Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Lunch for the Week | Minestrone

I decided to try and keep up with the being healthy stuff and made a large batch of fruit salad (cantaloupe, pear, banana, tangerine, pineapple, and some lime juice) - AND - some soup for the rest of the week for lunches and the odds and ends meals that occur in this house. For the soup i looked in one of my favorite veggie cook books, A Beautiful Bowl of Soup. Soups are wonderful because they don't have to be heavy and you can cram TONS of veggies and vitamins into them and they taste great! Some at least ; )

I landed on the Minestrone with White Beans recipe (pg 92). Very flavorful. It came out a bit thick, but should be perfect with reheating. I had no idea that it would yield SO much. I used all of the Pyrex Tupperware and STILL had to pull two bowls out like i was getting ready for dinner tomorrow already. I also substituted the plain elbow noodles for some Quiona Elbow Noodles for extra zest and nutrients - AND - Plum tomatoes for a can for fire roasted tomatoes. Yummy!!!

3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 cup Onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
5 cups of Vegetable Stock
1 28-oz can of Tomatoes, Fire Roasted/Diced
10-ozs New Potatoes, diced into 1/2" pieces
8-ozs Green Beans, chopped in 1/2" pieces
2 Carrots, chopped in 1/2" pieces
1 Zucchini, chopped in 1/2" pieces
2 tablespoons fresh Oregano, minced
1 15-oz can Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
6-oz Quinoa Elbow Macaroni
1 6-oz can Tomato Paste
1/4 cup fresh Basil, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon Pepper, to taste

1. Place the Oil, Onions, and half of the Garlic into the pan and cook on medium until the onions are translucent (appx 5 minutes)
2. Add the Veggie Stock, diced tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, carrots, zucchini, and oregano; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer covered for 25 minutes stirring occasionally
3. Increase heat to high, bringing to a boil; add beans and macaroni, reduce heat and simmer covered for 12 minutes
4. Remove from heat; stir in tomato paste, basil, and pepper.
5. Serve with Parmesan cheese if desired

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Gardening Progress

3 weeks have passed and i have some sprouts in my yard!!! Go little green onions, you can do it!

And here is the cat enjoying the garden and her awesome new cat house.

Vegan Cupcakes | PB and Green Tea

I love cupcakes! They are my favorite food, especially when they're vegan. Through the wonderful world of Goodreads I was introduced to Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. We had a party at the house, which is an awesome opportunity for cupcakes! I decided to try the Peanut Butter recipe and the Green Tea recipe.

Green Tea | Finding the Matcha powder was the hardest part, this stuff ain't cheap! Making the Frosting was fun!

Peanut Butter | The apple cider vinegar really didn't smell good, and having it on the counter wasn't awesome. But the smell was gone once all was blended together.

Final outcome were beautiful, yummy cupcakes that went pretty fast at the party. The PB were my favorite, off to eat my LAST one.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Quick & Easy | Chickpea Potato Curry

I was looking for a fairly easy dish to make on a lazy sunday afternoon and came across this. I've always enjoyed chickpeas, but have been finding new ways to integrate them into my cooking lately. Result = Yummy! This dish was great! Chop up some onions, cube up some potatoes, open some cans, a few spices, boil for half an hour, and serve. I followed the directions and also cooked up some white rice for this to go over, but wished for a bit of naan as well...next time.
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • Two 15-ounce cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • One 14 1/2-ounce can fire-roasted or stewed tomatoes with chiles
  • 6 baby (new) Yukon Gold potatoes (about 12 ounces), quartered
  • 1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. In a large pot, combine all ingredients. Stir to mix and nestle the potatoes into the liquid.

2. Set the pot, uncovered, over medium heat. Simmer for about 35 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Serve the curry in bowls over Jasmine rice.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bento Boxes

I've been thinking about different things i can make myself to take for lunch, other than the basic sandwich (boring!!!). I've been thinking about rice balls and how wonderfully tasty they are...which led me to bento boxes. I can across this awesome website about bento boxes where they post different recipes and other helpful information.

Mission One: To make it out to the Tokyo Fish Market for yummy Japanese cooking supplies
Mission Two: To procure an awesome, totally perfect for lunch, adorable, bento box for use
Mission Three: To make one bento box a week starting next week for a month to give it a try

Springtime Shrimp Veggie Medly

Spring time is in the air, the back door is open so the cat can come and go as she pleases, and i've caught the cooking bug! Lookin for something seafood~ish i decided to give my experimentation skills a whirl and concocted what you see to the left. Some squash lightly cooked in oil along with cooked shrimp. I added a dash of butter at the end to help keep the shrimp moist and rich. Also the default side of a box of risotto. Yummy! Now i just need to learn to make the risotto from scratch.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Easy Lunches | Lentil Burgers

Lentil Burgers are one of my very favorite things to make. You can put all kinds of different veggies in them, and skip the icky non-exciting celery for more interesting and tasty veggies. I first found them in my favorite veggie cook book - pg 368. Tonights recipe was sun-dried tomatoes and jalapeƱos. Great for batch cooking at the beginning of the week for easy lunches and quick dinners. They also travel great since there is no liquid, unless you're like me and can't live without the barbecue sauce. Mine also must include cheese (white sharp cheddar in picture) and yummy bread. But the real best thing is each patty has less then 200 calories!!! I make each patty twice the size as the recipe, but the recipe is for kids so i gottsa ta grow it up ; ) Super yummy with Strawberry Lemonade. Mmmmm...

I usually omit the celery and add bell peppers or more onions, jalapeƱos, sun-dried tomatoes, etc. Something that has a kick and a yummy taste. Just stay away from runny veggies like fire roaster green chilies or tomatoes. They have too much pater and are better as a topping then inside the mix. ***Tip: do not let the lentils loose ALL of their water while boiling. If you find when you start to mix all of the ingredients, too much of the water has left the lentils...just add a small amount of water (usually in tablespoon amounts) to the mixture and mix in. The mixture should be pretty dry so you will need to try forming the patties to get a feel for how much you might need to add. Perfect lentils = no additional water needed.***

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Conservatory of Flowers, SF

Water with White
Originally uploaded by dre_ah
Awesome sunny morning for a stroll in the Conservatory of Flowers. Tracey and I set off early this morning, in human terms 9:30am. First trip inside after a few months ago passing the crazy flowers clock on the hill in front of the place on my way to the de Young. It was beautiful!!! I was a smidgen unhappy about all of the humidity, but it was okie as i was able to escape after a few hours.

Inside there were TONS of orchids and lilies. Beautiful groups of colors in the special exhibit hall, along with some carnival ride friends. Also there was tons of ripe fruit. Inspiration to get up, out of bed, and water the damn plants every day to ensure i get to eat home grown cilantro in a few months.

Definitely a: go back for the next exhibit and round 2+ of pictures using the macro setting ; )

Sunday Evening Meal | Chickpea Stew with Fried Polenta

I found this recipe a few weeks ago flipping through my favorite Vegetarian Cook Book ... Vegetarian Times: Complete Cookbook ... i came across this recipe and thought it'd be a great opportunity to cook up chickpeas for the first time. pg 363

Damn do Chickpeas take for - EVAR. After the allotted 3.5 hours they were finally done, and yummy. I substituted the stewed tomatoes for two cans of diced fire roasted tomatoes. Things were going good until i realized i was on top of everything, but frying up the polenta. Started the polenta and had to set everything else aside while it cooked. Luckily that was relatively quick.

Got everything back together. Cut up some White Sharp Cheddar Cheese, warmed some sliced rosemary-potato bread, a decent bottle of pinot noir, and voila ... dinner!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Saturday Late Lunch | Mushroom Quiche

I've been CRAVING mushrooms...and you really can't go wrong with quiche. I found this recipe and decided to give it a shot.
(The pic is from the website)

Mushrooms used:
1/4 lb ~ Lions Mane
1/4 lb ~ Large Shitake
1/2 lb ~ Brown Buttons

I didn't have any nutmeg, so we managed without. I bought a pack of two deep dish pie crusts, 9" each. I made the recipe over by about 15% to fill up both of the pie tins. Cut the guyere with about 2 oz's of smoked mozzarella. Definitely going to have to get more of that. Mmmm...

After the 30 minutes listed cooking time, they needed 1o more to truly brown and have the center well set. I left them a little undone for the re-heating to come over the week as they fill the void on the non-sit down to the table together nights.

These were great!!! da Man ate half a pie tin! Totally on the make again list. Yummy!!!

My Garden | Day 1: First Round Planting

Today i got out into the yard and picked up with the man left off with some light weeding. I thought about sunlight and all of the fantabulous plants i bought seeds for. This is totally going to be an awesome year as i start my first in ground garden!!!

Seeds purchased:
Green Onions (Planted 3/1)
Cilantro (Planted 3/1)
Sweet Basil (Planted 3/1)
Mixed Cucumbers/Squash
Yellow Onions

Here are before and after pictures of the first planting grounds.

Blocking out where:

The finished product!!!