Sunday, January 27, 2013

Peas and Thank You

My Man-friend is a huge fan of pea soup... I've made it only once before and didn't really love it, it was pretty bland. I think it's the ham in traditional split pea soup that makes it flavorful. I was dead set on making a delicious vegetarian version!
I consulted Martha (Stewart of course) for some guidelines. I branched out on my own though after the "add ham bone to pot" part though. Sauté carrots, onions, and celery with salt pepper and thyme until they are tender. Add in two cartons of vegetable stock and two cups of water as well as a bag of split peas. Bring to a boil. Now here's the trick! Liquid smoke, to replace the dimension added from the ham bone. I used about six dashes. Cover and let simmer until the peas are soft. 
I stuck my submersion blender right into the pan to blend it until it was smooth. You could use a regular blender in small batches though. 
Crusty bread for dipping :)
This pea soup was MUCH better and very flavorful! The Man-friend was very thankful and practically licked his bowl clean :)

New Toys, New Recipes

I got this submersion blender for Christmas this year and I've tried it a couple times but have been trying to find more ways to use it (because it's awesome). Enter PANCAKES. These aren't your normal pancakes though, I read about them on Blogilates (a pilates blog/vlog). My version of these pancakes are a spin off her flourless version. 
To serve two:
2 bananas (I used brown ones from my freezer)
4 eggs
1/2 cup rolled oats
pinch salt
sprinkle of cinnamon 
Blend it all together! I opted to add oats to this recipe (the Blogilates version is just 1 banana and 2 eggs) because the thawed bananas were pretty soggy and I thought the mixture would be too runny. Heat up a hot skillet and make just like regular pancakes, flipping when the batter starts to bubble in the middle. This mixture is much looser than regular pancake batter so be sure to pour slowly. 
Look normal right??
Topped with yogurt butter, PB, almonds and of course SYRUP. 
They were delicious and I'll be making these again! Lovely Sunday morning :)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Baby Cabbages?

Are brussel sprouts baby cabbages or are they a different vegetable? I've always wondered this. Maybe I'll google that later... 
Last night I roasted these puppies up with some olive oil and salt and pepper. 400* for about 20 minutes. 
Mmmm brussels roasted to perfection. 
Garlic shrimp! I really like shrimp but hadn't had it in a while, I was delighted when the Man-friend came home from the grocery store with a big bag of it. YUM. We also had rice pilaf on the side (another of his picks). I haven't had this in AGES, and forgot how good it was. 
Lots of shrimp left, you'll be seeing more soon!

Baby It's Cold Outside

I might as well jump on the 'HOLY COW IT'S SO COLD OUT' bandwagon :) Every year we have a cold spell like this but I don't think any Mainer ever really gets used to it! We've just got to find ways to feel warm! In an attempt to pretend like my toes and nose weren't freezing even in my house, I made a big pot of vegetable soup at the beginning of the week. I've been eating it ever since. 
2 boxes of low sodium vegetable stock
1 large can of diced tomatoes
1 small onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 bay leaf 
ANY vegetables you like! I used celery, carrots, potatoes, kale, and kidney beans (1 can)
Sautee diced onion and minced garlic in a little olive oil. Dice up the hard veggies and add to the pot. When the veggies are softened add in your liquids and season to taste. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Add in the kidney beans and kale (easily over cooked). Eat whenever the veggies are cooked to your liking. 
I love to eat my veggie soup with feta cheese and a big squeeze of sriracha... shocking I know...
Orange on the side! We'll be heading to the land of oranges next week (Florida) and I'll be thinking warm thoughts until then!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Oaty Goodness

It's been a while since an oatmeal post!
1/3 cup oats, 1/3 cup vanilla almond milk, 1/3 cup water and a pinch of salt simmered to perfection. When the oats were almost ready I added in a handful of frozen berries. Maple syrup, almond butter and a bit of granola (thanks Aunt Nina!) for crunch.
No better way to start the day!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Bowl Full of Sketti

The other day I saw this idea on Pinterest and just had to try it. By the way if you aren't already on Pinterest what are you waiting for?? Ok, so I sound like a spokesperson but seriously, it's a great resource to get new ideas and compile things you like or would like to try into one place. I love spaghetti squash especially as bathing suit season approaches, so this seemed like a way easier way to prepare it.
To be honest I didn't read the recipe attached to the picture so I just did what I thought would work best. Cut squash in half length wise and place cut side up on a baking dish. I added in a couple tablespoons of water into the squash "bowls" and a teaspoon of olive oil. I diced a clove of garlic and tossed it in the liquid mixture along with s&p and red pepper flakes. Top the squash bowls off with the marinara of your choice. I baked uncovered at 375* for close to an hour before deciding to cover them with tin foil and putting some water in the bottom of the baking dish so they would steam (I should have done this from the beginning!) This sped up the cooking process and when they were fork tender I sprinkled with cheese and placed back in the oven for it to melt. Top with basil and enjoy! This is definitely going my new favorite way to prepare this! So easy! 
Delicious! You've got to try this! 

Date Night with Ramen

No, not the 5 for a dollar dried packs! Friday night we hit Pai men Miyake in Portland for Japanese noodles! We had recently watched a show on the Food Network about authentic ramen and it got both of us in the mood for a big spicy bowl of broth and noodles. 
I was immediately pleased by the drink menu and this sake bloody mary with wasabi. There aren't many beverages I prefer over a bloody mary, having one with dinner was a treat! My date had a small carafe of sake and a beer. 
We picked a couple apps to share like this tuna sashimi salad and vegetable dumplings. I love loved the dumplings. Most places only have meat varieties and I was please to see this veggie option!
Check out that crisp!
My ramen had tofu, veggies and nori. 
The Man Friend's had egg and a big piece of pork belly under there somewhere...We spent dinner gabbing and raving about how much we loved the noodles. If you're into ramen you've got to try the real deal! Next time I want to add a big squeeze of sriracha in mine :) 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Very Merry Three Christmases

Happy New Year veggie heads! Long time no blog! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year enjoying lots of food and good times with family and friends. I was crazy busy (like everyone else I'm sure) but I'm glad to be back to blogging and excited to get this new year started. Here are some highlights from my holiday!
Christmas #1
First stop my parents house to enjoy time by the tree, gifts, and a fabulous meal of butternut squash lasagna.  
Mom's festive Christmas table!
Delicious lasagna with spinach and butternut squash that I believe my mom got from the Trader Joe's website. I really prefer white lasagna over the traditional made with red sauce. Do you?
Cute chalkboard glasses with a lil' bit of wine in the bottom. 
Yule log for dessert. Looks and tasted like a giant swiss roll :)
Christmas #2
Christmas Eve in Minot with my Aunt and Uncle's family. Last year we went a little crazy with tons of different dishes and this year we decided to downsize (slightly). We scaled back to just appetizers and my Uncle Bill's famous fish chowder. Unfortunately I gobbled up my bowl faster than I could find my camera.  
I was in charge of the cheese tray, cranberry stilton, smoked gouda and brie :) A few weeks ago I had pinned (on Pinterest) "How to Make the Perfect Cheese Tray," so I was ready!
Nanny's spinach dip with pumpernickle bread, always a hit! After we stuffed our selves we sat down for the annual yankee swap which always entails a mixture of awesome, random, and awful (three years ago I brought a sparkly Jesus shaped coin bank that resurfaces every year) gifts. There are some gems in there but mostly it's just fun. 
Christmas #3
Up to Bangor for Christmas morning.
Brunch looking over the Penobscot River!
Monkey bread! My family makes this almost every year for Christmas but this was my first time making it by myself. It was actually really easy but not healthy. Regardless, I did proceed to eat half myself though...tis the season. 
Monkey Bread:
Bundt pan (thanks mom!)
2 packages of pizza dough 
stick of butter (melted)
shallow bowl with brown sugar and cinnamon
Spray your bundt pan. Roll dough into balls, dip in butter, roll in sugar mixture and fill up the pan. Bake on 350* until it firms up! I think it was about 30 minutes. You could make a frosting glaze for the top if you wanted but I assure you it was plenty sweet! 
Mmm notice my bloody mary in the background :)
Gifts from my Man Friend. You think he wants me busy in the kitchen? Yep, I think so too! After some gifting and laughs we sat down for Christmas dinner.
Dinner was a meaty feast with lamb and beef (I think?) but I had a big 'ole plate of veggies. Fine by me! Are you surprised most of my highlights were food related? You shouldn't be. Did anyone make a New Years resolution to become a vegetarian??