Thursday, December 20, 2012

"Don't Drink the Water"

It's almost Christmas! Can you believe it? During the holidays, or any busy time, I'm inclined to opt for even quicker dinners than usual. This is one of the many reasons I like to keep my kitchen stocked with lots of go-to staples. A quart of frozen soup for a lazy day, a jar of sauce for a quick meal, or a frozen pizza dough for a night you are instructed to boil all water before using... Yesterday morning we woke up to brown water and a bazillion sirens zooming by. A water main broke in the East End and left the whole Portland peninsula with spotty and questionable water... Luckily, I had taken this frozen wheat crust out of the freezer the night before. I've had it in there for a couple months and have just been waiting for the urge to bake a pizza (aka trying to find my pizza stone which was still boxed up in the basement from our move in October!). We're big fans of the Rosario's doughs. They have balls like this in the frozen food aisle as well as precooked-frozen crusts. 
The pizza was a veggie packed delight. For the sauce I just used some leftover marinara. Piled high with spinach, broccoli, feta, fresh garlic, and a three cheese blend. Baked at 400* for about 30 minutes
As easy as it is to order pizza in it can take less time to whip one up at home, especially if the dough is already made. 
Salad on the side!
Enjoyed while watching Gossip Girl on Netflix :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Spread Some Holiday Cheer

'Tis the season to spread holiday cheer wherever you can. Try not to get too consumed with the stresses of this time of year and remember to take a moment to enjoy the things that make the holidays so special (and no it's not just the presents :) Watch a Christmas movie even if it's cheesy, listen to your favorite holiday tunes and sing along in your car even if people are staring...
Send out some Christmas cards even if it's not to everyone you've ever met...
Build a ginger bread house even if you didn't make it from scratch...
Don't worry if more candy ends up in your belly then on your house...
Get together with friends or family to do some baking. 
Try a new recipe even if things don't up the way you'd hoped...
Eat a few cookies, and give a lot away.
Relax, and remember to enjoy this season. Don't forget to be thankful :)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

$5 Meal Deal

I bet you thought you were reading a post about Subway when you read the title :) We love these organic raviolis from Whole Foods. They have a bunch of different varieties and is a perfect weeknight dinner for two! I like put my cooked 'olis (my slang for raviolis) in a hot skillet to get them crispy. Add some shallots and garlic, a bit of yogurt butter and s&p. Tasty goodness!
I steamed this giant bunch of rainbow chard to serve the 'olis on. I don't think you can really tell how enormous this bunch was.
As a comparison check out my double toaster behind it. It's twice the size! I contemplated whether to cook the entire thing but I'm glad I did because it shrunk wayyyyyy down!
Chomp Chomp! You've gotta try these. $5 meal for two! You can't beat it!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Good Morning Cookie

After the "not so sweet" cookies were made I came up with an excellent use for the less sweet ones. Crumble up and eat on your oatmeal of course!  
1/3 cup oats, 1/3 cup water, 1/3 cup almond milk, a pinch of salt and simmered to perfection. Add in some raisins and top with almond butter, nonfat plain greek yogurt and make a moat out of maple syrup. Add cookie. Ok, so this isn't the healthiest oatmeal I've ever had... ;)
What a sweet way to start the day!

A Spice Filled Sunday

I'm a bit behind on my posts from this week. Time to catch up! Last Sunday night I made coconut curry soup with tofu. I've made this a couple times and it always bit different. The base is a carton of veggie stock and a can of light coconut milk (honestly, I think I like the regular coconut milk's just richer). Veggies thrown in there- garlic & onion (sauteed) carrots, sweet potato, snap peas and baby corn. For spices- a dash of cayenne, curry powder and garam masala.
I threw in some shaved (unsweetened) coconut impulsively. Added a little more texture.
On the side we had brown basmati rice that I scooped in a bit at a time.
After dinner I was feeling super festive and wanting to spread some holiday cheer. What better way than with a nice batch of cookies to share :) I don't bake a ton because of my dislike of measuring things but I was in the mood. I trusted my idol Martha with a chewy molasses cookie recipe. I followed the recipe closely but not exactly (I used whole wheat flour and because I've found it causes recipes to be more dry than white flour does I added three tablespoons of nonfat plain Greek yogurt to help with moistness. I also used raw sugar instead of white granulated) After I taste tested the first batch I thought they needed more sugar. I didn't trust myself because I love sugar so much but after consulting the Man-friend he agreed and I added about a quarter cup to the remainder of the batch. They were so tasty and chewy but after reading the reviews online others found the cookies needed more sugar too. I would recommend this recipe but I would definitely add another half cup of sugar to the recipe from the start.
Love getting to use my bright green mixer!
Looks like a doughnut eh?
I'll admit to eating more than my share of these tasty treats :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sunday Brunch, Homestyle

As much as I love going out to Sunday brunch, and man I REALLY love brunch and Bloody Marys, sometimes it's nice to make it at home.

huevos ranchers on the menu! Corn tortillas (that I keep and the freezer and take out as needed), black beans (rinsed and heated in a pan with a little salsa and s&p, sunny side up, avocado, fresh salsa, plain greek yogurt and scallions. 

Enjoyed with large mugs of coffee of course. OK, ok, I sort of missed the Bloody Mary a bit...

After breakfast I met my family to see the Nutcracker at the Merrill Auditorium. Great start to a lovely Sunday :)

Date Night at Bar Lola

Saturday night we strolled up Congress Street to one of the East Ends many adorable restaurants. We had our eye on Bar Lola since moving to this side of town in October. The restaurant looked particularly picturesque with the first dusting of snow sticking to the ground. 

We tried to make a reservation earlier that evening but there were none available at the time we were looking for (we were trying to make it to a 9:30 movie). We decided to take our chances by just walking in. As luck would have it there were two seats at the bar available when we arrived. If you don't mind sitting at the bar this is a great way to get into a restaurant otherwise booked!

The drink menu looked really good and unique and I had a hard time choosing! The Man-friend ordered a bourbon concoction with a rock candy stirrer. 

A ginger margarita for me :) We decided to share a couple appetizers which were small three or four bite dishes of great flavor. We tried the beet cured salmon, pimento cheese and meatballs for him.



The Man-friend got the pork for his entree which he really liked. I opted for the vegetarian item that tasted good but did not photograph well :) Time to scurry back home in the cold to grab the car and make it to the movie! We caught the new Bond movie. I have to admit I have never seen one and actually sort of enjoyed it :) Shhh, don't tell!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Pin It

My addiction to Pinterest is getting more intense the colder the weather gets. Want to look up cool holiday decorating ideas? Pinterest. Need a new recipe for a party? Pinterest. Need help planning an outfit for something? Pinterest. I don't think it's just me... A couple weeks ago I "pinned" (that's Pinterest lingo) buffalo cauliflower. Basically, it's just cauliflower covered in buffalo sauce instead of chicken wings. I needed a way to turn this into a meal though.
So, I picked up some Morningstar Farms Buffalo Chik'n wings (vegetarian) for some protein. 
cut up some cukes, put out some carrots and tossed the cauliflower in buffalo sauce. 
A little (sinful) bleu cheese dressing for dipping.
Delicious, easy, healthful, meal for two!

Special Delivery

Yesterday, I had a lunch date with some cute gals. My friend Kim and her adorbs little girl Mia. We were confined to the house while I waited for our new washer and dryer to be delivered. We waited to make this purchase at Black Friday prices and man was it worth the wait! No we did not wait in a crazy line for it though... While waiting in excitement for the delivery I knew this meant I was getting old... 
Oh hey there two little teeth!
In between chatting and rolling around on the floor with the little one, I put together an impromptu but pretty tasty vegetable soup. Some soups take all day to cook and become more flavorful but some can be quick too! This one was put together in a just a few minutes. I sauteed two cloves of garlic as well as a small onion in a soup pan with a tablespoon of olive oil. Added in some celery, diced potatoes and a carton of low sodium vegetable broth. Brought up to a boil and added in half a bag of frozen broccoli rabe and a can of mixed beans (rinsed). Lots of salt and pepper were added too.
I topped our soup with sriracha sauce and a big sprinkle of feta cheese. Feta is just fabulous on soup. Try it!
Nothing hits the spot quite like a hot bowl of soup on a cold day! 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Mainely Veggie Thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I spent time with my family eating lots of delightful food and sharing in lots of laughs. After work on Wednesday I headed to my parents house with all the ingredients to whip up my fabulous vegetarian stuffing to be cooked the next day, only to find my mom had already made it! 
This stuffing is delicious and is a mix of savory and sweet with the addition of fruit. Stuffing mix (check the ingredients if you are going for vegetarian because sometimes there is chicken flavor in there), vegetable broth, onions, celery, green apples, dried cranberries and spices (Thyme, sage and celery salt). Combined over low heat and then baked until crunchy! 
I lobbied for the inclusion of brussel sprouts (YUM) and halved them before cooking them cut side down in a hot skillet with get this, REAL BUTTER. Salt and peppered and cooked to perfection.
I put the cooked brussels in a baking dish to be reheated later on at my Aunt and Uncles house where we were headed for dinner.
Some pre dinner cribbage!
My grandmother cut this out of the newspaper, it made me laugh. 
In case you were wondering, yes, there was a turkey but no I did not eat it :)
Before dinner was served my cousin Owen surprised us with this DVD. He had taken all of our old VHS home movies and compiled them onto DVD's for all of us! What a wonderful surprise! This year, I am most thankful for this :)
Here's my veggies stuffing (looks mushy but was really very good :)
Homemade buttery rolls, they were so good! 
Here's my mile high veggie pile! I sat and savored it slowly long after everyone had gotten up from the table. I just wanted to enjoy all this goodness I guess!
Lots of desserts to try! Pumpkin and gingerbread trifle, pumpkin and apple pies, peanut butter cookie cups and more! 
After dinner some of us set out for a stroll down the road (complete in our orange vests), another wonderful Thanksgiving with lots to be thankful for, I hope yours was great too.