Same difference

April 4, 2009

Have you ever noticed that 85% of the meals I cook look the same?

Be honest.

This is not an exception, but it still tasted pretty good.

Bengali-style black-eyed peas with mushrooms and rice

Bengali-style black-eyed peas with mushrooms and rice

I have no idea what makes this “Bengali-style,” but I’m assuming it was the spices. If you can’t tell from the yellow, I went a little turmeric-happy. Mostly because I wanted to balance out the ground cumin, which I accidentally dumped in the pot in a moment of confusion between the sifting side and the pouring side of the bottle. Oops. The recipe also called for cinnamon, which was an interesting addition. It warmed it up without spicing it up.

This was from The Tropical Vegan Kitchen, the most recent Donna Klein (of PDQ fame) cookbook that I checked out from the library. For the first time ever, I actually preserved the vegan-ness of a vegan recipe, though it was only because cheese didn’t seem like it would taste right with it (I know) and I’m out of plain Greek yogurt, which would have been the perfect addition to balance out the spice overload.

I’m sorry for the lack of posting. I’ve been doing a horrible job of sticking to my “don’t eat out during the week” rule for the past few weeks. Or months.

Okay, time to focus my attention on basketball.


A detox is in order

March 20, 2009

Y’all. Don’t fret. I am back in the land of the blogging.

Seattle was awesome. I mean, rain and snow and hills and whatever, that place can still rock your face off. The conference was really good, we got to stay with an old friend, and I caught up with lots of my far-flung librarian posse. Good times were had by all. Especially by me, when Matt brought back a dozen cupcakes from Cupcake Royale after an outing in Ballard (Dayna, it was awesome to get your comment since we had totally eaten those and can confirm the rumors you’ve heard about how good they are). Since we were only there until Monday morning, there was a lot of creative cupcake consumption on my part, including cupcake oatmeal. It just felt right.

We also ate all kinds of other amazing non-cupcake food, like sushi from the place we loved last time we visited the city (with an entire television devoted to sumo wrestling), sandwiches from Pike Place Market, fancy crepes, and about four tons of fish. Each. Oh, and I tried Ethiopian for the first time. I’ve always avoided it because I thought it was heavy on the meat, but I split a vegetarian combo with a bunch of other people, and it was pretty much just lentils and vegetables. Oh, and bread. I could eat that every day. In fact, I basically do.

We got back home at 1 on Tuesday morning, and the rest of the week has been a blur. Oh, except that there were more cupcakes. My boss made chocolate stout cupcakes for St. Patrick’s Day and I may have brought half a dozen of them home. So worth it.

Anyway, I walked a lot in Seattle, but I haven’t formally worked out in almost two weeks, and, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but I’ve been eating a lot of cupcakes. So, I’ve been feeling kind of run down and I decided to remedy it by cleaning up my eating a little.

Last night, I did this by making an on-the-fly lentil and couscous dish.

looks pretty clean, right?

looks pretty clean, right?

This is the entire dish, not just my portion. If I had eaten this much, I wouldn’t be typing right now. I’d be in the hospital, in the exploded persons unit. There’s not really a recipe, but it goes like this. Cook some green lentils, make some whole wheat couscous, and throw in some chopped red pepper, white wine vinegar, olive oil, and black pepper. When I dished it up, I also added a generous serving of feta. The cleanest of cheeses.

Tonight, I made this Cajun Red Beans and Rice recipe, which I got from one of the four cooking magazines I bought to read on the plane. I made a few changes, most notably skipping the sausage. I made up for it a little extra mirepoix. And by eating more. I also realized while cooking that, not only do I not have any cajun spice mix, I actually have no idea what that means. So I just threw in a bunch of things that I know are spicy (crushed red pepper, a few generous shakes of chili powder, and a pinch of cayenne pepper) and it seemed to work out okay.

more like red beans and spice

more like red beans and spice

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to March Madness.


Soup time

November 18, 2008

I’ve got some kind of sickness of an unidentifiable nature, and it’s been really dragging me down for the past two days. I worked from home for part of the day yesterday to keep my germs sequestered, but today I mostly had muscle aches and some wheezing, so I made it in to work and powered through most of my day. Because I am a trooper, people.

We had corn chowder last night, because it sounded like the best option when my throat was still hurting. I used my own recipe, although clearly no one reads these things because I didn’t get any comments when I made it the first time about how I forgot to mention one important ingredient in my corn chowder: corn. So go ahead and mentally add that to the recipe somewhere. It really doesn’t matter where. Near the beginning would be my recommendation.

Tonight was a perfect chili night, as it was fairly cold today and I am still sort of sickly. I have Arielle to thank for tonight’s dinner, because I never would have thought of adding refried beans to chili but I was intrigued by her recipe and had to try it. I may never go back.

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I know that it kind of looks like every other bean-based soup/chili I’ve ever made, but it was so much better. Don’t let all the cheese fool you.

I made chili like I usually do, but added refried beans. Here’s the deal:

  1. Saute a diced green pepper and a small diced white onion in a little olive oil over medium with 2 cloves of garlic (minced) for about 5 minutes
  2. Add about 1 cup of your favorite broth, cook for about 3 minutes
  3. Add two cans of whatever kind of beans you want, but when I do a red chili like this, I usually use firmer beans like kidney and black beans, which I used tonight
  4. Add two cans of no-salt added diced tomatoes and stir
  5. Add a can of refried beans and stir slowly until it’s smooth
  6. Add a bunch of cumin and chili powder to taste
  7. Add more broth if desired
  8. Simmer for about 15 minutes

This makes a ton of chili, which is good, because we need a quick dinner to reheat before the basketball game tomorrow night.

Obviously I had some cheese on mine. Ellie Krieger is always saying that, when it comes to cheese, a little goes a long way. I always say that, when it comes to cheese, a lot also goes a long way. We also had rolls, the only ones Matt could find in the bakery section without HFCS.

Okay, Carolina is about to be playing basketball on my television, so I need to go. I leave you with the encouraging messages that greeted me when I got back from the 5k (click for more awesome detail):

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Wrap it up

June 1, 2008

Wrapping up the weekend, I feel more tired than I did on Friday when I left work, and I didn’t get most of the things done that I needed to do. I did, however, see some pretty awesome high school basketball, including games featuring a few future K-Staters like Latavius Williams and Wally Judge. These kids are huge, these AAU players. They are twice my height and weight and they are all under 18 years old. It made me want to eat a lot, like I had some kind of irrational idea that I would still be able to grow to their size.

That’s my way of saying I had a lot of snacks.

Yesterday, I was still having a lot of problems health-wise, so I wasn’t really up for making dinner when I got home after 10 hours of basketball. And I’d hit the concession stand, so I wasn’t that hungry, and all I wanted was some fruit and a salad. So I mashed them both together and here they are:

Mixed greens with strawberries, pineapple, mandarin oranges, goat cheese, walnuts, and balsamic vinaigrette. I also had some cottage cheese. Because it’s going bad soon, I can feel it.

Today, I limited myself to one concession stand trip, and I also went to the gym before the games, and did some tough grocery shopping afterward, so I was actually hungry for dinner. We had another Ellie Krieger recipe: Hummus and Grilled Vegetable wraps. Can you buy stock in a person? Because I’d buy it in her.

Pre-wrapping:

Hummus, grilled zucchini, pine nuts, roasted red pepper, red onions, and spinach. Here it is with a mixed greens, cucumber, and tomato salad with lemon vinaigrette:

We need new plates. I’m really bored with taking pictures of these.


Everything tastes good when you don’t know how it’s supposed to taste.

May 30, 2008

Right?

So, last night I made two things I’ve neither prepared nor eaten before: tabbouleh and falafel (I know! I lack culture). I thought they both turned out pretty well, but then, really, what do I know?

There’s the falafel. I know, it looks sort of creepy.

And there’s the tabbouleh. If you’re down with grains, as I am, you may notice that it’s not traditional tabbouleh because it’s made with quinoa instead of bulgur. Really, I think we get enough bulgur around here. And my sister made quinoa recently, which made me realize that it’s been awhile.

I also had more roasted broccoli because it’s maybe the best thing that happened to me all week.

I was going to post this last night, but they were doing stuff to the sewers in our neighborhood and spraying our car with weird steam. I don’t want to know what was in it. Anyway, I had to go out and move it, because… gross. And then I was agitated.

I’m tired now, because I woke up at 3am, hungry and plagued by searing arthritis pain in my knee. At 5, I limped around and got ready for the gym as usual and then I actually laughed out loud at myself and my spunky stupidity and can-do attitude. Then I went back to sleep.

I just got back from a work thing, where I tried really hard to keep my weight off my bad knee and to eat a lot of broccoli and strawberries and grapes so that I wouldn’t be tempted to pick up the entire block of cheese from the cutting board or eat seven pieces of carrot cake. What? It’s got vegetables. So anyway, no actual dinner. I’ll probably have some tabbouleh about 15 seconds after I hit publish. Matt’s on the phone with his brother talking about simulated basketball games and I’m falling asleep on the couch and it’s a standard Friday night here at the See Food mansion. The big news is that we have air conditioning in the bedroom now. I hope it gets so cold in there tonight that it freezes my tears of happiness.

I’m not sure if I’ll be posting tomorrow because we’re going to a high school basketball exhibition kind of deal, featuring some players who are going to be college players soon, presumably. At which point they will become very important to me because of my freakish, out-of-character love of college basketball, so I’m trying to get invested early. It’s supposed to start at 8am (I will not be there) and last until… 12 hours later or something. Let’s see if I make it that long.


Souper Saturday

March 29, 2008

Um. Yeah. I just couldn’t think of another title.

I did not go to Target today, as we will go tomorrow morning after we take our laundry to the Wash Palace. Also, I’ve already been maybe three times this week, so waiting it out seemed like a good idea – make it a little more special. And, I can enjoy my favorite Sunday morning activity – looking at the Target ad online as soon as I wake up.

Instead, I went to the public library, took a walk with Matt (who is monitoring my exercise after this morning’s episode), went to buy a few groceries, and walked to the mall and to Best Buy. Though I currently have some beef with Manhattan (as it is KILLING ME slowly by attacking my sinuses), it’s really nice to live in such a walkable town. Chapel Hill was walkable, too, but you couldn’t walk to the mall OR Best Buy without risking important pieces of yourself, like your legs. Or your life.

When we got back from the mall, I made Golden Pear Soup, a Mollie Katzen recipe from Still Life with Menu. I’ve been excited about it all week, and I think I must have overhyped it, because I’m honestly a little disappointed. I think the pears were too ripe and not tart enough. Because, which creamy and delicious, this soup was a little too in my face with its sweetness (though I’ll note that Matt thought it wasn’t sweet enough). Actually, it may have been my selection of butternut squash as the base. Maybe I’ll try it with something a little less sweet next time.

It had a really nice texture, though. Seriously, the immersion blender is the greatest invention of our time.

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Roasted green beans with balsamic vinegar and sliced almonds on the side:

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All together with a mini bagel:

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I may have very little to post in the next few days. Money’s tight until payday, and we don’t have a lot to work with here, so we’ll probably be having a lot of leftovers. Though I hate to disappoint the halves of dozens of you that read this, so I’ll see what I can do.

Okay, it is time for me to give my attention to the Elite Eight. And then do some major dishes. I owe Matt a break – he did them yesterday and then spent some serious time today vacuuming the 700 square feet of my hair that is our carpet.


Catching up

March 22, 2008

I didn’t post last night’s dinner because I was in a bad mood. Here it is:

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I’ll call it sweet shrimp stir fry. Here’s how to make it:

Cook shrimp over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes in a little olive oil. Add 1 cup beans (I used great northern b/c that’s what I had on hand – I think I’d use black beans if I did this again, though). Cook for another 3 or so minutes. Remove shrimp and set aside. Turn heat down to medium. Add sliced peppers (I used the pretty little multi-colored peppers that I always put in salads, but a red bell would also work). Cook for 2 minutes. Add mango chunks and crushed red pepper. Also toss shrimp back in. Add some lemon juice and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Serve with quinoa. Or whatever. But quinoa was particularly good with this. I think I might have put some sliced almonds or something in mine because I remember it being crunchy. But my bad mood has kind of deleted the whole day from my memory.

Today was better. I went to the gym, where I overcome foot pain and ran longer than usual on the indoor track. I’m a really slow “runner” because I have arthritis and am also a wuss. I also have asthma, so I can only “run” for a certain period of time before I feel like I’m going to pass out (3 laps). I know what you’re thinking and, yes, I was very popular as a teenager. The combination of a traditional geek disease like asthma with a chronic condition typically associated with the elderly really gave me that extra something I needed to be both loved and understood by my sensitive classmates.

Anyway, back to “running.” Today I passed someone in the runners’ lanes on the track for the first time! He was really old and had a knee brace on but I don’t care. So, that set a more upbeat tone for my day. I then did other things that are, I’m sure, equally interesting to you, like: recycling, taking a walk to the public library to try to remind myself that reading is fun even though I stopped doing it a few months ago, getting coffee on the way back home, having lunch and a snack, watching basketball, making dinner, cleaning in a frenzied state and grocery shopping.

For dinner, I made protein-packed baked pasta. Yes, I just made that up on the fly.

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Matt loves baked pasta dishes, and apparently I do not make them enough for his liking, so he seemed to be more excited about this meal than he has been about anything I’ve cooked in the last four years. Here’s how it all came together:

I cooked 2 cups of dry pasta (we like a mix, so we had 1 cup of medium shells and 1 cup of whole wheat penne). Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, I mixed 1 can of diced tomatoes, about 3/4 cup of crushed tomatoes, 1 tbsp of tomato paste, 1/2 cup chickpeas, 1/3 cup of cottage cheese, garlic and crushed red pepper. I sprayed a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray, and I drained the pasta and tossed it in the dish. I then added the sauce and stirred it all up. I put about 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella on top, sprayed some aluminum foil w/ cooking spray and baked at 350 for 20 minutes covered, and 10 minutes uncovered.

Then I made a salad. It just felt right.

The chickpeas and cottage cheese add protein, which makes this a nice meatless meal. Also, the cottage cheese made it creamier.

After I went on my crazy cleaning spree and took a trip to the grocery store (where a woman tried to take my cart and then followed me around apologizing, with her four kids in tow, and where I also could not find any asparagus), I had a Fage with honey. I get to eat another one tomorrow, in honor of Easter. And because it expires then. I also had a little bit of Edy’s coffee ice cream that I bought on a whim at the grocery store. I’ve been a really big fan of coffee ice cream ever since I went to a Haagen-Dazs stand at the mall in Raleigh and asked for a small coffee (the drink) and got a small coffee (the ice cream).

Okay, I think it’s Reading Time. I checked out a few magazines in case real books don’t work out. I’ve also got a few issues of Tiny Titans and a Batgirl Showcase to fall back on.