At least I’m on vacation

July 3, 2009

I think “uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh” is the best word to describe the way I’m feeling right now. The week before vacation always leaves me a little frazzled, probably something about the way I leave myself 261 “loose ends” that I could have tied up, I don’t know, ANY OTHER TIME. This is all exacerbated by the fact that my body has pretty much decided to shut down its sleeping function, leaving me with a combined total of about six and a half hours over the past two nights. But hey, who needs to sleep when you can use the time you’re not sleeping to tie up loose ends??

I don’t know if it’s related to any of that, but I’ve only been interested in side dishes lately, save for the monster-sized order of vegetarian fajitas I got at La Fiesta the other night, the remains of which landed on the floor tonight while I was cooking dinner and completely interrupted my culinary flow. Landlords, take heed: fajitas are reason # 17894 that “oatmeal” kitchen carpeting is not a good idea. If for no other reason than that Martha Stewart does not have a section devoted to fajita stain removal on her website.

Dinner was okay anyway, just a repeat of potato/chickpea salad with some different kind of potatoes from the farmer’s market this time. Plus, cheesy polenta (bring some water to a boil [4x the amount of polenta you want to use], stir in polenta, stir stir stir, add cheese, salt, pepper, oregano [or whatever], stir stir stir; serve).

a bowl full o' starch

a bowl full o' starch

Those carbs really comforted me in my time of kitchen carpet stress.

I also tried my hand at braising a few days back, after a stellar experience with braised spinach during my birthday dinner last weekend.

brown rice, braised green beans and summer vegetables, tomato/avocado salad

braised green beans with summer vegetables (and some other stuff)

When the braised vegetables (delicious) were done, I realized I hadn’t made any plans for what else we would eat, as I was heavily involved in making a fruit salad for a barbecue. So I grabbed the rice from the refrigerator and chopped up some tomato and avocado for a “salad.” I’m lucky I hadn’t already made my simple syrup for the fruit salad dressing, because I might have panicked and added that in there, too.

Also, we survived our frugal June and now it’s July and I fully intend to splurge on stuff like peaches from now on. I have some math that’s strategically designed to show how awesome we are, but I’ve been up since 3:30am and people have been setting off fireworks outside for the last 5 hours and I just don’t have it in me. But rest assured, I’ve sent off for my very own bindle. I earned it.

Maybe dreaming of it will lull me to sleep. Tomorrow we might attempt to tackle the interstate again to go celebrate Matt’s birthday, and I’m going to need all the energy I can rustle up just to yell over the roar of the car.


Another day, another dollar (per serving)

June 6, 2009

The only night this week that we didn’t eat something that could be referred to in some way as a salad was last night, when I worked later than expected and we ended up meeting at Planet Sub for dinner. Matt had a free sub card so it still ended up fitting vaguely in with the theme of the month.

Tonight was salad again, although I 85% promise that I’ll make something outside of the salad family next time I post. I just can’t help it. It’s hot and salads are cheap and easy. Just the way I like it.

Tonight’s orzo and zucchini salad was based on another recipe from Vegan Italiano, though a recipe is hardly needed. I really just borrowed the better part of the ingredient list and their clever method of putting the diced squash in a colander in the sink and draining the orzo over it, which warms it up without really cooking it or compromising its comforting summery crunch.

this + orzo + basil + spices + lemon juice + olive oil

this + orzo + basil + spices + lemon juice + olive oil

So very easy, and, once garnished with a few shavings of Parmesan (really, any cheese would work), a good lunch or light dinner for a hot day. Only 6 minutes of stovetop cooking is hard to beat.

the finished product, once again de-veganized

the finished product, once again de-veganized

the breakdown:

1/2 lb orzo = $1.00
1.28 lb squash @ 1.49/lb = $1.91
2T lemon juice = $.10 (estimate)
a few leaves of basil = $.75
a few shavings of Parmesan = $.25 (also an estimate, and a fairly high one)
and some pantry staples (olive oil, oregano, salt, pepper)

grand total = $4.01

And that’s for four servings, so the price per person breakdown is $1.00. Much better than we would have done if we’d given in and gone out for Mexican. Also, I don’t feel nearly as gross this way. Extra points for that. Enough extra points to go buy a pint of ice cream so that I can buy a little bit of that feeling? I’m going with yes.

Sunday, Sunday

October 12, 2008

Sundays are kind of a lose-lose situation, right? If you get a lot of things done, then you feel productive but you didn’t really get to enjoy your last day before work starts. But, if you don’t do anything, you get to the end of the day and, well, nothing’s done. I had the first kind of Sunday. Oh, and apparently some people have tomorrow off in celebration of Columbus. I’m not happy about that.

Anyway, to cap off my fairly productive Sunday, I got pumped up and went to that 3-2-1 class that almost did me in last week. I warmed up on the stepmill, walked around the indoor track, and went to get ready for class when I saw that it had been replaced by “Buttz and Gutz.” Why? Those are not even words.

So, I went to yoga instead, but since I didn’t have my mat with me, I had to use one of theirs, and I find it hard to focus when my mat smells like some unidentified person’s feet. Ultimately, it was good that I didn’t get too relaxed, as I needed all of my mental acuity to play “dodge the drunk kid in the dark” while driving home. I mean, it’s a Sunday night. But maybe they didn’t get the memo that we’re not celebrating Columbus Day.

Oh, and before I went to the gym, I tried this bar, which I finally found at People’s today:

Z-Bar in Spooky S’mores flavor. It was good, but it didn’t taste that different from the Chocolate Chip to me. Also, notice that it’s extra spooky because this camera has such a zealous flash. It makes everything look brighter than it is. If I didn’t know those were my jeans, I wouldn’t recognize them because they don’t look like that in real life.

Back at the homestead, I made Quinoa Vegetable Stew from one of my Moosewood cookbooks. Really, it’s just quinoa and rice with a vegetable stew on top (mine was onion, garlic, green bell pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, fresh basil):

It was pretty good. Filling, but a little bland. The recipe called for cilantro, but I didn’t have any. Maybe that’s what was missing.

I’ve been awake for way too long.

September 8, 2008

I’ve been up since 3:30 this morning, when a crazy loud storm started shaking our house. Matt claims that I fell asleep again, but I don’t remember it, and anyway, my alarm started ringing before 5:00 so that I could get to work super early to finish up a big project. I say started ringing because I didn’t actually quit hitting snooze and drag myself out of bed until 5:30 or something. Anyway, still: I have been awake for too long. And I know because I have been insanely hungry all day, and I’m also getting emotional in my sleep-deprived state. I almost started crying at Law and Order. I mean, she only killed him so he wouldn’t kill again. Tell me: is that so wrong? And then there was that episode of Seinfeld where Kramer installs the garbage disposal in his shower and starts cooking while he bathes. Quirky, or a thinly veiled cry for help??

Anyway, I had a busy day, but that didn’t take my mind off of my deep and constant hunger. I even ran out of my emergency snacks and had to resort to crap like drinking herbal tea in the afternoon to stop the growling. I hate herbal tea. Tea should be made from leaves and contain a lot of caffeine. Luckily, I got to work an hour and a half earlier than usual, so when the pain became too much to take, I left a little early and came directly home to eat cereal. And cook dinner.

This took care of my hunger. It turns out, I just needed some cheese. This is Veggie, Rice, and Cheese Supreme from Clean Eating. I saw this recipe and it had Matt written all over it, so I made it. It reminds me of this horribly unhealthy cheese casserole thing I used to make when I was in grad school that Matt loved. Only this dish actually had some nutrients in it. And colors besides orange.

After dinner, I wanted to go immediately to sleep, but I knew that would mean waking up at 3:30 again, so instead, I went grocery shopping. I’ve had a major sweet tooth tonight, which is semi-unusual for me. I usually have more of a peanut butter tooth. Anyway, I really wanted to get hot chocolate at the Starbucks in the grocery store, but it costs something outrageous like three dollars and I was on a tight budget. So instead, I got some dark chocolate peanut M&Ms. They still pushed me over budget, though not as much, but when I came home all excited to eat them I learned that something was off with this bag. So I threw it away and made my own lame packet hot chocolate with some almond milk.

I’m sorry, what was I talking about?

I think I’ll go read now. Which means that Matt should be coming to peel my book off my sleeping face in about 10 minutes.

I am a loser

July 31, 2008

Well, last night we went out for dinner, and tonight I’m having leftovers cleverly disguised as a different meal:

That’s a tempeh melt with grilled veggies on the side. I polished off the veggies no problem, but I’ve only had half of the sandwich so far. I had a bigger lunch than usual, and I’m having a lot of trouble with my hunger cues today.

The AC is still broken at the gym, and yet they still keep opening and then (BIG SURPRISE) having to close early due to “extreme heat.” Today they opened up at 5:30 and then had to close at 9:00am. This is really throwing me off my routine, and I’m all agitated and I feel like I could just start yelling at any moment. I’m hoping to take a walk later, but the heat index is still 100 and it’s already 7:00pm, so yeah. We’ll see. I did some yoga this morning, and I would do another round, but it would require 1) getting off the couch and 2) moving things out of the way. That feels like so much effort.

In which I persevere in the face of adversity.

July 29, 2008

The stars were aligned against my workout today. Somehow, I powered through in spite of:

  1. Knee pain the morning that ruined my 5:30 workout plan.
  2. The AC being broken at the gym. Again.
  3. Yoga being canceled due to #3.
  4. My iPod crapping out 12 minutes into my workout.
  5. Did I mention the AC was broken?

They had two floor fans. Two. Floor. Fans. Yeah. That helped. When I was leaving, I think I may have noticed a slight change for the better, but at that point, the damage was done. My kicky green workout top may never be the same again. I also heard one of the kids working there, who was walking around with some sort of temperature gauge, say that it was 88 degrees.

So, I somehow made it through 45 minutes on the Arc Trainer. Seriously, I think I already blocked it out, because I know it happened, but I can’t really recall it.

I was pretty wiped out when I got home, so I wanted a nice, replenishing meal. And I came up with grilled veggie and tempeh fajitas.

I marinated the tempeh in a tapatio/honey/paprika/garlic/black pepper mix and grilled it. I left the veggies plain and just grilled those, too. You probably can’t tell, but there’s also zucchini, yellow squash, a green pepper, and some mushrooms under there. And, of course, cheese.

I really love tempeh, but I’m always hungry an hour after I eat it. I’m waiting for that so I can have another snack. You know how I love my snacks.

Indoor picnic

July 26, 2008

I’ve been looking for good party foods because we’re heading to North Carolina in a few weeks, and we’ll be having a few celebrations of our recent nuptials while we’re there. And I want to be ready to showcase my mad healthy cooking skillz at a moment’s notice. You know how it is.

So here’s one that was pretty successful: pesto potato salad. I made pesto for the first time, and it was pretty hardcore because it was from my very own basil plant, which has been living in the kitchen window, baffling me. I’m not good with plants. My boss has been on vacation for the last two weeks, and one of my biggest fears was that her plants would die under my care. Luckily, they haven’t. And my basil hasn’t either! I was only able to harvest like a cup, so this was a very small batch of pesto, and for that reason, my processor couldn’t really handle it, so it didn’t unify as we’ll as I would’ve liked. Oh well, it tasted good.

There’s my serving. It’s just red potatoes, peppers, and pesto. I hate traditional potato salad, so this was a really nice alternative.

Though I could have eaten enough potatoes to make a meal, I decided to round things out, so I made my fave black bean burgers from Veganomicon:

I only ate half of the bun. I don’t know what’s wrong with me today, but I’m just not that into food.

Oh, also tried parmesan squash chips, which didn’t turn out as well as I’d have liked, but were still pretty good:

I ate a few more than this, but they weren’t as presentable.

Sorry the light is extra weird in these, but we’re supposed to have storms and it’s all dark out.

And now, I’m going to avoid even looking at my to do list in favor of reading, since I’m not terribly interested in going outside.