Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Friday, September 30, 2011

Hey, this is why I haven't been updating...

I'll probably remember this date for quite awhile, because some major lifestyle changes are starting today.

This is exactly what I thought when I made the decision to go vegetarian on November 24, 2005 (Thanksgiving day!  Ironic, huh?).  I was sixteen, and had only recently become interested in the ethics system of our society.  Why we choose to behave the way we do, why we purchase what we purchase, wear what we wear, eat what we eat...you get it.  As a high-schooler, I could only do so much.  I decided that I didn't want turkey that night.  The next day, I realized that I never wanted it again, or any other animal product, for that matter. 

You know those kids who watch a ten-minute PETA video and then pledge to go vedge immediately afterward?  Well, I wasn't one of them.  In fact, I hate the organization with a fiery passion, and the idea that thousands upon thousands of people listen so intently to such hateful, one-sided propaganda is just plain shocking!  No, definitely not a fan of PETA.  I did my research (if you're curious about any of this stuff, just ask -- I'll throw some info at you.  As much as you want.  And probably a bit more afterward, haha), and what I found out was disturbing.

I'm sure that if more people who strive to shop more ethically (not sure if I'm phrasing that correctly) knew the conditions in which our livestock, poultry, etc are kept, they would at least consider going vegetarian.  If more people who strive to lead healthier lifestyles knew what our meat and dairy went through pre-grocery store, I'm sure they'd consider this lifestyle as well.  And hey, even people who have any sort of interest in the world hunger crisis might find this lifestyle appealing -- basically, if you happen to have a few acres of farmland, you have quite a few choices as to what to do with said land.  You can, for example, raise a handful of cattle.  OR you could raise a TON of soybeans.  No, I'm not saying that all farmers should raise soybeans instead of cattle, and I'm not avoid statistics because I'm lazy.  There are a LOT of different statistics on this out there, and they're ALL different.  But they all seem to point to one thing -- you can produce a heck of a lot more soybeans than cattle (again, these are just examples) with the same amount of land and, therefore, feed many more people.  Does that make sense?

All three of these reasons factored into my decision.  I feel that is it wrong for human society to treat other species as we do.  I want to lead a healthier lifestyle, free of so much of the processed crap that so many people order at [insert any fast food place here] every day...sometimes several times a day.  And I feel that it is absolutely heartbreaking to hear about the populations of so many third world countries starving out of existence when we Americans have enough food to last us through several lifetimes (but I mean, if we all die of obesity-related health issues, this may be a moot point...um, but I digress here, haha). 

However, as of late, these changes in my lifestyle have taken a turn on me.  =( 

I failed pretty hard at the vegan thing, but I was a happy lacto-vedge for nearly six years.  Yes, was.  Thought I would be for the rest of my life.  There was never any trouble in the beginning -- a lot of people told me I would have severe KFC cravings and whatnot.  Nope.  It felt natural to be eating the way I did.  It felt like that the whole way through.

I've been having some health problems the last few years.  They came into existence so gradually that, up until recently, I would not have been able to distinguish feeling well/healthy from feeling the way I did on a regular basis...even if I had to.  I thought it was normal for your appetite to decrease dramatically as you grow older.  I also thought it was normal to lack hunger all day after having a bowl of cereal in the morning...and for half the things you eat to make you feel a bit nauseous, to some degree.  And to feel so tired that -- heck, I could practically sleep on command.  I could go on.

My doctor and I went through a ton -- a TON -- of different possibilities, but in the end the culprit seemed to be one specific thing -- gluten.

Wanna know what gluten's in?
Um...everything?

Okay, not everything, but that's sure what it seems like right now!  The possibility of being intolerant to gluten came up several times, and honestly, I just chose not to process the possibility.  I knew fully well that if my diet had to have so many restrictions added to it...I'd probably have to lift quite a few of the restrictions that were already on it.

Went to the doc yet again this afternoon and, as of today, I am gluten-free.  Actually, I've been gluten-free for the last few weeks for experimental reasons (except when my roomie made puppy chow...heh.  Totally worth the suffering, haha), and I cannot describe how much better life is now.  I don't have an allergy, and I don't have celiac disease.  What I do have, though -- what's been developing over the past few years -- is a slowly-worsening intolerance to gluten.  It really is in a lot of different foods, but now that I've actually been going out of my way to avoid it, I can:

-- Wake up at eight -- naturally, sometimes -- and have enough energy to last me through the day, until I go to bed at midnight/one-ish.  Naps were so last year.

-- Run a mile almost a minute faster than I could before!

-- NOT feel five months pregnant after eating a small/normal-sized meal (yeah, that was never fun)

-- NOT be thirsty 24/7 (still not sure why that was an issue...but it's not anymore!)

-- feel hungry on a regular basis.

-- and not feel sick afterward.

-- just have a better attitude...or a less-pronounced attitude problem, at least...in general.  ;)  Trust me, if that many of your dilemmas all simultaneously disappeared, you'd be a bit more chipper, too!

Here it is, nearly six years later, and I'm still trying to live more ethically (part of the degree I'm working on actually has to do with Ethics).  It'll probably be a lifelong endeavor.  And, of course, I still want to try to have a healthy lifestyle (that definitely does not mean I'm never touching a cookie everever again.  Being perfect's overrated!).  But in order for me to be healthy, I can't restrict myself so much.  I'm feeling pretty bittersweet about this right now, but I think it's the right decision.  Right and doctor-approved.

I still love my tofu and vedgies. 
I am still a hardcore supporter of animal rights. 
Still gonna follow all the vedge bloggers whose amaaaazing recipes have intrigued me over the past few years.
Oh, that's right...I have a blog, too!  Well, that will change as well.  =/

Although I don't subscribe to a particular system of ethics, I do believe that any personal choice that proves to be detrimental to your well-being is the wrong choice. 

What do you think?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Non-sugar-coated recipe numero dos.

As you can see, I haven't been inspired to update for quite some time now.  Had a lot of things on my mind as of late.  Things that pertain to my future, as well as the future of this blog.  I'll let you all (hah -- I'm saying this as if I had actual readers!  Har har...) know what's going on once I have some answers.

In the meantime, here's something chocolatey to keep you busy.  =)

I've always been a huge fan of hot cocoa (well, I'm a fan of anything involving chocolate!); however, what I really like is hot cocoa that is so dark and so strong that you can really taste the bitterness of the chocolate.  Therefore, most brands of hot cocoa disappoint me -- they're all about 90% sugar!

I made this yesterday to satisfy a chocolate craving.  You can most definitely sweeten it if you so desire, but I just drank it straight-up.  I thought that the almond milk added a unique hint of sweetness to it.


Hot Cocoa!
You'll need:


8 oz almond milk
1 scant tbsp Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder (you would not believe how much of this I go through on a daily basis)
Dash cinnamon


Nuke almond milk and add remaining ingredients.  If it's too bitter for you to handle, go ahead and add your sweetener of choice.  Wuss.  ;)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Non-sugar-coated recipe numero uno.

This is yet another creation of which I did not take a picture, due to the fact that...it looks like nearly any other kind of oatmeal out there!  And oatmeal just looks...bleh.  Haha!

If you know me well, you know that I absolutely love the heck out of oatmeal.  Why?  Because a) It keeps you going (and, on a very regular basis, I am going all sorts of different places all day, so stopping for food every few hours is a major inconvenience), b) it's healthy, and c) if you make it the right way, it tastes pretty darn amazing!  Most people prefer sweet oatmeal; however, I discovered that the stuff can be just as amazing when mixed with a few savory ingredients as well. 

My favorite kind of sweet oatmeal has always been apple cinnamon.  The Quaker Instant kind.  X)  But the other day, I do believe I created something just a bit better.  Although this recipe physically yields more oatmeal than a packet of the instant stuff does, it only has 20 more Calories.  Oh, and it has no added sugar.

Apple Pie Porridge

You'll need:

1/3 cup quick oats
Scant 1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla


Mix oats and salt together and add water.  Microwave for approx 1 min, 15 sec.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Try topping with raisins or cranberries.  :p


Once you try this stuff, you'll see why I called it Apple Pie Porridge. 

Calories:  150

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I don't sugar-coat things.

That statement applies to me in two different ways.  Firstly, I really am an honest person.  I don't believe in euphemisms and white lies -- I tell it like it is (and I'd prefer that people told ME things as they are, too.  If I can dish it, I can take it)!  Any of my friends could tell you that.  Sure, being a nice person is always on my list of priorities...however...if you ask me a question -- any question -- I'm going to say what I think, no matter what.  And it might not always be the answer for which you were looking.

Secondly...I am one of the many people out there who is saying goodbye to that white, grainy stuff and trying to find something healthier to dump in my coffee/cereal every morning!  Okay, okay, I am most definitely not on a sugar-free diet.  Chocolate is one of my absolute favorite foods, and, on a very regular basis, I visit my favorite cafe downtown and order my favorite coffee drink, a tin roof latte.  This drink consists of coffee, milk, chocolate, caramel, peanut butter, and a heck of a lot of sugar.  So yeah, glucose is all good in my world.

However, over the past few years, I have been exploring healthier alternatives.  Why?  Well, there are several different reasons, but one of the biggest reasons is that I am hypoglycemic.  Most of you probably already know what that is, but in case you don't...when someone is hypoglycemic, they need to consume complex carbohydrates every few hours in order to prevent a "sugar attack" (at least, that's what I've always referred to them as).  During a sugar attack, they might get shaky, dizzy, even nauseous.  If I let one go on for long enough,  my muscle coordination and motor skills get kinda effed up.  Oh, and I fell flat on my face once.  That wasn't fun.

These attacks are triggered by two different things:  a)  not eating for a long period of time, or b) consuming simple carbohydrates, such as white, processed grains aaaand...you guessed it, SUGAR.  But hey, I can still eat all the sugary crap I want.  I just need to be armed with a glucose tablet, a piece of fruit, or...something involving whole grains...when the attack comes an hour or so later. 

I've tried various sugar substitutes.  They all suck.  Yes, all of them.  Nearly every single kind I tried was, essentially, a packet of crystallized, sickeningly sweet chemicals with a downright nasty aftertaste.  My most recent sugar-free adventure involved cooking a few things with stevia.  Stevia...well, it definitely doesn't taste good.  It just tastes slightly less awful than all the other sugar substitutes out there! 

Honestly, I prefer healthier forms of sugar.  While refined sugars will give me an attack and sugar substitutes won't do crap for me (and taste disgusting), complex sugars, such as honey, maple syrup, fruit, and agave syrup, actually help me.  And they help you, too.  Since complex sugars take longer for your body to break down, they fuel you for a longer period of time.  In other words, they give you legit energy, unlike white sugar.  I love putting honey in my coffee and tea, and mixing fruit with yogurt, cereal, etc.  Recently, I tried chai tea sweetened with agave syrup, and it was heavenly. 

Seriously, there are so many more alternatives to sugar than that icky stevia!

[stay tuned for some nom-tastic, no-added-sugar recipes!]









Sunday, August 7, 2011

No earth-shatteringly delicious inspiration, as of late.

For me, inspiration usually comes in streaks.  For example, there will be a week where I'll come up with about 25 recipe ideas, manage to make about ten of them, and then have to restrain myself from blogging about all of them at once!  And then...there will be entire months when I will have no ideas whatsoever.  This is looking like one of those months.  Egh.

But!  Check out the adorable storage containers Lisa gave me for my birthday a few weeks ago!  <3

(That black, blob-like thing off to the side is just a cherry pit, FYI.  And that white stuff is cottage cheese.  I think I have the least photogenic diet out of everyone I know...)

She gave me some Hello Kitty plates and bowls as well.  To go with my Hello Kitty toaster...um, yeah, I'm totally not 22 years old!  /facepalm  HK, along with Fruits' Basket, lolcats, and many other mindlessly cute things, is one of my guilty pleasures.  I may be getting older, but I certainly don't plan on getting boring!

Oh, and I did try making a spicy version of my savory oatmeal  the other day.  I cooked the oatmeal with 1/4 tsp of salt, and then added a dash of pepper, 1 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp onion powder, and 1 tsp cilantro.  Topped it with tomatoes, mushrooms, and onions sauteed in olive oil.  If you a) like the sound of the original recipe (the one I just linked), and b) are a fan of cumin, you're bound to be a fan of this as well!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Vedgehead 101

My friend decided the other day that he wanted to learn how to cook vegetarian, and asked if I would teach him how (of course!).  For the first "lesson," I wanted to make something that was both a) nom-tastic, and b) unique to vegetarian cuisine, HOWEVER...I wanted to keep things simple as well.  Since I've been stockpiling tofu in my freezer for Idon'tknowhowmany months, baked tofu seemed like the way to go.  It's one of my favorite comfort foods.

We also stir-fried some broccoli and carrots, and topped it with nutritional yeast. 

Baked tofu is superdupereasy to make.  I kind of want to bread mine next time.  =p  Yay for comfort food.

Baked Tofu

You'll need:

1 container of Nasoya firm/extra firm tofu
1/3 cup oil of choice (we used olive oil)
Seasonings of choice (we chose garlic, onion, and basil)
Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Drain tofu and press (if you're not sure what I mean by this, just ask; it's really easy) for about ten minutes.  Cut into pieces approx. 1/2 an inch thick.  Spray baking dish -- you could even use a cookie sheet, if you don't have anything else -- and place tofu on it (place the pieces far enough apart so that flipping them won't be too much of a hassle).  Mix seasonings with oil and pour over top.  Bake for 30 min -- flip pieces after the first 15 min.

Tofu doesn't have much flavor on its own -- basically, it's a sponge for other flavors, so what your tofu tastes like depends entirely on how you season it!  The tofu my friend and I made the other night seemed to absorb the flavor from the oil and basil quite well.  The garlic and onion, not so much.  It didn't quite fit the definition of "nom-tastic," but it was still pretty decent!

PS -- Dude, any of you ever seen these before?
DOUGHNUT PEACHES!!  :D

Yes, that's really what they're called (this picture was taken at Walmart, and, after seeing the not-so-appetizing state of most of their produce, I thought these were just some poor little reject peaches that no other store would sell...)!  Doughnut peaches were originally grown in China, and were introduced in the US during the late 1800s.  Supposedly, these are sweeter than regular peaches, and have an almond-like taste.  I think I need to try one of these!

Friday, July 22, 2011

I'm such a s'moron sometimes.

Another epic (-ally delicious) failure of mine:


I reeeeely wanted to make marshmallows the other day.  Seeing as regular marshmallows are made with gelatin, and vegan marshmallows cost about a million dollars a bag, I wanted to try making my own!  Did some extensive research via interwebs -- sadly, I could only find a handful of well-written, non-sketchy recipes for gelatin-free marshmallows, and even those didn't have the greatest reviews.  I tried a recipe that involved using agar in place of gelatin.  The recipe stated that, once covered and placed in the fridge, the marshmallows would set within eight hours.  I didn't have my hopes up.

Sure enough, eight hours later, I still had a dish of goop.  So I left it in the fridge for a few days while I thought of what to do next.  I really wanted to make something that involved chocolate and graham crackers.  It's the middle of summer, and I'm craving s'mores like none other!  Haven't had one in a good six years.

Well, eight days later, I finally had time to do some experimentation and try to make the most out of my epic fail, haha.  Opened up the fridge to see that the silly stuff was finally beginning to set!!  But I had run out of patience.  ;)

I ended up melting an entire jar of Artisana coconut butter (my latest obsession -- thanks, CCK!), mixing it with 1/3 cup of dark cocoa powder, pouring it over the goop, and topping it with graham cracker crumbs.  I let it chill for about an hour and, pretty soon, I had what amounted to one gigantic, goopy s'more -- heck yes.  

Don't worry; I didn't eat it all myself.  I took it to a party.  Although there weren't any other vedgeheads there, everyone seemed to enjoy it.  Must have done something right!

If you want to try making this, I would try lining the bottom of a baking dish with vegan marshmallows (...but you'll have to win the lottery before having the required funds to purchase those...).  Just don't try making your own unless you really know what you're doing -- otherwise you'll end up in a sticky mess! 

This would probably taste pretty rad with toasted coconut sprinkled on top, don't you think?  *Ponders*

Hope everyone's summer is going well!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

ItalEastern Cuisine.


 Because Manwich is for pansies.  
Pahahahaha.

Saw these in the freezer at Oryana the other day -- they made me lawl so hard.  Naan is just ridiculously delicious.  For those of you who don't know, naan is a type of flatbread served in the Middle East.  I'm a big  
 fan of Mideastern cuisine, and I love pairing it with hummus.  Or raita (a delicious, savory cucumber yogurt that is usually served with uber-spicy foods, like curry), if I have time to make some.  I need to share my Americanized raita recipe with you all sometime...

OH HAI, my latest butter recipe would be pretty dandy slathered on a piece of naan, too!  Whipped up my first batch of  savory nut butter the other day.  Seeing as nearly all of my nut butters are so sweet that they could probably be topped with whipped cream and eaten for dessert, this was quite a change of pace.  My inspiration came from a big bag of pine nuts and a container of basil I found in the spice cupboard.  Seeing the two sitting next to each other gave me an idea...so I busted out the food processor and, five minutes later, I had a batch of savory, melt-in-your-mouth creamy, completely un-photogenic (I know, I know -- it looks like I stuck the end of the spatula into a hairball.  Ick.) pine nut butter!  Like peanut butter, this stuff is packed with protein and unsaturated fat ("good" fat).  I think it would be good on toasted sliced of white bread with some fresh tomato (hm, maybe a bruschetta imposter?), as an appetizer before a fancy-shmancy Italian dinner.

Pesto Butter

You'll Need:.
3/4 cup pine nuts
 1 Heaping 1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 Heaping 1/4 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp dried basil (but if you absolutely love the heck out of basil, you could probably add a tsp or two more)
*Optional* Oil for toasting pine nuts -- they're lovely toasted, but they're nommy raw as well!

Pour pine nuts into food processor and blllllennnnd...until butter forms.  This should take 2-3 minutes.  Then add seasonings and blend again, this time for 10-15 seconds.  Aaaand that's all, folks!



Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ramblings of the Edible Variety

...I think every post I make here can be classed as that, actually!

I think I'm gonna stop writing as if I'm writing for a ginormous audience of vedgie-loving, peanutbutterphilic vegetarians and just post whatever I want -- which is usually a couple random (ie completely unrelated) recipes, and maybe a few photos as well.  Maybe more than a few -- I seriously have enough foodie photos to start an EdgeofVedge tumblr, but I'm not the biggest fan of that site.  Like, every time I end up going on there for whatever reason, it feels like I'm just assailed with photos and assorted random crap from all sides.  I'd probably have a seizure if I was on there for more than a few minutes.  X_x

So!  Random food piccies of the day!


This colorful little number is a vedgie/bean soup I made the other day.  Um...like many of my other recipes, this was born out of what turned out to be a serendipitous mistake!   I had made myself some plain vedgie soup and, in an effort to make some leftovers disappear, I cut up and tossed in my last failburger (remember those?  Ha.).  Well, that burger had itself one final fail as it, within minutes, completely dissolved in my soup.  But hey, it was still pretty good.  =p  When life throws you burgers...make soup?  Um, I'll just shut up now.

I've also been obsessed with this stuff, as of late.
So, what exactly is this?
It looks just like every other so-called recipe of mine, you say (something gloppy, covered in either fruit or vedgies)?
Shaddup.  ;D

This is what I've been bringing to work for the last few nights.  I usually work from about four in the afternoon until midnight, and it really keeps me going as the night wears on.

Would you believe that's oatmeal hiding under all the vedgies?

Indeed -- this, my friends (ie, the one or two people who will read this post...) is savory oatmeal.

I absolutely adore oatmeal.  It provides you with boatloads of energy without an insane amount of sugar or Calories.  It keeps you full for hours without weighing you down.  Oh, and it goes well with...pretty much anything!  See, for the longest time, I had the same mindset as nearly everyone else when it came to oatmeal -- oatmeal is a breakfast food; therefore, it would just be WEIRD if it was doctored up with something that wasn't sweet.  Don't get me wrong, I love the heck out of oatmeal with a touch of brown sugar, cinnamon, and chopped dates.  However, as I was getting ready for work the other night, I had a craving for the oats, yet...my sweet tooth had taken the night off?  Weird.

I remembered how, when I was down south, I saw "cheesy grits" as a side on many a restaurant menu.  Hey -- why the heck do we not do that up here with oatmeal??  In fact, I've had cheesy grits before, and they were amazing.  So I thought I'd give this a try!  I kind of Italian-ized it, but the possibilities are endless here!  If you're vegan, why not try soy yogurt and nutritional yeast?  Or maybe cheddar cheese, sour cream, and a touch of salsa? 

Savory Oatmeal

You'll need:

1/3 cup quick oats
2/3 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
 Pepper
3 tsp Parmesan Cheese
2 tsp basil (I just used dried basil)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp minced onion (again, I just used the dried stuff)
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

Combine oats and water and microwave for 1 min, 15 sec.  Stir and add salt, pepper (just a dash), 1 tsp basil and 1 tsp Parmesan.  In a measuring cup, combine yogurt, garlic powder, minced onion, and the remaining basil and Parmesan; mix well.  Combine with oatmeal.  Oh, and add some sauteed vedgies, if you want!  Bell peppers and onions are a good combination.

While the oatmeal is packed with complex carbs -- ie *energy,* Greek yogurt contains a crazy amount of protein, which also helps you stay alert and energized. 

This oatmeal will make you powerful.  UNNECESSARILY POWERFUL.  [Hey, has anyone seen Gnomeo and Juliet?  Adorable movie...ehehehe]

 














Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In honor of Cherry Festival...

Actually, I really don't give a darn about honoring the Cherry Festival.  As a local, Cherry Festival tends to bring thoughts of obnoxious tourists, traffic jams, and GARBAGE.  EVERYWHERE.  Seriously, downtown is pretty much wrecked after the Festival each summer.  I just hate seeing people litter.  It's one of my pet peeves.  My purse is always full of gum wrappers, napkins, etc simply because I'd rather haul my trash around with me than just throw it in the street.  But um...there are literally trash cans on every block downtown, so I'll never see why people feel the need to litter.  It's sad.

/rant

HOWEVER.  I do thoroughly enjoy cherries.  In fact, I ate close to two cups of dried tart cherries the other night!  Their taste reminds me of Fruit Roll-Ups, only...way better.  And healthier.

Do you know that cherries are an awesome source of antioxidants?  Antioxidants are known to help reduce one's risk of heart disease and diabetes later in life.  There's a lot of research being done on these guys right now, actually -- if you want to learn more, go here:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antioxidant

 BE ENLIGHTENED.

I made this butter the other night to finish satisfying my massive cherry craving.  The cherries in it serve as a pretty decent sweetener, but I ended up adding a bit of honey so the butter wouldn't be so goopy. 

Cherry Almond Butter

You'll need:
1 cup toasted almonds
1/4 cup oil of choice (peanut oil worked just fine)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup dried tart cherries
2 tbsp - 1/4 cup honey (depends on how big your sweet tooth is!)


Blend everything except for the honey until smooth.  Then add your honey and blend until you see it start to thicken -- this should only take 10-15 seconds.

...I had a picture, but you know...it looks just like all my other butter pictures, so I really doubt it would be worth posting!  ;)

Monday, June 20, 2011

A little bit of maple butter...definitely does *not* go a long way.

This is going to be a very brief post, since I have to get ready for work soon.  I work all day for the next four days, but then I get another three-day weekend.  Yayzers.

My family went out to one of my dad's favorite restaurants -- this really neat little Cajun place -- last night to celebrate Fathers' Day.  I had a salad with pickled carrots, black-eyed pea relish, and okra -- yum!  Okra is kinda funny, though.  It tastes great, yet it just has the slimiest texture.  So I can see why some people don't like it!

Afterward, I really, really wanted some kind of...nut butter (not necessarily peanut butter.  Dare to be different), but I didn't want to make a great big batch.  Decided on maple-pecan butter.  I made a batch about half the size of what I normally make, and it turned out great!  Perfect size for one person.  It'd be really good with apples, but I just ate it straight-up.  Of course.  ;D  Finished it in about five minutes.

Maple-Pecan Butter

You'll need:
1/2 cup pecans (try toasting them!)
1/8 cup oil (I used vegetable oil)
1/8 cup REAL maple syrup

Grind up pecans in food processor, then add oil and blend until smooth.  Then blend in maple syrup.

Um, yeah...trust me, it tastes a lot better than it looks!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Not-so-cool beans.

I am utterly exhausted right now.  But in a good way.  It's not so much the "Uuuugh, I'm so sick and tired of life" kind of exhaustion, but rather the "I actually got off my arse and did things today!" type.  I am perfectly content with spending the rest of the afternoon up here in my room, typing up the rest of this blog and maybe starting yet another book (I'm currently reading two -- a book about feminists of the 21st century along with a sci-fi.  About to start a memoir.  Lawlrandom).  Oh, and listening to the breeze outside.  It's 75, sunny, and just all-around gorgeous right now; however, my watery eyes and itchy nose are telling me that I should probably stay in here for the rest of the day.

Anyhoo, as cheesy as it sounds, today reminded me of why my life is worth living.  There may not be anything about my life that's particularly interesting at the moment, and there may not be anyone in my life who really cares about me right now (in fact, there are some utterly shit-tastic people in my life right now whose mission is to get as much as they can out of me, all while pretending to be my friend.  No names will be mentioned), but I'm still getting things done and moving along in my life.  They're not.  And, when I graduate next summer, they'll still be doing what they're doing today -- mooching off of other people and deceiving their way through life.  Pahahaha.

*Ahem*  Okay, slowly working my way back to the topic of food...

 In terms of exercise, this weekend has been great.  Yen Yoga had free classes all week to celebrate their second anniversary, so I signed up for Bikram Friday and Saturday morning.  MAN, is hot yoga ever intense!  I loved it, though.  Even though it's an unbelievably intense workout, it leaves you feeling surprisingly calm and serene.  In other words, it's the exact opposite of running, which leaves you (well...me, at least) panting and achy. Sure wish I could afford a membership there...Bikram seems perfect for those who enjoy a good workout, but need some sort of stress-relieving activity as well.  With all the scheduling drama going on between my three jobs, life is getting a bit stressful.  X_x Ugh.

Oh, and speaking of running...I had a little adventure of sorts the other day.  See, there's this two-track at the end of one of the streets in my neighborhood that I've always wanted to explore.  I ran down there the other morning, crossing my fingers and hoping that I wouldn't run into any random axe-murderers while in the woods.  Well...I was in the woods for a grand total of two minutes before encountering another road.  X)  I followed this road and found...a totally normal-looking street, with average-looking houses.  Maybe even a boring dog or two.  Not the most exciting of adventures, but I did find a nice loop to jog around, so now I have a new route to take in the morning.  

I went back there this morning and, after showering, hopped on my bike and went down to the drugstore.  I live on a hill, so getting back home kind of sucked.  X_x Hence me being exhausted.

...And now for the food!


Well, CCK posted a recipe for chick pea blondies the other day, and I was intrigued.  Healthy, gluten-free, high-protein blondies?  Too good to be true.  I had to try it out.

Um...it was too good to be true.  Sorry CCK; better luck next time.  X)  The batter was so dry!  So dry that well, it wasn't even really batter...more like chunks of chickpeas and sugar.  Egh.  Adding a tablespoon of water helped; however, as soon as they came out of the oven, I took one look at the pan and knew that they were going to crumble everywhere before I even had a chance to get them out of the pan.  As you can see...that's pretty much what happened.

Then it was time for Black Bean Brownies, Take II.  I almost had it!  They were fantastically fudgy, wonderfully dark, yet...barely chocolatey.  At all.

W.T.F.

See, the black beans make it seems like these things are a LOT more chocolatey than they actually are -- even after adding 4 tbsp of dark cocoa powder, you could barely taste the chocolatey goodness.  =(  I'm not sure if I'd add any more cocoa powder, although the addition of about 3/4 cup of dark chocolate chips seems like a good idea for next time.  ;)

Here's the blondie recipe I mentioned.  Hehe, she's so funny...I based my brownie recipe off of this one.  Adding 4 tablespoons of water to the brownie batter seemed to be what helped them achieve maximum levels of fudginess...so maybe that would work for these guys as well?

Here's my recipe.  Again, I'm thinking that about half a bag of chocolate chips would make them about 800 times better!

Fudge-tastic Brownies

You'll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups black beans
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • heaping 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar (I just used white sugar)
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup soy protein powder
  • 4 tbsp dark cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (for whatever reason, you really can't taste it once the brownies are baked, so don't splurge on expensive PB for this recipe)
  • ...Chocolate chips.  Copious amounts.
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, and the wet ingredients in another, smaller mixing bowl.  Combine, and pour into a greased 8 x 8 baking dish.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Don't forget to sample some of the batter beforehand -- one of the many perks of vegan / lacto-vedge baking is that no raw eggs are ever involved!

This is hella long.  I should really update more often, eh?  

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Cool beans.

Ehm, well I'm not sure if anyone else other than myself would consider them "cool," but hey, I dare to be different. 

This was the height of my culinary creativity over the past few weeks. 





Yeah.  Nothing very exciting, huh? 


The first picture is of my Memorial Day dinner.  I made black bean burgers, and I failed EPICALLY.  See, in my mind, I thought that the key to giving them a burger-esque texture was a substance that would help the bean um...batter?...stick together once it had been grilled.  An egg substitute, most likely.  Rumor has it that plain yogurt makes for a decent egg substitute, and I just so happened to have a bit of plain Greek yogurt in the fridge, so I decided to test this theory!


Okay.  In my defense, I totally had things under control in terms of taste:  every bite was packed with spicy, smokey goodness!  But the texture...kind of reminded me of bean dip.  In fact, I'm sure that the results would have been infinitely better if I had just left the batter and called it dip.  Those things took forever to grill!  Finally, after a crust had formed over each of them, I decided to throw in the towel.  Next time, I'm thinking about omitting the yogurt and just using the bean mixture, or maybe replacing the yogurt with silken tofu, which is pretty much thee best egg substitute around.

The other photo is of a snack I made afterwards -- I love almonds, but not straight-up, raw almonds.  I like flavor, and lots of it!  They may look kind of boring in the picture, but I assure you, their flavor was nowhere near dull!

Soooo, how about some recipes, eh?

BBQ Black Bean Dip
[You can also make yourself 2-3 failburgers with this recipe, but I don't recommend it ;) ]

You'll need:
 
12 oz can of black beans, drained
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tbsp salsa
1 tsp each:  garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and cilantro
A couple drops of liquid smoke -- you can find this at most supermarkets

Mix it all together and let it sit in the fridge for an hour or two.  It'd probably be absolutely splendid with tortilla chips.  Yes, splendid.  And I'll let you know once I have the burgers figured out.

Savory Almonds

You'll need:

2 cups of raw almonds
4 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/4 tsp seasoning salt
Oil, butter, margarine, or heck -- even cooking spray -- for toasting.

Toast your almonds on medium heat, then pour into seal-able container.  Add the Worcestershire sauce and seasoning salt, place the lid over the container (holding it down with one hand), and shake.  HOWEVER, IF YOU SEAL THE CONTAINER BEFORE SHAKING IT, STEAM FROM THE HOT ALMONDS WILL BUILD UP, AND IT WILL EXPLODE ALL OVER YOU.  DON'T ASK ME HOW I KNOW THIS.

Ahem.  Anyway.  I just got back from Georgia, and I have pralines on the brain!  Ohhhh goodness, are those ever good.  My family bought three pounds of them at the airport in Atlanta.  There HAS to be an easy way to make these, and I'm determined to figure it out!  Oh, and praline pecan butter, maybe?  I'm thinking yes.








Monday, May 16, 2011

All the single ladies, now put your hands up!

Hehehe, that song can get annoying really quickly...

So, after starting my three new jobs, I've been pretty darn busy -- but I haven't abandoned the foodie world completely!  Haven't thought up any interesting recipes as of late, but here are a few purty pictures!





Okay, so maybe they're not the prettiest of foodie photos...well hey, I never claimed to be a photographer.  ;) 

Photo 1:  I've started adding fresh greens and radicchio to my stir-fry.  Gives it a nice, spring-y taste, along with a satisfying crunch.

Photo 2:  Yet another one of CCK's recipes! 
She refers to it as the "Single Lady Cupcake."

The Single Lady Cupcake is infinitely awesome for three different reasons.
1.  It's the perfect recipe to bust out when you have a massive sugar craving, but don't want to make an entire batch of cupcakes. 
2.  There are so many different things you can mix in!
3.  Apparently, if you're too lazy to bother with the oven, you can just nuke the batter in the microwave for 90 seconds!  [Guess what I'll be having for dessert every night once I'm back downstate at school?  Har har...]

I mixed dark chocolate chips and dried tart cherries in with mine, and topped it with coconut.  Oh, and the frosting?  Actually, the frosting is what de-veganized this recipe, haha.  I just whipped about an ounce of cream cheese and a tablespoon of powdered sugar together, then added a few drops of vanilla extract, along with a drop or two of almond extract (that stuff is STRONG).  The results were pretty much amazing.  =p

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Home for good. Thank goodness. [Oh, and remember those muffins?]

I moved back home for the summer last Friday.  Despite how relieving it is to be out of school, the general level of chaos in my life hasn't gone down all that much.  Spent the weekend unpacking and rearranging my room -- my mother just finished redoing it, and the walls are now a delightfully spring-y shade of green.  Oh, and I have pastel green/blue paisley bedding to match, as well.  I love it. 

Yes, that would be my teddy bear; ya gotta problem with that?  ;)  

Frames around posters = insta-classiness. 
I started my internship on Monday, job numero uno on Tuesday, and job numero dos yesterday.  Yeah, I'll be just a tad busy this summer...seriously doubt I'd be able to have a social life, even if I particularly wanted one.

[In case you haven't guessed already, I'm kind of a loser, and tend to spend most of my time in front of my computer, in the kitchen, or engrossed in a novel.  I like sci-fi /nerd]

...Oh yeah, this blog is supposed to be about food, right?


These were the muffins / cupcakes-sans-frosting I baked on Easter.  I used a recipe from this chica's blog.


...Only I tweaked it a little bit.  Ended up omitting the applesauce (since we didn't have any) and the Ener-G (I have searched HIGH AND LOW for this stuff, but to no avail!  Sadface).  For an egg subtitute (and, in a way, to substitute the applesauce), I used mashed banana.  Oh, and then I completely de-veganized the batter by dumping in close to half a bag of M&Ms.  ;)  

Anyway, I definitely recommend that you check out CCK's blog.  She has soooo many amazing (and original) vegan / rawist recipes.  Oh, and most of them involve chocolate.  Need I say more?  ^_^

So, I want to work on some spring-y / summer-y recipes, now that the snow is officially gone (well, I sure as heck hope it is -- here in MI, anything can happen during this time of the year.  By the way, I just knocked on wood.  As if rapping my knuckles on my nightstand will influence Mother Nature's decisions...hah).  Any ideas?


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Shira-what? Part II

At first, I felt really bad for neglecting this blog for so long, but then I realized that practically no one reads it anyway, so whatevs!  *Shrugs*

Last week was essentially Hell Week for me (this week is finals week, which isn't much better).  I had to put together my Creative Writing portfolio (twenty pages), revise my plan book for my public relations class (50 pages), study for the oral exam in la clase de espaƱol, revise my final paper for yet another writing class ("Writing with Style"), and type up my final article for my journalism class.  In addition to the school-related chaos, I also had to contact all three of my places of work (the job fairy was most definitely on my side this spring!) and try my damndest to put together a schedule that does not, at any point during the week, require me to be at two or more places at once.  Whew!

By the way, the aforementioned schedule still hasn't materialized, but it's getting there.

Easter was simply eggcellent, if I do say so myself (See that?  I just made a pun!  You're supposed to laugh, silly!).  It was beautiful outside -- mostly sunny, high 50s, and a bit of  a breeze -- so I decided to go on my first outdoor run of the year. 

My shins are absolutely killing me right now.

 See, I've been on a treadmill all winter / spring, and my neighborhood is quite hilly...not to mention the fact that I ran more than twice as long as I usually do, simply because I didn't want to go inside...so yeah, I'm kinda hobbling right now.  But it was worth it.

My mother made the most amaaaazing salad for Easter dinner (I'm kinda glad I liked it so much, because it was the only dish I could / wanted to eat, aside from what I made)!  It consisted of blanched asparagus, artichoke hearts, feta cheese, and plenty of balsamic vinaigrette.  I had a huge plate of that, as well as a few of these:

Choco-Carrot Easter Muffins






Or, as Jim Gaffigan would say, bald cupcakes.  Tehe.  They were a tad healthier than cupcakes, though.  This recipe was actually based on a recipe created by my favorite food blogger in the world, who I will introduce to you (as well as my version of the recipe) next time!

Anyhoo, I have two more days of finals, two days to clean the apartment, and then I'm moving home for the summer.  ^_^

Oh hai -- remember the shirataki noodles from my last post?

I didn't end up doing anything particularly creative with them, pahaha.  Just sauteed them in some olive oil with some broccoli and onionsHowever, I was glad to see that they retained their chewy texture, so I definitely plan on using them in stir-fry again.

Gotta love Rubbermaid containers.  I've actually been eating out of them all semester -- would you believe that yours truly, out of all people, forgot to bring dishes to school?  Heh heh...

I just need some chopsticks now...

PS -- Are any of you tea-lovers, by chance?  I have a very healthy appreciation for tea -- it's probably flowing through my veins as we speak!  Well...we aren't really speaking, but you get the idea, right?  My friend and I got together for tea and a movie a few days before Easter, and she had some of that tea that comes with a dried flower -- a dried flower that "blooms" as soon as it's immersed in hot water.  'Twas bloody gorgeous!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Shira-what?

Due to my lack of free time, money and, therefore, ingredients with which to cook, I've been essentially surviving off of soup.  =p  But I'm not sick of it just yet!  To be honest, I've been doing this for years -- when it comes to food, I have phases.  For example, when I was sixteen, I loooved bagels (this was back when I was still lacto-ovo-vedge).  So I had one every day.  For over a year.  And the crazy thing is, I never officially grew sick of the things.  I discovered at the beginning of the school year that the caf sold Big Apple bagels for fifty cents -- what a deal!  I mean, they were all piled haphazardly into the bagel case, so you would always end up with a bagel that tasted like a combination of garlic, cinnamon and blueberry, but I still enjoyed them.  I was a weird kid. 

Then there was the hummus phase last summer / fall.  Again, I never tired of the stuff.  I just became distracted by a very brief stir-fry phase during the winter (this was probably due to this very nommy, very pricey stir-fry sauce I bought before moving downstate for school), hehe.  Then I got my hands on some vedgie broth concentrate, and the soup phase started.  Look what I made at my parents' house last weekend:


 They were having a spinach / mushroom quiche for dinner, and I got a little jealous.  Always a good combination...I actually stir-fry-ified the spinach along with the mushrooms and onions, and it turned out quite well. 

Aaaand, here is the loveliest blog photo yet:


Pahaha.  ;)  Those white thingies are shirataki noodles


I've been hearing about shirataki noodles quite a bit, as of late, so I decided to pick some up when I was at Meijer earlier.  They're a type of gluten-free noodle (is it just me, or is there a sort of gluten-free craze going on right now?) made out of tofu and yam flour (wait...you can make flour from yams?  Mind.  Blown).  Unfortunately, since calcium sulfate is used to shape the noodles, these things stink!  Their odor somewhat resembles that of fish.  So, regardless of what you plan on doing with them (...they have absolutelypositively no flavor to them whatsoever, so you probably wouldn't want to eat them plain -- how boring!), you'll want to drain and rinse them pretty well!  As you can see, I decided to try adding them to soupHow predictable.

The verdict:  In terms of nutritional value, shirataki noodles are pretty...well, worthless.  They have a bit of fiber in them, but that's it.  So they would probably be better off as a side dish, or added to something healthier.  They definitely scored a 0 in the Taste and Appearance categories as well, pahaha. 

But!  I really do enjoy the texture of these noodles -- they're definitely unlike any noodle I've ever tried.  They're somewhat chewy, and rather...gelatinous?  I tend to purposely under-cook my pasta / rice noodles ("Al dente" is where it's at!), so you can imagine why I enjoyed these.  Also!  They are amazing at absorbing flavor -- even though they were sitting in the soup broth for no more than two minutes before I started eating it, they, ever-so-miraculously, acquired a very savory taste. 

It seems like these should be put in the same category as tofu, cottage cheese, plain yogurt, potatoes, etc -- they can taste amazing, or they can taste atrocious.  It all depends on how you prepare them!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Gone bananas, back in five.

Srsly, I have.  I wrote a fourteen-page research paper the other night.  Fourteen pages.  By the time I had finished up my list of references, my eyes were twitching from staring at my computer screen for so long! 

Although, to be honest, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  It had to do with the career I hope to have in just a few short years, and the majority of the research I did was actually quite interesting.  But, still...I'm feeling a tad burnt out!  X_x


I'm at home this weekend!  ^_^  Living on campus without a car is rather sucky at times -- I was going a little stir-crazy.  But now I'm home...where I can drive, do my laundry for free, and have access to an endless supply of Morningstar stuff (thanks, mom!  Doubt I'll be able to eat all those vedgie burgers in one weekend...)!

Oh, right.  This blog is supposed to be about food, isn't it?

I used to loathe bananas.  Seriously, I just hated the things.  To me, they were nothing but slimy, stringy, smelly pieces of plant matter that, for whatever reason, were considered edible.  However, ever since I used a banana in lieu of eggs in a batch of sugar cookies a few months ago (the end product was quite nommy, if I do say so myself), I've been warming up to them.  Gradually.

Well, over the past few days, I've been chowing down on at least one on a daily basis!  What the heck is going on here?!

Here are a couple of the random creations I've put together over the past few days...











The first creation (I have yet to think of a name for this one) was inspired by bananas foster.  This stuff is booze-free, though.  ;)  The second one -- I think I shall call it Banana Creme -- makes for a lovely, energizing brekkie. 

Creation Numero Uno

You will need:
1 banana
dash of cinnamon
oil / butter / margarine / etc for frying

Cut your banana into thin-ish slices and fry on medium heat.  Sprinkle cinnamon over top.  Within about two minutes, the bananas should be brown and slightly mushy -- that means they're done!  I just ate them straight up, but they'd probably be pretty nommy over ice cream, yogurt, toast, or oatmeal.  Nommm...

Banana Creme

You will need:
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I used plain, but flavored would work just as well!)
1 medium-sized banana
Dash of cinnamon

Using a fork, mash the banana into a paste.  Then mix in your yogurt and cinnamon. 


I have yet to figure out what this banana obsession is all about, but hey, it could be a lot worse.  Bananas are a great source of fiber and potassium (this stuff maintains the water balance between your cells and bodily fluids), as well as a decent source of vitamin C. 

And, in the world of yogurt...Greeks just do it better!  Haha.  Greek yogurt is a very good source of calcium, and it also has twice the amount of protein that normal yogurt has.  Plus, it's thick and creamy, not runny and gloppy.  Regular yogurt was so yesterday.  ;)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sun butter on a cloudy, miserable day.

My gosh, why does the weather always have to be absolutely miserable every time I decide to go to the gym (the gym is on the other side of campus, and I don't have a car)?  Normally, I wouldn't mind the walk to and from the fieldhouse -- it's akin to a warm-up and cool-down power walk.  But seriously, I can literally hear the wind howling outside, and it's really pissing me off, because I really want to get a 20-30 minute run in before class!  Ugh.  Yesterday, it was spitting rain when I went into the gym...however, when I came back outside half an hour later, the ground was covered in hailstones!  Welcome to springtime in Michigan...

I find that the only way I can sit still / pay attention in class is if I use up all my energy beforehand.  So I think I'm gonna show Mother Nature who's boss after I finish typing this up and head over to the rec room.  Just had some coffee and a big bowl of Greek yogurt, so Imma ready to go. 

Has anyone ever tried Greek yogurt?  In the world of yogurt, it is my absolute favorite.  It's so thick and creamy (sometimes I make vedgie dip with it), and it has twice as much protein as regular yogurt.

Favorite brand.

Well, I made the best batch of butter yet yesterday!  Man, I feel like most of this blog is devoted to nut butters (I'm thinking about selling them in the not-so-distant future, but I'll need to perfect the recipes first)...I promise I'll have some recipes for real food up soon!  Bear with me, guys.

OHBUTWAIT -- this recipe actually isn't for a nut butter.  Can you guess what this is?

Hm.  Looks kinda disgusting, huh (I haven't had the patience to dress up my creations and take real foodie pictures, as of late)?...Kinda like every single other butter recipe of mine, you say?  Hai nao.

Would you believe that this butter is made from sunflower seeds?  It was so good!

Yes, sunflower seeds.  I was in one of the little convenience stores on campus when I spied the little bags of Kars trail mixes.  I saw the sunflower seeds, and then inspiration struck.

The roomie gave me a funny look when I walked into the apartment, plunked down four of these bags next to my food processor, and was like "Soooo, do you, by chance, enjoy sunflower seeds??  'Cause I'm trying something new tonight!"  I'm very thankful for how cooperative she is in her role as my official NutButterTasteTester; however, for the first time, I thought she might bail on me!  Haha.  But she didn't -- despite how much this stuff resembles...eh, let's not go there...we found out that sunflower seed butter is pretty darn tasty.

I thought that it kind of tasted like very smooooooth peanut butter.  Make yourself a batch and let me know what you think!

Sun Butter
You'll need:

12ish oz salted sunflower seeds (as I mentioned earlier, I used four little bags of Kars sunflower seeds)
1/4 cup oil (olive oil seemed to work)
1 scant tbsp cinnamon
1/4 cup honey. 
[If you omit the last two ingredients, you end up with a really tasty, savory dip.  But I wanted something that would satisfy my sweet tooth!]

Blend together seeds, oil, and cinnamon -- if it gets all soupy, you're on the right track!  Nuke your honey for about fifteen seconds, then pour over butter and puree for 10-15 seconds.  Once it thickens, you're done!

Ended up freezing half the batch and making "sun fudge" -- it's melt-in-your-mouth delicious!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Move Over, Soup-at-Hand [I'm in a bit of a rush, here!]

I swear, this blog is the ultimate procrastination tool.  The end of the semester is looming closer and closer, and there are job apps that need to be filled out, papers that need to be written...and here I am, rambling on about my latest kitchen experiments.  Too bad I'm not in culinary school (are there even accredited vegetarian culinary schools out there?).  Eh, I'll stick with the major I've been working toward for the past two semesters, thankyouverymuch!

I am currently in the process of tweaking yet another nut butter recipe.  Seriously starting to think I will never run out of nut butter ideas!  It would be pretty darn awesome if I could a) perfect all of the recipes, b) magically create some spare time, c) use additional magic to conjure up some money to buy all the ingredients I'll need, and d) sell some of this stuff!  However, with my current schedule, I don't foresee this happening anytime soon.  =(

Anyhoo, I made my first batch of pecan butter today.  Made two batches, actually -- "praline" and "turtle."  The first batch was a bit on the oily side, while the second batch had two problems:  a) I went a bit too heavy on the chocolate, and b) I also ran out of caramel at that point!  So it ended up being more like super-duper-dark-chocolate-pecan butter...not like there's anything wrong with that!  Hehe.  It just wasn't the flavor I was going for, you know?  I froze half of each batch, so per'ahps the roomie and I will have some pecan freezer fudge in a few hours!

***

Between various final papers / projects, I've been sort of pressed for time, as of late.  Been surviving off of those Simply Asia noodle bowls, as well as those Campbells Soup-at-Hand whatchamacallits.  The creamy tomato kind, specifically.  Because none of the other flavors are lacto-vedge.  Do you have any idea how sick I am of rice noodles and tomato soup??  Haha.  Yes, I know perfectly well that there are many other things I could make / microwave in just as little time...however, on these cold, windy / rainy / sleet-y (?) days (that's springtime in Michigan for you!), nothing hits the spot like a savory bowl of soup, filled with a plethora of chewy noodles (fun fact:  I purposely under-cook my noodles, so they'll be just a bit on the chewy side), fresh vedgies, and spices.

The other day, I decided to try making my own soup-at-hand.  Okay, so it took about 5-10 minutes to make altogether, but it was so worth it.

[Best.  Soup bowl.  Ever.]


Zesty Vedge Soup For One

You'll need:
10 oz water
2 tsp vedge broth concentrate
1 heaping tbsp dried cilantro (I just used a big handful of the fresh stuff, but it was probably the equivalent of this)
Dash of garlic powder
Oil for searing the vedgies
...and any vedgies your little heart desires!  In the soup above, I used a handful of red onion and a stalk of celery.  Had the same thing the next night, with the addition of broccoli.

Sear your vedgies for a couple minutes, and then heat up your water until it's very hot (but not boiling) -- our microwave's pretty lame, so it took nearly two minutes to heat my water.  Put the vedge broth concentrate, garlic powder, and cilantro in your soup bowl, and then add the vedgies.  Pour the water over top and stir well.

...Aaand that's all, folks!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

"I have a knack for guessing people's favorites."

Wish I could say the same, Vianne.
[Ever seen Chocolat?  Awesome movie.]

Sometimes (okay, so this happens quite frequently), I'll make something that I think is absolutely awesome...yet, when I offer whatever it is to other people, they'll  just say something along the lines of "Omigaww, this isn't like the hummus I buy at the store -- weeeeird!"   Or, even worse "Omigawww lyk, what is hummus??  Chickpeas?  Lulz, what are those?"

...And I'm standing there, thinking "How can one POSSIBLY go through life without knowing what chickpeas are??"  Mind.  Blown.

Guess I would have to thank my mother for my extensive knowledge of vedgies today.   I was introduced to quiche Florentine and vedgie frittata at a very young age -- even though I only became vegetarian five-and-a-half years ago, I've loved vegetables all my life, thanks to her.  ^.^  In a way, she passed on her love of cooking to me as well.  Only the stuff she makes usually falls into the "comfort food" category (after all, she is a mom!  Haha), while I'm more of a health nut (usually.  Haha).

...Okay, actually, I think my numero uno pet peeve in terms of food is when whoever tries my latest concoction actually does enjoy it...however, when I mention that the key ingredient is [tofu?  Dates?  Any kind of green vedgie?  Tofu's usually the worst offender], all of a sudden they're all like "OMGWTFewwy!"

*facepalm*  Aight, rant's over; I promise!

We had a chocolate party at le apartment last night.  Started preparing for it the night before, since I thought that a lot of people would be in attendance.  Well, only two people showed up, and no one touched my fudge.  =/  Oh well.  More for me, I guess...a LOT more for me...oh man, how am I gonna get rid of all this...

So!  This is how I make fudge!  Definitely not the healthiest substance on the planet, but hey, if you're like me and need all the protein and (good) fat you can get, this is the stuff for you.  Oh, almost forgot -- there are antioxidants in the cocoa powder. ;)

Nom?

In the freezer with the roomie's cake ballzzz.  X)


I like to rock out while I'm in the kitchen.  ;)


Tin Roof Freezer Fudge
You’ll need:
2 containers (they’re each 12ish ounces, I think?) Planters salted peanuts
½ cup oil (I used vegetable oil)
½ cup caramel
3 tbsp dark cocoa powder
1 tbsp instant coffee, if desired (this is if you *really* want it to have that tin roof flavor.  I left it out this time, thinking that more people would eat it if it didn’t have coffee in it.  I guess it wouldn’t have mattered much…)

If you want to create the marble-y effect shown in the picture, you're gonna want to make two batches.  For the non-chocolatey part of this recipe, simply blend one container of peanuts and 1/4 cup of oil.  Since this is going to be fudge, you'll want to blend it until it's very smooth.  No one wants gritty fudge!  It will turn out kind of soupy -- but wait!  Nuke 1/4 caramel for about fifteen seconds, dump it in, and hit "puree."  Watch as it immediately thickens up!  It's so cool!  Mkay, maybe I'm just easily amused...anyhoo, put your PB in a shallow container -- try to dump it on one side of said container; you'll need the other side for the chocolatey stuff.  Next, repeat the whole process, adding cocoa powder to the peanut / oil mixture.  Dump this stuff into the other half of the container.  Since the PB will be pretty thick now, you might want to stick the container in the microwave for about a minute.  After said PB has reached a stir-able consistency, swirl it!  Garnish with peanuts and caramel if desired, and stick it in the fridge.  My "fudge" took about four hours to freeze completely.  

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Take two doses of chocolate and let me know if symptoms persist.

Another quick post.
And another ridiculous midnight snack earlier this morning.

Yep, that's chocolate oatmeal.  Mocha oatmeal, to be precise.  Along with an actual mocha.  I was thisclose to pulling an all-nighter -- ended up going to bed sometime around five, and then waking up four hours later -- I have an appointment with my advisor in a little bit; hopefully he'll be able to help me with my class schedule for this fall.  It's that time of the year again, I guess -- school's out in about six weeks, and final projects / exams are in the not-so-distant future.  It doesn't matter how much I do -- there will ALWAYS be more homework.  X_x  I'm taking a five-minute breather so I type this.  Anyway, I had some chai after that chocolatey abomination, and the caffeine lasted me up until....about five hours ago?  Oh man, I don't even want to think about it.  >.<  I'm so tired right now!

Any of you guys enjoy instant oatmeal?  Do you like to mix tons of funky stuff in with the plain kind?
[Okay, to be honest, I am literally the only person I know who enjoys oatmeal, but still, thought I'd ask, haha]

I used 1 tbsp of sugar, 1 tbsp dark cocoa powder, and 1 tsp instant coffee in the oatmeal above --  it was pretty rad.  Nom.

Next post:  Moar hummus and whotnot?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Noodle overload.

That's what I experienced last night, after trying to cook rice noodles for the first time.  I was not aware that a) They take like, two minutes to cook, and b) they are very, very absorbent.  I was trying to make pseudo-Ramen (ie vegetarian "Ramen").  Instead, I ended up with a ridiculously large lump of soggy noodles (seriously...those things sure do expand after water is added).  X_x  Good thing I was ridiculously hungry last night.

 This was my midnight snack.  Half of it was, anyhoo. 
[That measuring cup holds eight cups...yeah....]
My appetite tends to fluctuate between extremes. Sometimes, I'm barely hungry for days on end.  Yet, just as often, I'm perma-starving to the point where...well, it's kinda embarrassing.  X)


The noodles actually weren't that bad.  They just weren't what I was aiming for, haha.  Once I perfect my fake Ramen recipe, I'll let you all know! 

[Even though I've been in college for several years, I have yet to touch a bowl of Ramen.  I feel so deprived!  Haha, I kid...]

Since I don't feel like posting yet another nut butter recipe today, I'm gonna tell you all about all the weird things I do with cottage cheese.  [Is that a fair enough compromise?  Heh]  Yeah...I have the strangest food obsessions, huh?  I can go through a 24 oz container of the stuff in two or three days.  I think it's amazing plain; however, more often than not, I dress it up a bit.

Cottage cheese is one of those foods that can easily hold onto a variety of different flavors -- sweet, savory, spicy, etc.  If I'm in the mood for something sweet, I'll mix it with cinnamon sugar or a sugar / cocoa powder mixture.  Yes, it looks hella nasty, but man, does it ever taste good.  However, my favorite seasonings are a savory mixture of garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and cilantro.  It's uber-filling, as well as uber-flavorful...yet not too strong / spicy (I'm kind of a wuss when it comes to spicy stuff!). 

FYI -- In addition to being a good source of calcium, cottage cheese has a crazy amount of protein in it.

SuperSavory Cottage Cheese

You'll need:
1 cup cottage cheese (I use either fat free or 1%; the other kinds are just too slimy for me)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp cilantro

Mix it all together, and...well, that's all, folks!  Really good with raw vedgies.

PS -- No picture today.  It's not the most aesthetically-appealing food out there.  X)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Move over, peanut butter.

Short-ish post today -- I have a workout to do and homework on which to start.  If you will remember (I like to pretend that people actually read my blog on a regular basis, lawllawllawl), I was talking about a certain nut butter yesterday that I intended to transform into fondue.  However, it was soooo ridiculously tasty that, between the roomie and I, it was gone in about two hours (long before the party started).  Heh heh...anyhoo, here it is!

 CRACK BUTTER
(because um...it's good on crackers?  Right?)
(Chocolate-Caramel-Cashew Butter)
You will need!

1 container of Planters salted cashews -- the salt really does add a unique contrast to the flavors
1/4 cup oil (I used vegetable oil)
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 cup caramel


Put the nuts, oil, and cocoa powder into your food processor and blend until smooth.  Then, microwave your caramel until it's um...pour-able?  Maybe 10-15 seconds?  Pour cashew butter into a microwave-safe dish and drizzle caramel over top.  Stir.  You may even want to microwave the finished product 10-15 seconds longer, so it takes on a smoother, more fondue-like consistency.  Or you can just let it solidify a bit and use it as a spread.  Or freeze it and make Chocolate-Caramel-Cashew "Fudge."  Or...just grab a spoon and enjoy it as is.  ;)


Off to the gym now.  I don't have any delicious, food-related photos for you today; however, this is what I will feel like (...but hopefully not look like) in an hour or so, after I've exercised, showered, and gotten my shit together for the day:



;D

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Taters & Whatnot.

This was my dinner of choice for three or four nights earlier this week.  I've been eating dinner al desko quite frequently as of late, due to the fact that I've had so.much.homework.  I swear, it was like all my profs decided to take all the homework they would have given us last week (when we were on break) and combine it with this week's load.  2(homework) =/= fun.  Ugh.  So yeah, not a lot of time to play around in the kitchen.  Until yesterday, that is.

[BTdubbs, another reason why I haven't posted in awhile is because blogger apparently contracted a case of the STUPIDS and wouldn't post any of my photos!  What would this blog be without my awesome photography skillz??  I kid...]

Anyhoo, Simply Asia.  I love those guys.  Their noodle bowls are fab. 
Another reason to not miss Ramen.  ;)
 ...I digress. 

Well, I hope everyone had an awesome St Patty's Day ("everyone" refers to the two-three people who actually read this)!  I had one shot of vodka Thursday night and promptly started dry-heaving.  That was the highlight of my St Patrick's Day.  =(  [TMI]

Yesterday was a lot more fun.  The roomie and I hosted a potato cook-off.  For once in my life, I managed to get all my homework done before the weekend set in, so I actually had time to make something halfway-decent!  I decided to make a potato salad -- see, I loooove everything about tater salad, except for the nasty mayonnaise sludge with which it's flavored...which um, is pretty much what makes potato salad what it is.  Guess I'm just weird.  Anyhoo, my mission was to make a sludge-free tater salad of which my taste buds approved.  Believe it or not, the attempt was quite successful!
Oh my gosh, this took 30 !@#$ing minutes to upload!  X.x

  Healthy-ish Potato Salad

You'll need:
5 medium-sized redskin potatoes
1 medium-sized red bell pepper (Suppose you could use orange or yellow as well, haha)
3/4 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped red onion
Scant 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 cup balsamic vinaigrette

Set a pot of water on the stove to boil -- add a tidbit of salt for flavor if you'd like.  While the water's heating up, peel your potatoes.  Boil them for a few minutes, then let them simmer until they're cooked through (every few minutes, stick a knife in the pot and stab a tater -- if the knife goes in easily, and the potato slides off the tip right away, your potatoes are done.  ;) ).  While you're waiting on them, chop the pepper, onion, and celery.  You can either chop the basil or just break it into tiny pieces (that's what I did, haha.  My hands smelled lovely afterward).  Then, chop your potatoes, and add them to the other dry ingredients.  Stir in the dressing, and stick it in the fridge for a few hours.

I have a feeling that I'll end up bringing this to many a barbecue this summer...

PS -- I also made some (utterly mouthgasmic...hehe) chocolate / caramel / cashew fondue for dessert, but um...we ended up eating it all (straight-up) before the guests arrived.  X) Yeah, the roomie had to run to the store and grab some brownie mix, so we could whip up a replacement dessert A-SAP.  Maybe this will be the next post?  *Shrugs*  Stay tuned!