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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wrong Holiday

Ever since Malin's gorgeous post about pomegranates, I've been trying to use them whenever I remember to. I considered making a spinach-walnut-pom salad with them for Christmas like my sister (who we missed this year because she's still in Spain) did last year but couldn't get everything together. I made a kale salad instead. However, still in a somewhat festive mood and with all necessary ingredients on hand (plus a couple extras) I made it for New Year's Eve:

Spinach, pomegranate arils, red onion, avocado, mushroom, tempeh in a mustard-balsamic dressing.
Then, ah, a bit too many sweets. Figs, chocolate, and banana bread! But this is the last gasp. I'm not making any food resolutions per se but G and I are doing a cleanse in a week or so, which I hope will get things off on a good start. Happy New Year's to yehs.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Who Needs a Vacation?

When I was visiting relatives the day after Christmas, my uncle peered at me, asking, "Are you tan? Did you just come back from a trip?" I laughed because anyone who knows me knows I rarely leave the house except to go to work and come back. "No," I replied. "I think I just eat too many carrots." (My mother knows me - she asked if there was something wrong with my liver.) It's only a bit noticeable to me, maybe because I see my face every day but I definitely notice the orangey tint in my feet.
While it's perfectly normal and healthy, it is a little disconcerting and I've been trying to cut back on carrots but they're just so easy to eat. I was going to write up another recipe for last night's delicious dinner, thinking how nice it was to have two recipes in a row for you (if you were inclined to make them). Then I noticed that the last recipe was heavy on the carrots and this dish is orange too from the squash! There's no getting around it in the wintertime. Actually, it's hard to get around in general because apparently plenty of green vegetables will keep you orange too. I'll be orange until spring when I fade back to my creepy pallor.
Anyway, you guys don't need a recipe and I don't need a reminder about how much orange stuff I eat but this was a tasty (high in beta carotene and vitamin A) dish:

Raw chard shredded into a bowl, brown rice on top. In a skillet I heated onion and the last of some roasted kabocha squash. Since the squash was a bit dry, I poured in about 1/2 cup of vegetable broth and let it cook out a bit. Tossed in the rest of the roughly chopped chard leaves, a handful of cherry tomatoes, covered the pan, and let it cook for about 3 more minutes, just until the chard wilted a bit. Et voila.
I ate leftovers for lunch today. Tryouts for Oompa Loompas tomorrow. Speaking of tomorrow, you know what I'll be doing. What about you? Do you have any plans for New Years? Resolutions? Fun drinks?? Gimme somethin!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Recipe: Carrot-Fennel-Rutabaga Mash

So, the gingered chocolate and pear loaves that I made for Christmas call for 1 cup of chopped pears. I had no idea how many pears to buy to yield enough (apparently only 1 1/2) and ended up with a lot of leftover pears that I've been adding to breakfasts lately:

 Chia pudding with vanilla extract and ginger, chopped pear, raw pepitas.
And this morning's:

Soy yogurt with chopped pear, blueberry preserves (a Christmas present), flaxmeal.
Last night I was in a horrible mood so I set to hacking at every vegetable in the crisper, ending up with a rather delicious dish of carrot-fennel-rutabaga mash and sauteed kale and mushrooms on the side. I added tempeh for today's lunch:

Carrot-Fennel-Rutabaga Mash
                          serves 4 as a side

2 large carrots, chopped
1 large rutabaga, chopped
1 bulb fennel, chopped
1 head garlic
2 TBS non-dairy milk
salt + pepper to taste

-Preheat oven to 400*. Wrap garlic in tin foil, place fennel on a baking sheet and cook both until soft.
-Meanwhile, boil rutabaga and carrot until fork-tender. Drain.
-Add 2 cloves of roasted garlic (or more) to boiled veg and use a fork or a potato masher to blend everything. This is another fun kitchen thing to do when angry.
-Add milk as needed, chopped fennel, salt and pepper to taste, and mash to desired consistency. Rutabaga is fairly fibrous and won't get super smooth; no need to get too crazy.
-Serve warm.

And dinner, a summertime throwback: raw chard wraps!

These have a Chili Garlic Pumpkin Hummus as a base, carrot, red pepper, tomato, mushroom, and a sprinkling of wakame seaweed. I was inspired because I found a copy of Ani's Raw Food Kitchen at work for a dollar (a couple photo pages were falling out but I can fix them)! Can't beat that.
Any treats you bought yourself lately? Any favorite gifts you got for someone else?
Another fun gift I got was a bird feeder from my folks. However, the squirrels have already knocked it over and ransacked it! But I can't be too mad. Lookit this cute bugger:

Christmas Crafts

For you, Shen. This post is your present.
Since apparently biscotti and loaves aren't enough for all my planning and worrying and stress of the past month (oh little do ye know how much I plan and stress and worry the rest of the year), here's the rest of what I was working on and gave as presents for Christmas:

                               Braided rag rug/cat hang out spot for my mother (and her cat)

The book of poetry for my father, primarily, but also way too many relatives. I wonder if I'll be disowned post-reading of, or if they'll read it at all.

                                 Booze (as previously seen) for my brother and an uncle.
And for you, an awkward recording of one of the poems:

If it sounds like something you might be interested in, let me know and I'll mail two out to the first two people.
Amen, that's all she wrote.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Goodies

Hello! I hope you all had a lovely Sunday, whether or not you were celebrating Christmas. Our celebration was small: just my brother (who had flown in from LA), my parents and myself. Tomorrow we will drive down to Pennsylvania to see our very large extended family, which promises to be a bit overwhelming but nice so I'm glad today was quiet.
This is yesterday's breakfast but it looked so festive I thought I'd post it here:

my ridiculous flannel nightshirt that I love so much and a delicious, healthy, filling smoothie: Spinach, spirulina, 1 1/2 bananas, flax seed, ginger, molasses. On ice.
After work yesterday, I got home to some serious business prepping for today's meal. I made Nikki's tahini-maple roasted sprouts again, which my mom loved, and a raw kale salad:

Kale, grated carrot (added after the photo), red onion, tomatoes, raw sunflower seeds, olive oil, nooch, red pepper flakes, and salt. my mom said to bring my favorite vegan dish, and so.
We also ate a wild rice and mushroom dish, blanched asparagus, and roasted chestnuts (I didn't think I liked them but these were perfect). I also brought along a chunk of raw tempeh for myself...ha. I wasn't trying to win anyone over there. All very well prepared and thankfully not as heavy on the oil as Thanksgiving.
Then we opened some gifts and returned for dessert. I made Oh She Glows' vegan eggnog biscotti as well as gingered chocolate pear loaves from Vegan Holiday Kitchen.

The biscotti were easy to make and came out pretty well. The nog flavor wasn't too pronounced, but they were good. I found the loaves a bit light, honestly. maybe pears are too bland for me, but I didn't think they were great. The chocolate and ginger flavors could both have been a bit sharper. Ah well. I'm bringing the rest to PA tomorrow so we'll see what they all think.
Also with the desserts, my cousin in Seattle sends amazing homemade truffles every year. This year she made two batches for us; one vegan, made with coconut milk! I only ate half of one, as they're very rich (obvs) but totally smooth and deep. The funny thing is, to pack them in the mail, she sent them in an egg carton with "VEGAN" scrawled on top.
So, that's all for now. Cheers, everyone. Health, happiness, and peace to you this season.

Friday, December 23, 2011


Breakfasted back to old oats and chia. However, I've been making treats for Christmas and used some of the ingredients to top the oats:

Soaked oat groats, chia seeds, chopped dates, apricots, and cacao nibs.
Lunch salad, same as last night:

Spinach, tomato, sweet potato, avocado, roasted beet, mushroom. With balsamic, nooch, and hemp seeds.
Look! I got G to take a photo of his dinner! And he made it too!

 Pasta in sauce with TJ meatless meatballs, artichokes, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, nooch, and pepper. 
And my dinner, more salad:

Spinach, roasted kabocha squash, mushroom, and tempeh. With sriracha, balsamic, and nooch.
Lots of salad, perhaps to make up for the treats (which I have been surprisingly strong-willed in mostly resisting):
Peppermint-Pretzel-Almond bark

Cranberry-Pistachio bark with Coconut 

 Almond-Apricot bark

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fixing Food

Breakfast was leftover cranberry chia pudding.

I didn't want to say so but I was less than wowed with this yesterday. The cranberries were more than tart; they were bitter, though that was probably my problem for keeping them around so long. I also thought the dates were too chunky and therefore weren't well enough dispersed in the pudding to give a general flavor (also probably my fault for using a crap blender instead of a food processor.) Then there's my slight aversion to slimy foods. Still, I am not one to waste food and luckily this bowl was a lot tastier. The pudding had set and gelled even more, I added coconut flakes for both flavor and dryness, and an extra date chopped on top for a bit more sweetness. Also some powdered ginger. So, don't be afraid to play around with a recipe - we all have our personal tastes. I'm glad I gave the pudding another try because it's very healthy and filling.
Lunch was leftover beet greens with white bean mash (not so well mashed.)

An orange as a snack later. I can't tell if it was a huge orange or a small serving of greens.
Dinner was a massive salad. Extra tasty.

Spinach, roasted beets, boiled sweet potato, onion, avocado, tomatoes in a tahini sauce.
Have a good night, guys.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Raw and Roasted, Toasted

Raw cranberry chia pudding from Kristen's Raw.

Finally finished the last of my (fresh) cranberries. I still have two bags of frozen.
Half raw/half roasted salad for lunch.

Spinach, tomatoes, roasted parsnips and broccoli, white beans with tahini sauce. Huge, filling, and delightful.
Dinner was Nikki's absolutely delicious tahini-maple roasted Brussels sprouts. I also took her sweet potato side idea, but made spicy sweet potato fries instead of stuffed sweet potatoes.

The tahini does melt all kinda cheezly onto the sprouts. It was very tasty. If you've ever had the store-made dehydrated kale chips, the crunchy loveliness comes from a cashew sauce and the tahini here works in much the same way. So good. Thanks, Nikki.
The "toasted" part of this post(ed) is the growler G and I bought yesterday! We are bona fide! Here he is showing off the smooth pour.

We bought a Goose Island brew. Good stuff.
Speaking of alcohol, I finished my drink project (posted and hinted about here and here)! It is all infused, strained, and ready to be bottled up. Here's one bottle I gave to my friend the other night.

Ya! Orange bitters! I used the recipe in Make the Bread, Buy the Butter and am pretty pleased with the outcome. I sipped some straight, and my friend did a shot of it. He's a bartender so I trust his opinion on such things. It's a bit strong and...bitter but I think it'll be good dashed into other drinks. I'm excited and I hope my other giftees will like it. If any of you have ever tasted Fernet (Rose?), the taste is similiar but less thick.
Anyway, that concludes the post. Don't drink and drive.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dinner: White Bean Mash over Beet Greens

I want G to start posting his dinners (or any of his meals, really) because personally I find the behind the scenes stuff interesting in general, especially on other people's blogs. His lunches in particular are always something I enjoy hearing about, whereas I eat the same old salad after salad every day.
Tonight, however, I made a fairly quick dinner that I'm pretty proud of:

Last night I roasted a pan of parsnips, broccoli, and beets. I also threw a head of garlic in to roast, as well, because why not? I saved the beet greens for later. To think I ever used to throw those out! For shame. They may actually be one of my favorite greens lately. Unfortunately, they do tend to wilt fairly quickly so I cooked them up tonight with onions, garlic, and salt. I really love the beet flavor and add very little seasoning.
I boiled some white beans, and when they were done, I threw in two cloves of the roasted garlic, some salt, nooch, and chopped mushrooms and mashed them all together. Served on top of the greens with a liberal dousing of black pepper. This was very filling, super healthy, oil-free, really delicious, and fun to make. So happy to have leftovers of this simple, tasty dish.
Does anyone know if you can eat beet greens raw, though? How would you recommend them?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Eats About the House

Breakfast was two jars of almond butter. I licked one clean and just finished the other:

 Or maybe I compulsively jar hoard and use them to drink from. Water on the left, Oats in a Jar on the right.

With cooked steel cut oats, almond butter remnants, cranberry-apple butter, chopped banana, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Lunch salad with added roasted butternut squash and tahini dressing. I was at home all day crafting etc. so I also snacked on a bunch of raw pepitas and dried figs throughout the day. Oh and a pear. I have no idea how some of you keep yr caloric intake at 1500 for an entire day.

Dinner was quickly thrown together: spinach, more butternut squash, avocado, chickpeas, and garam masala, curry powder, and salt tossed on top. One of these days I'll get it together and make Ani Phyo's amazing sounding Kreamy Curry Dressing.

And dessert. Three of these Prune-Walnut slices, also via Trader Joe's. I've been really into dried fruit lately. I'm sure these little dudes are great "cheese companions" but I don't really care to find out. Nota Bene: they contain honey. I didn't notice that when I bought them but I have been eating them anyway. Waste not, want not. They are good though and I'm sure they'd be easy to make DIY, honey-less, if one were so inclined. They also contain lime juice, which is kind of interesting. If you're into lime juice, I guess.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Salad, Oats, and So On

Thanks for the well wishes and good vibes, guys. I'm getting better, I think. You know, "This too shall pass."
Soaked oat groats and chia, a banana, and a bloody smattering of cranberry-apple butter (from Trader Joe's). The cran-apple butter is really addictive. It's tart enough to stay interesting. I still have a crap ton of cranberries I hoarded around Thanksgiving and I'm thinking of making a syrup or something from them.

Big salad for lunch. G bought a huge (Florida) avocado, which is a bit different than the usual, small, Hass avos but still good. In this salad are said avocado, carrot, mushrooms, spinach, chickpeas, and tomatoes. Topped with balsamic, sriracha, and nooch. Snacked on an apple and a mint Jocalat bar at work as well.

Dinner was more lentil-corn chowder. Still not too curry-y but I added cayenne for heat. Big salad as well with spring mix, onion, olives, bell pepper, tomato, carrot, beets, chickpea, and avocado. With mustard-balsamic dressing. Also a rare slice of (unpictured) bread on the side. Not something I usually do but it was nice in the soup.
3 dried Turkish figs for dessert (Family sized tubs of figs and deglet dates on sale at Whole Foods!). Enjoy your weekend, guys.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Miso soup with a lot of wakame, shiitake mushrooms, tofu, and red pepper flakes. I took a lot of photos of this one being all, "I can't make it not blurry!" but I think blurry is the nature of miso broth.

Steamed beet greens and carrot. Pumpkin soup (Veg broth, onion, garlic, and pumpkin puree) with nooch and rice.

Curry Red Lentil and Corn Chowder from Christy Morgan's Blissful Bites. I've had this cookbook for a while and this is the first recipe I've yet to make from it. I hope to cook a lot more from the book because there are some very inventive recipes in it and it's a beautiful book. This soup was both sweet and tangy and very comforting. It wasn't super spicy but my curry powder is mad old and as with most soups, the flavors will probably settle in a day or two.
Sorry for the silence of late, again. Things have been depressing and hectic but I hope to have some good stuff for you in the next few days. I've been in a bit of a cooking slump among other things and I think following a recipe from a book to the letter will reset my circuits. Hope you're all well.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Calm

I figured out the layout problems and printed up a test copy of the poetry book yesterday and am pleased to say it went smoothly. With that weight off my shoulders I was able to focus on food a bit more.
Soaked oats and chia topped with banana and raw almond butter.

 Raw kale salad, chickpeas, and tahini-miso sauce.

Post-breakdown (and pre- another) the other night I met G and we went out and got burritos. Mine had steamed spinach, potatoes, guac, lettuce, radishes, tomato, and black beans. I ate half and saved half for last night's dinner with some steamed noochy broccoli.
I would also like to state for the record that although I usually cook for both G and I, he is completely capable of feeding himself and cooking a delicious meal. He raved about a pasta-artichoke-broccoli-vegan meatball-and sauce dish he made himself, whereas I ate plain old leftovers. I am much pickier than he is about what foods I don't eat (like pasta or fake meats) and I enjoy cooking more but that is not to say he's helpless in the kitchen. Not that you all suspected as much but we were talking about it earlier today. So there you have it.

Today's festive morning oatmeal. I was going for a gingerbread-y bowl. Cooked oats, slivered almonds, dried cranberries, powdered ginger, and a drizzle of molasses.

I picked this boxed pumpkin up the other day because it was on sale cheaper than canned pumpkin. I often feel a bit weird about BPA lining in cans (I only soak my own beans anymore - it's way cheaper too) and also the fact that it's suggested not to keep leftover pumpkin in the can, which I always end up forgetting about, causing the stuff to taste like metal. Boxes seem safer. Anyway, this Pacific brand tasted a bit different than the canned stuff I usually buy; it was a bit less sweet and more smoky, almost. It is also more liquidy and less dense than the canned pumpkin. It seemed best suited for a savory dish and so:

I sauteed some onion and garlic in a large skillet, added the (already cooked) chickpeas and let them cook through. I poured about half the box of pumpkin puree on top (6 oz./250g) and stirred. I tossed in some sliced cherry tomatoes and a bunch of torn kale, topped it off with salt and red pepper flakes, covered the dish and let it wilt. It was really delicious and almost creamy. I topped mine with a bit of nutritional yeast as well, and extra red pepper flakes.
Any good festive or seasonal meals for you all yet?