've never had either of these before, and must say that they're pretty good.  The bread is very earthy with all the seeds and sprouts in it and the almond butter is...well, it's good, ok, but not nearly worth the price.  Seriously, that tiny jar was $5.  What?  Why?  I mean, I get that almonds are more expensive than peanuts...  but I think...  I might...  like peanut butter better.  I'm sure some of you are gasping in horror right about now, but, eh!  Call me crazy if you must.

I also made good use of the tofu and whole wheat couscous last night.  Ahem.  Look:
you know you're intrigued

That is pesto hummus stuffed tofu.  I got the idea here, but honestly did not even read through the recipe once before making it.  In fact, I saw the title over a week ago and it just popped into my head, and I thought, 'I do not need a recipe for this.  I can make it up as I go.'  And I was right.  I'll post my recipe below.  It may or may not be close to my muse, but clue here.  I suppose I could glance at it before I link it, haha...  But I probably won't.**

Anyway, I used the last of the pesto I had sitting around.  Half of it on the tofu, half of it mixed into my couscous.  I had a couscous overload last night.  It was a bit ridiculous.  You can see this from my picture:
that isn't even half of the couscous i made

Those are turnip greens and sugar snap peas with a nice tahini sauce in the background.  They were good, but I dumbly forgot to wash my greens before steaming them.  There may or may not have been alcohol involved in this silly omission.  The flavor was good though.  That tahini sauce is:  tahini, lemon juice, scallions.  And it was tangy and wonderful.

Here's the recipe for the tofu.  I must warn you, I cut some corners with it, but this dish was really delicious, despite my laziness.

Pesto-Hummus Stuffed Tofu

1 block extra firm tofu (not silken), pressed and cut into 4 large chunks
1/2 cup hummus
2-3 Tbsp basil pesto
a bottle of italian dressing (sigh, yes, i marinated it in italian dressing from a bottle)

Ok, so once you have your four chunks of tofu, slice a slit into one side.  This slit should make a little pocket inside and not go through any of the other sides of the chunk.  I hope that makes sense.  Marinate them in the Italian dressing for about an hour, turning them fairly regularly so that all sides get nice and soaked.  

Preheat your oven to 375F once the hour's up.  Place tofu and marinade in a small glass baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.  Then take it out.  Mix up the hummus (mine was already prepared by my local deli) and the pesto (guh, it came from a tube, honestly).  Then spoon it into a plastic bag, cutting off one corner of the bag to form a makeshift piping instrument.  Pipe a generous amount of the hummus mixture into the slits you cut earlier.  Pop the dish back into the oven for another 30 minutes.  

That's it.  It was embarassingly easy.  And it was delicious.  Make sure you use a tofu that you like the flavor of, since the marinade doesn't really penetrate all the way to the middle in that hour.  I'm sure it would be even better with homemade hummus and pesto.  But isn't it nice to know that it was good with storebought stuff as well?  I think so.

Oh, I was going to do a review of those holiday soy drinks.  Well...  How about, instead:

This stuff:
Tastes infinitely better than this stuff:

I didn't take those photos.  Silk doesn't even have a picture of that pumpkin spice crud on their website.  Even they know it's not good.  As for the Vitasoy?  I can't wait to get back to the store to stock up.  Anything chocolate and mint is basically a no-brainer for me.  It all stems back to the days when my dad would surprise me with a treat of peppermint patties on the occasion that he might pick me up from school.  Oh, how I rued the day that I found out they weren't vegan.  Sad.

*Mom and Dad, if you're reading this, yes I know I just asked you for nutritional yeast from Elkins when you go and then went and bought my own the next day.  Please, still get me some if you go.  I only got that bag because I'm addicted to the stuff and it's only a pound and it costs 9 fricking dollars a pound here, which makes me insane.  I'm sure I'll need/want more by the time I see you in a couple weeks.  (a big huge bag, please!)

**I did look at that recipe and mine is so much easier.  Granted, they made a sauce to put the tofu in, but they didn't think of the idea of making a piping thingamabob instead of somehow trying to put it in with...a knife?  huh?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

tummy warming meals

It's been cold here.  Seriously cold.  This kind of weather (which will only get worse) calls for foods that fill you up and make you warm.  We had three of these types of meals in the past week, and one of them was definitely a winner.  It's also the one that I took the worst picture of, which figures.  

Soup, friends!  Hearty, veggie-filled, lentil and rice soup!  I'm not the only one who's been soup-crazy lately though.  Liz and Jessy have been souping it up recently as well, which only fueled my fire.  This particular soup was made by me totally on the fly and in 15 minutes (from conception to leaving it alone time) no less!  I was going to an art show in the next town over and wasn't going to be back in time to make dinner before Michael got home, so I made it superfast before I left.  Because of this, I don't really know how long it took to cook...  Anyway, enough stallin' (like Russia), here's the crappy photo of this wondeful soup:
i think the steam got on the lens

By the time we ate last night (late late late...bah), I was too hungry to fool with getting a decent photo.  Ah well.  Recipe?

Smushy Lentil Rice Soup with Veggies

1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
1 bunch of kale, destemmed and torn into medium pieces
1 small summer squash, cut into medium sized chunks
1 medium zucchini, cut into medium sized chunks (we were sent home with these when we went to Michael's sister's house)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup lentils (any color, I used green)
1 cup brown basmati rice
1/4 cup wild rice
3 bouillon cubes (whichever type you like...I used unchicken)
2 bay leaves
1-2 Tbsp sriracha chili sauce
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large stock pot.  Add onions and carrots, cook until onions get soft.  Add squash, zucchini, and garlic, cook, stirring often for 3-4 minutes.  Add in the thyme, rosemary, marjoram and lentils and stir until coated in the herbs.  Cook another 2 or 3 minutes.  Now take your pot over to the sink and fill it up with water until it's 2/3 full.  I didn't measure because I didn't have time to mess with it, sorry!  It's maybe...8 or 10 cups?  Put the pot back on the heat and turn it to high.  Add bouillon cubes, garlic powder, bay leaves, sriracha, rices and kale.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer until rice and lentils are cooked.  I let mine simmer for about 25 minutes, then turned it off and came back ohh...a little over 5 hours later and the risidual heat had cooked it all, and I only had to heat it back up haha...  Anywho, this next step is optional, but I think it's totally worth the little extra work.  If you have an immersion blender, use it to puree about 1/2 of the soup, just a few whizzes to make it smooth, but still with chunks of veggies hanging about.  You could also pour half of it in your blender and puree it there.  It's just a million times easier to use an immersion blender.  At any rate, add your salt and pepper to taste (it may need quite a bit of salt, depending on your bouillon) and enjoy!  It makes enough for leftovers for at least a couple lunches, so the big pot and loads of ingredients is really worth it.

Going completely out of order here, this is some mac n cheese n peas (and spinach and chickn bits) that was made on Monday night:
well, i guess technically it's ziti n cheese n peas

This was the result of a yucky Monday after a 4 day weekend.  Sometimes you just really, really need mac n cheese.  This was good, but not fabulous.  I used my basic cheese sauce recipe, but added a bunch of poultry seasoning for some crazy reason.  It didn't taste bad, but it did taste like...poultry seasoning.
chickn flavored pasta

Still, it was nice and gooey and smushy.  Plus, I added spinach and peas to make it healthy.  Sure.  The chickn is part of a can of Worthington's that we got on sale forever ago because our grocery store stopped carrying it.  I wish that stuff wasn't so expensive...  Kroger has the swiss steak, hot dogs, and chili still, but they're like $8 a can!  I can't bring myself to pay $8 for a can of fake meat.  No wonder they stopped carrying the others.

Wednesday night was enchilada time.  Or...burritos.  I've had this dilemna before.  They're baked, but they don't have enchilada sauce on them.  So.  We'll call them baked burritos.
we made enough for a small army

The theme this week seems to have been to make enough food to have leftovers so that we don't have to cook again the next night.  Seriously, it's so cold in the apartment that it's almost painful at times to pry yourself away from a space heater and go into the kitchen to cook.  You can't even imagine what it's like going to bed.  Sheesh.

Anywho, Michael and I made three types of burritos:  bean and corn in a burrito seasoning, spinach and chickn in a fajita seasoning, and potato and mushroom in a taco seasoning.  We wrapped them up in wheat tortillas and baked them underneath some salsa, jalepenos, and black olives.  

I  made a giant batch of guacamole from a bunch of avocados that the sushi chef had given Michael to take home (they were presliced and wouldn't last until the next shift).  That with the addition of some sliced scallions made these burritos pretty fabulous.  

I'm getting sleepy.  I was going to do a review of some holiday soy drinks, but I think I'll save that til next time.  Instead, I'm going to drink one of those drinks, watch more Harry Potter, and possibly take a nap.  Because it's doing this outside:
the view from my kitchen window...dreary isn't it?

And I'm not going anywhere just yet.  You see those specks?  It's actually snowing right now.  Finally, something to show for all this cold weather.

Oh, one more thing.  You all are not the only ones enjoying my xmas tree:
cuddle puddle

They like to try and screw stuff up.  Luckily for them, they do it cutely.