Tag Archives: dairy

Fridge shopping

30 Sep

We didn’t end up cooking much this week for various reasons, so today I decided to meal plan based on what we have in the kitchen. I don’t know it’ll last the whole week, but I’m interested to find out. Here’s what we have:

-Whole pots of cooked black and white beans
-Three Armenian cucumbers
-A ton of regular cucumbers that need to be turned into pickles
-Summer squash
-Three Japanese eggplants
-A butternut squash
-Half a honeydew
-Half an avocado
-Garlic, onions and hot peppers
-A pound of potatoes
-One banana
-Fresh ginger
-Fresh sage, parsley, and basil
-Half a container of shiitake mushrooms
-Five corn tortillas
-Red and white wine
-Sourdough starter
-One slice of sourdough bread
-Coconut milk

-One can of tomatoes
-Chipotle peppers
-Uncooked barley and black rice
-Oils (olive, coconut, toasted sesame)
-Vinegars (balsamic and white)
-Baking stuff (flours, cocoa powder, baking powder and soda, etc)
-Nuts (cashew, pecans, and almonds)
-Basic condiments (Dijon, ketchup, barbecue sauce, salsa, soy sauce, spices, etc.)


I am thinking a Mexican-style scramble with home fries for brunch and a Veganomicon butternut/white bean dish for dinner. Tomorrow’s lunch will probably be black bean soup, and I’m thinking a barley/mushroom main for dinner. And maybe pizza later in the week? I’m not sure, but I’m excited to have the challenge!

And now back to the Jets/Niners game.


What I Ate Wednesday #2

26 Sep

Welcome to another What I Ate Wednesday! We’re covering Monday again.

And on with the show.

This week, I’ve been starting my day with polenta — what my husband lovingly calls gruel:

OK, not lovingly. He is totally grossed out by polenta. I, however, think it’s amazing. To the mush I added pepper and nutritional yeast, and then I topped it with sauteed summer squash, fresh basil, and crushed red pepper. I also had green tea on the side. It’s such a perfect breakfast, especially since the nut butter recall has my overnight oats on hold for right now. Monday was such a lovely morning with the light starting to dapple in later and later now:

The picture doesn’t really capture the tranquility, but believe me — it was a welcome start to the week.

Around 11:00, I had a banana and some coffee:

Then it was lunch time. It started off innocent enough with an open-faced avocado and barbecue tempeh sandwich with a side of kale salad (recipe tomorrow):

But it was a coworker’s birthday, so we had the requisite Doritos (x3):


A hazelnut Turkish delight (or rather, Turkish disgust — GROSS):

And hummus (x3):

At least I got this awesome ring:

I was so, so stuffed from pigging out that I barely had room for any dinner. I did manage to eat two tacos:

Lentils, cumin, salsa, cilantro, chopped pepper, shredded jalapeno-jack cheese, and lime juice on corn tortillas.

How do you navigate office birthday celebrations and the unhealthy food that accompanies them? I always give in out of politeness (and desire to eat Doritos). Our office only has six employees, so it’s not like birthdays are a weekly occurence. Still, I need to do better about moderation in the future.

What I Ate Wednesday

19 Sep

I decided to give this trend a go roughly 10 years late to the party. I’m like that with every trend. I ignore until it’s been around so long that it isn’t a trend any more, and then I’m ready to jump on board.

Apparently part of WIAW is writing a little about the month’s theme, and September’s is “fall into good habits.” Since August, my goal has been cooking with the veggies I receive in my CSA share each week and only eating out once per week. It’s going well, though there have been a few hiccups along the way, so recommitting to my plan is still on the list for September. My non-food goals include budgeting (ugh), getting out of the house more (kind of a conundrum when we’re also trying to spend less), and doing creative projects. Someday I’ll have to do a post about my clothing makeovers, if that would interest you.

And now, food. We are covering Monday here, and once again I started the week off with overnight oats:

It was about 1/2 cup of oats soaked in enough almond milk to cover overnight, plus vanilla and cinnamon. In the morning, I add peanut butter — currently obsessed with this one — and cut up banana. Not terribly exciting or photogenic, but I love it.

I was running around on my “lunch hour” (in quote marks because I’m salaried and, therefore, don’t really have a lunch hour — and it was also 2:00) doing errands, so I grabbed a bag of Pop Chips, which I forgot to photograph. They were the jalapeno flavor, my favorites.

Back at the office, I ate my quinoa salad:

I will share a recipe tomorrow. It turned out really good — basic, but tasty.

Towards the end of the day, one of my employees was putting out snacks for a training that evening. I couldn’t resist a handful of these ridiculous Flipsides Pretzel Crackers:

Then I made the long drive home to enjoy dinner with my insanely cute husband.

It was a simple meal of soup and bread, but it was made 1,000 times fancier by our . . . NEW TABLE! Here is the meal all plated (well, bowled) and displayed:

The table is not actually new, just new to us, and we can’t say THANK YOU enough to Chris and Jessica, our friends from Bakersfield, who gave the set to us. We feel like real grown-ups now.

Back to the meal. The soup was inspired by this stew, but I switched it up a lot by throwing together things in the pantry and the fridge. It ended up being a really nice taste of summer.

To make it, I added one can of fire-roasted tomatoes, half a chopped onion, four minced cloves of garlic, two chopped yellow squashes, half a container of chopped cremini mushrooms, leftover cooked garbanzo and black beans (maybe 3 cups total), the remnants of a bag of barley (probably 1/4 cup), three hot peppers, and spices (salt, pepper, thyme, and herbes de Provence) to the crock pot and put it in the fridge. We then cooked it on low for about eight hours the next day. When I got home, I stirred it, added about 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast and one bunch of chopped parsley, and then let it simmer while I reheated the focaccia in the oven:

We each had seconds on the soup (X another full bowl, me a half bowl). We also realized the pickles I mentioned two weeks ago were ready.

I had one bite since I’m not a pickle eater, but he ate several.

The verdict is that they are very good! We will try making them spicy next time, just for fun.

Dessert was the last of the watermelon (this x2):

That was my Monday in food. I will be back tomorrow with some recipes. Tonight I’m attempting to make a kale salad that will be filling enough, so we’ll see how it goes.

Piece de resistance . . . is futile

4 Sep

Friends, I interrupt my regularly scheduled post on what I ate over Labor Day weekend to bring you, instead, the greatest thing I’ve ever created in the kitchen. Excuse me, make that my tour de force, my magnum opus, my piece de resistance . . . is futile.

Yep, it’s a pizza.

But it’s not just a pizza. It’s a symphony featuring a homemade crust, homemade sauce, and a medley of veggies grown right here in the LA area.

I’ve become totally obsessed with my sourdough starter (mentioned here originally). With the plethora of veggies — especially squash — quite literally spilling out of my fridge (and trying to take out a shelf with them), I thought a pizza topped with some of them would be tasty, so I did some investigating on a sourdough crust. I found this one and thought it seemed doable on my Monday off. The only alterations I made to the recipe were using white whole wheat flour instead of unbleached white, and I used about a tablespoon of oregano instead of the “pizza dough flavor.” While kneading it in my mixer, I had to add more liquid (a little over a half cup total) and then a little bit more flour (not exactly sure the amount — a couple of tablespoons maybe) to get the right consistency. It depends on your starter, though, so start with the base recipe and then add what you need to make it smooth and a little sticky.

Then it rose for about three hours, though it was actually usable after about two. I should have taken a picture of it in the bowl, but I didn’t think of it at the time. It looked so happy and sweet. Then I spread it out onto a 12″x17″ cookie sheet with sides:

It rose again for about an hour while I prepped the rest of the ingredients. I sliced and salted the small-ish zucchini and large-ish Japanese eggplant and then threw together the Roasted Tomato Sauce:

I tweaked my original recipe by using a splash of balsamic vinegar in place of the wine, adding 2/3 a bunch of basil, and substituting two cherry peppers for the crushed red pepper.

Then, when the sauce was done, I let it simmer while I baked the crust. At the same time, I roasted the zucchini and eggplant on another cookie sheet, but I didn’t photograph them. I sliced the mushrooms, and my husband grated the cheese. Then, the kitchen filled with an intoxicating smell, and after eight minutes, the crust was lightly browned and ready:

So I topped it. I spread on the tomato sauce, layered on most of the cheese, evenly-ish distributed the zucchini and eggplant, covered everything in a thick blanket of mushrooms, sprinkled some finely chopped onion and garlic, and then finished with the rest of the cheese:

Into the oven she went for eight more magical minutes until what emerged was a perfect synthesis of spices and veggies and taste sensations in the form of a thick-crust pizza:

So then we sliced it:

And ate it by candlelight, with a little petite syrah.

“I’ll meet you any time you want / In our Italian restaurant”

I was not exaggerating above. I’ve never made any dish that filled me with such an amazing sense of accomplishment or joy. X told me it is the best thing I’ve ever made, and I’m inclined to agree.

There isn’t really an easy recipe to share for this meal, since it’s so all over the place and, with the homemade dough, quite time-consuming, but here’s the best I can do:

  • 1 recipe pizza dough (I used this one)
  • 1 recipe pizza sauce (I used this one)
  • Veggies for topping, prepared your favorite way (I included roasted zucchini and Japanese eggplant, fresh cremini mushrooms, garlic, and onion)
  • Shredded cheese (I used Monterey Jack)

Spread your pizza dough on a pizza pan or cookie sheet with sides. Pre-bake according to recipe instructions. Then layer on your toppings, starting with the sauce, then the cheese, then the veggies, and ending with a little more cheese. Bake according to the recipe, but the general rule is until everything is warm and the cheese is bubbly.

Another thing to love about my pizza: it featured five goodies from my CSA box. The zucchini, Japanese eggplant, basil, cherry tomatoes, and onion were either in this week’s or last week’s order. So we’re talking a fresh, local, homemade, and delicious meal triumph that put my happily to bed Monday night and allowed me to awaken refreshed and ready to run (literally) at 6:15 this morning. That, my friends, is a triumph.

What’s your favorite pizza topping? In addition to the above, I adore artichoke hearts and will probably include them the next time we make pizza, since this crust recipe is thick enough to stand up to heavy ingredients.

Lunch black hole

10 Aug

One of my favorite things about living in LA is the food truck scene. Food trucks are hardly novel at this point, but man, does my city have some incredibly delicious ones. I’m fortunate to work two blocks from the LA headquarters of a major advertising agency, and they pretty much have mobile lunch options five days a week. It’s awesome, especially considering that the rest of my work area is a food black hole, especially on days when my husband has the car.

This week, a new one rolled onto the lot — so new that I can’t even find a website for it. It was called Hang 10 Tacos, and they had a menu full of street tacos. I decided to go with the taco salad, since it sounded like a whole lot of perfection. For $8.50, I got this beast:

Before you is lettuce topped with black beans, guacamole, roasted corn, pico de gallo, their schmancy potato concoction, and tortilla strips all tossed in a creamy dill sauce. I added a few drops of Cholula on top. This was incredibly delicious, and I ate every single bite. I loved it so much that I’m recreating it for dinner next week.

We also have a sweet old man who comes into the office at exactly noon every day with a cooler full of standard lunch fair (salads, soups, sandwiches, etc.) made by a catering company. I don’t usually buy anything from him, but I had $9 to my name and no car on Tuesday, so I went to see what he had. For only $6, I got this Korean noodle dish:

It was glass noodles with cabbage, carrots, bok choy, tofu and “Korean spices” (I definitely detected sesame oil and probably soy sauce, but I’m not sure what else). It was surprisingly good and filling. Thank you, Rainbow Man!

What kind of lunch options exist around your workplace?

Vegging out at Lolla 2012

8 Aug

This year was my second trip to Lollapalooza with my husband (who was then my boyfriend) and his brother. It was a great trip on many levels, in part because I accepted the job that brought us to LA (over the phone, at a gas station somewhere in Kansas, probably). Here’s my recap of last year’s experience.

Here was my musical experience in 2012:

Loved: Trampled By Turtles (times two! Saw them at the festival and at the Double Door), Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, First Aid Kit, Florence + the Machine, Of Monsters and Men, The Shins, M83, Tallest Man on Earth, Red Hot Chili Peppers

Liked and/or Suspect I Would Have Loved If I’d Heard More of Them: Neon Indian, Sigur Ros, Black Keys, Washed Out, Toro Y Moi

Meh: Tame Impala, Jack White (please don’t kill me), White Panda

Sadly Missed Due to Weather or Schedule Conflict: Alabama Shakes, Santigold, Bombay Bicycle Club, Polica, The Devil Makes Three, Twin Shadow, Kaskade

And now, onto the food. I didn’t capture every bite, but here are some highlights:

This falafel wrap from Goose Island Brewpub was HANDS DOWN the best thing I ate at the festival. It had falafel, cabbage, cucumbers, tzatziki, shredded carrots, cucumber, and some kind of hot sauce on a pita. It was mouth-watering. I had it twice but could have easily eaten three times that many.

A close runner-up for most delicious was this mouth-watering dish of cold sesame noodles (which I covered in sri racha) from Rock ‘n Roll Noodle Company. So, so flippin’ good.

On the dessert front, I thoroughly enjoyed this little gem from Puffs of Doom. It was a raspberry lemonade cream puff. Very refreshing.

And then there was this monster of a sundae from Windsor Ice Cream Shoppe. It was the Lolla Sundae: ice cream and brownies topped with hot fudge, whipped cream, and a cherry in a waffle bowl. Insane! And I ate every bite.

Above is a bonus meal, Monday’s lunch from Oysy Sushi on Michigan Ave, minus the miso soup. I went with the vegetarian lunch special, and it was MASSIVE! I couldn’t eat most of it.

That’s my trip in a culinary nutshell. I am now back to the daily grind and, hopefully soon, I’ll even make it to the grocery store.

Recent eats

7 Mar

I’ve definitely gotten behind on food posting, darn it, so prepare for a brain dump.


The day before my wedding, Mom and I went to the downtown flower market (you must do this if you live in LA!) to, well, get flowers for my wedding. I did a ton of reading on Yelp about the best way to approach it, and several different commenters said you must go to Urth Caffe after. So we did:

They are famous for the above-pictured Spanish lattes (cringe at Anglicized pluralizing of an Italian word), so I ordered one dolce-style (less strong, since at the time I was trying to cut back on caffeine). It was incredibly delicious! It’s made with milk and sugar, so it’s decadent, but if you’re a coffee lover looking for a treat, order one!

I was in the mood for something light (e.g. not a massive omelette), so I ordered the Urth Breakfast:

It is “A butter croissant with the choice of Brie, Jarlsberg, Feta or Gouda, butter & jam.” I chose gouda and blackberry jam, and didn’t use any of the butter. My mom apparently panicked and ordered the same thing, plus a “side” of fruit:

Massive and glorious! This breakfast was absolutely perfect on a temperate morning after wheeling and dealing over flowers. (Did I mention that I got enough fiori for my bouquet and another huge arrangement for $20? Pictures to come in another post.) The croissant was flaky and decadent, and the cheese and jam were just perfect together. I will definitely be back!

Another recent restaurant meal was at my fave, Native Foods. I decided to try something new and went with the Rockin’ Moroccan Bowl:

“Your choice of tofu or Native Chicken marinated in our homemade Moroccan sauce with grilled veggies and quinoa. Topped with currants and toasted almonds.” I chose the faux chicken. It came with an accidentally free side of schweet pertater fries plus the watermelon agua fresca I ordered. This dish was delicious, and the mister even declared it his new fave. It’s pretty massive, which is what he demands in food.

Homemade meals

Not too long ago, I made a quick loaf of bread based on a recipe from Vegan on the Cheap:

It was tasty and bready and super easy. I then ate it for breakfast topped with flavorful Dijon mustard and half of a small avocado:

LOVE THIS. Could eat it every day, no lie. In fact, I probably will eat it every day next week. Holla!

I also made a bean/grain loaf:

I kept meaning to share the recipe, but so much time has passed that I can’t remember the proportions. Isn’t that sad? Truth be told, while it was tasty, it is also lacking in the cohesive department, so I should really do another trial run first anyway. It contains chickpeas, lentils, and quinoa, and I liked it best topped with barbecue sauce.

Training food

I went to another training last week that had an incredible lunch spread:

This Mexican-inspired meal was catered by Homegirl Cafe (read about them — they’re pretty amazing) and was totally vegan! There was also a chicken option, but otherwise, there was nary a dairy nor meat in sight. What you see is their House Salad (“Spring mix, jicama, apple, roasted pumpkin seeds.  Citrus vinaigrette.”), black beans, green rice, and Potato & Grilled Tofu taco innards (three little corn tortillas are in the foil up top) with pico de gallo. SO FREAKING GOOD. I am now dying to visit the actual cafe.

Packaged food

I have been having a love affair with Pop Chips lately. I could eat them every day, though I don’t. They are not a health food, since no chip is, but as things go, they are certainly less bad.

And they’re cute. I usually jam to the jalapeno ones, but I recently tried (because I only recently found) the salt and vinegar variety:

I love these! I would be hard pressed to pick a fave between the two, so it’s great to have a variety.

And lastly, Trader Joe’s recently brought back Cookie Butter, so I had to jump on the blogger bandwagon and get in on the action:

Atop some TJ’s crackers. Speaking of crackers, this stuff is like crack. I keep it at work for snacking, tucked in a drawer so I only remember it’s there occasionally.

So that’s a smattering of my recent eats. I am leaving for my honeymoon tomorrow in wine country and hope to do at least a quick photo post over the weekend. If not, I certainly hope you’ll understand that I’m otherwise occupied. 😉