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. ;)


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!

(because'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:


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!

Monday, March 14, 2011

School is lame. X.x / Low-fat chocolate!

So, I was going to start my paper about two hours ago...

I have a feeling that this blog is going to be the ultimate procrastination tool for me.  Spring break just ended, and yeah, I'm not all that motivated at the moment, haha.  Am I ever?

The international foods section at Meijer is pretty much the shit.  Look what I found yesterday in the German section!

It's like Hershey's Hugs.  In a jar.  SOMEBODY PINCH ME.  But that little jar was five freaking dollars, so I didn't buy it.  =(  Wish they had smaller jars...

[And yes, this stuff is lacto-vedge.  For future reference, everything I feature on this blog will be either lacto-vedge or vegan ;) ]

Speaking of sweet stuff, I would give my right arm for some chocolate right now (I'm a lefty, so it's all good!  Pahaha).  A few weeks ago, I decided to embark on a quest for low-fat chocolate.  See, I had just eaten nearly an entire batch of brownie batter (oven, schmoven) the previous night (I blame midterms, and the ridiculous amount of stress that preceded them), and, although I wanted more chocolate, I was feeling rather...blob-like.  Heh heh.  I'm not trying to lose weight or anything, just looking for a healthier alternative to satisfy my chocolate-related needs.  ;D

This recipe is so easy, it's not even funny.  Of course, the dates give the spread a fruity aftertaste, but this stuff is definitely capable of satisfying  a chocolate craving.  Especially if you use as much cocoa powder as I did.  X)

Dates make for an awesome natural sweetener, and they're also pretty handy if you need to up your fiber intake.

Dark Chocolate Butter

You'll need:
1 cup of chopped dates, soaked in water
...Aaand as much cocoa powder as your heart desires!  I used three tbsp of dark cocoa powder.

Spread it on toast or shortbread, eat it with fruit...or be like me and just grab a spoon, haha.  ;)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

If it were a would be my favorite. ^.^

You don't know how many times I've been tempted to bring up peanut butter when discussing my favorite foods.  Unfortunately, most people aren't like me.  Most people consider peanut butter a condiment, rather than a food.  Sadface.

Peanut butter is most definitely a food in my world.  ;)  In fact, I can't remember the last time I actually had it on anything -- anything other than a spoon, that is!

I'm a big fan of gourmet peanut butter.  I mean, a big blob of plain old Jif is always yummy; however, after eating it on a daily basis for yearsandyearsandyears, I wanted to branch out a bit!  This is my favorite brand of gourmet peanut butter...

[Waitwhat?  They make maple PB as well??  How come no one told me about this??]

...Anyhoo, I think I've tried every flavor except for maple.  They're all pretty much amaaaazing, but the white chocolate would have to be my favorite.  Ever try one of those white chocolate Reeces?  Yeah.  It's like that.  Only better.  ;) 

This stuff is a bit pricey, though.  But hey, if you have a food processor, you can make your own!

PS:  In addition to being a great source of protein, peanut butter is also one of the best sources of unsaturated fat around.  It's also low in sugar, so it makes for a tasty dessert if you're trying to avoid processed, sugary stuff, etc.

This is actually a batch of mocha peanut butter I made a few weeks ago.  I used three tbsp dark cocoa powder and one tbsp instant coffee.

I made two batches of PB for a party I had the other night.  I like my PB rather soupy, so we ended up dipping pretzels and apple slices in it.  Nom.  If this stuff looks too soupy for you, just store it in the fridge, or use a bit less oil.

Okai gais!
You will need:
2 cups roasted, unsalted peanuts
1/4 cup peanut oil

And now for the good stuff!
-- For sweeter PB, go ahead and add sugar.  I've found that 1/4 cup works best with this recipe.  Also, if you use powdered sugar, the PB will turn out a bit less gritty.
-- Add a scant tbsp of cinnamon for some spicy undertones.  :p
-- For chocolate peanut butter, add three tbsp of cocoa powder.  Dark cocoa powder is pretty rad.  ;)

Directions:  Simply load everything into your food processor and blend until smooth!

Oh, and let me know if you come up with any other interesting PB add-ons!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"It's like Christmas!" *facepalm*

Yeah, that statement probably did deserve some facepalm-age.  I was just so happy with how pretty my hummus looked!

...Okay, so the camera on my phone isn't the greatest (expect a lot of pictures of similar quality in posts to come, pahaha), but there are these lovely red and green flecks throughout it.  Thought it was really pretty.

Hummus is good with oodles of different things!  Vedgies, chips, really can't go wrong!  I even tried pairing it with apple slices once -- and it was pretty darn delicious.  Don't judge me.  ;D

This stuff is a heck of a lot healthier than your average bean dip, too.  It's a great source of protein, as well as unsaturated fat (you know, the healthy kind of fat?  Yes,  there is such thing as healthy fat, and everyone needs it) -- if you decide to use oil.  The batch pictured was oil-free, but you can easily sub olive oil for the water.  Of course, the Calorie count will increase a bit.  I've even tried wok oil before, and it was pretty rad.  However, unless you're a hardcore garlic fan like me, you'd probably be better off with the olive oil!

"It's like Christmas!"  Hummus

You'll need:
1 can / 16oz chick peas
1/4 c oil or water (I just save 1/4 of the, um...pea water?...from the can.  Pea water...haha, that sounds pretty grody) (oh, and using water will make the hummus just a tad soggier!  So it would be more of a dip than a spread)
1/2 of a medium-sized red bell pepper, chopped (obviously, you could use a yellow or orange pepper, but then it would be like Christmas now, would it?)
1/4 c fresh cilantro
2 tbsp cumin
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup onion, chopped
[You can skimp on these last two ingredients if you're LAME / not a garlic&onion fan]
...And a bit of oil for sautéing

Start out by sautéing the garlic, onion, and pepper.  After a few minutes, drain your chick peas (saving some of the water, if needed) and dump those in.  Stir for a few more minutes (yeah, I'm definitely not the most precise when it comes to recipes -- the amounts for all the ingredients listed above are all approximations.  Heh heh) and then pour into your blender / food processor.  In posts to come, you'll see why I love the hell out of my food processor.  ;D  Add water and cumin.  Last of all, add the cilantro.  Then blend until you see the flecks!

1/4 cup hummus (sans oil) = ~50 Calories.

PS -- Blog ideas.  I need them.  From youse guys.

An Introduction.

Well hello there.  This blog is for all the crazy recipes I've put together over the past few years, and per'ahps some newer ones as well!

I've been vegetarian for the past five years -- since I was sixteen years old.  Was lacto-ovo for the first four years; however, I ditched the eggs about a year ago (maybe -- if enough people bug me about it -- I'll tell you all why I did so).  Today, I feel happier and healthier than ever before.  Really loving this new lifestyle.  ;D

...However, this lifestyle does not come without challenges.  When you live around people who think chicken nuggets and fries count as vedgies, it's kind of hard to do the whole vegetarian thing!  Within these posts, I shall prove to you that it is possible to maintain a healthy, affordable*, and (most importantly!) delicious lacto-vedge diet -- it's actually pretty darn easy!

*Yes, affordable.  Remember, I'm a college student.  ;)