Tag Archives: holiday

Another New Year post

2 Jan

Greetings from 2013! Sorry to disappear for a while, but I had a nice, long winter vacation and stayed away from technology for the most part. I’m excited to kick off a brand spankin’ new year, though, and to return to food blogging. So let’s get the party started with some tasty food from January 1.

My mom was in town for over a week, and it was wonderful to spend the holidays with my two favorite people. She very thoughtfully brought kitchen gifts, including these adorable single-serving ramekins. I broke them in (weird choice of words considering they are glass) with a crust-less quiche:

Quiche in a ramekin

I used this recipe as a base and made the following modifications:

  • Reduced the whole thing to half since it was only serving the two of us
  • Instead of broccoli, I stirred in a tablespoon of cilantro pesto and three tablespoons of salsa fresca
  • Omitted the thyme and nutmeg
  • Used unsweetened coconut milk instead of regular milk

On a tiny plate

It looks like a lot of changes, but I followed the basic measurements and cooking instructions. The result was really tasty and easy — like, super duper easy. It would have been a great breakfast accompanied by toast or potatoes and fruit. However, I didn’t want to fill us up too much, though, because we had lucky noodles on the menu for lunch.

NoodlesThis was also incredibly easy.

  • Cook udon noodles.
  • Saute onion, garlic, and ginger in olive oil. Add coarsely chopped oyster mushrooms. Deglaze with soy sauce. Add noodles and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil.
  • Plate and top with sesame seeds, crushed red pepper, and Asian hot sauce.

Perfection! Mr. X told me to make twice as much next time because he loved it so much. While he isn’t the most finicky eater on the planet by a long shot, he still does have his favorites. Mushroom stir fry of any kind often makes the list.

We finished off the night with more luck in the form of black-eyed peas. I followed the recipe I posted exactly two years ago. I forgot to take a photo of last night’s dinner, so here are the legumes as part of today’s lunch:

Black-eyed peasI used fresh oregano instead of dried and had to omit the thyme (apparently we ran out and I forgot to get more). Last night, we served them with a big bunch of sauteed Swiss chard, and they were every bit as delicious as I remembered.

Are you superstitious about New Year’s luck? I’m not superstitious in the slightest, but I love cultural traditions, so eating “lucky” foods yesterday was a lot of fun.

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Thanksgiving aftermath

26 Nov

Hello, everyone! I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday — or, if you’re not American, a lovely weekend. I decided to take a break from blogging, too, so I could enjoy family time with Mr. X and his brother. It was such a great visit. And today, it’s back to life and food made without whole sticks of butter.

But before that, I thought I should still share our Thanksgiving spread. Here’s all of it, including the smoked turkey the boys bought for themselves:

And here’s my (first) plate:

Two slices of Cheesy Cornbread Casserole (recipe to come this week), Lemony Brussels Sprouts, Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, homemade sourdough rolls, and roasted corn. I also made a pecan pie, which was so pretty:

I admittedly do not like pecan pie, so I thought the result was only ok, but Mr. X really liked it. I followed this recipe (the sugar method, not maple syrup), which was surprisingly easy. I made the crust from scratch, too, and it was the worst. I mean, flavor-wise it was fine, but I will never, ever, ever make an all-butter (as opposed to half-butter, half-shortening) crust again. It melted WAY too fast, so it was a nightmare to work with. I won’t link to the specific one I followed out of propriety, but I’ve made a decent number of pie crusts in my life, and just take my advice and ALWAYS use shortening. (I like the Earth Balance brand.)

As for the other dishes, everything turned out delicious, so I wanted to share some easy recipes with you. They were great at Thanksgiving, but there’s no reason not to eat them year-round!

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes (for a group!)

  • 1/2 head of garlic
  • 5 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and halved or quartered
  • 2 tablespoons butter (vegan butter works, too)
  • ~1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Take half a head of garlic and cut off the stem end, just enough to reveal the cloves inside. Wrap in aluminum foil and bake until the garlic is soft to the touch, about 30 minutes. Set aside. You can do this step the night before or right before.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the potatoes and cook until they are fork tender. I like mine fairly soft. The cooking time really varies based on how big your potatoes are, but I think mine took 15 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in the base of your mixer or a large bowl. Add the butter and begin mixing/mashing. I used my KitchenAid, and the result was deliciously fluffy and lump-free potatoes. After a minute or two, start adding your roasted garlic by just squeezing it from the skins. Taste after each additions to reach your desired level of spice. Add small amounts of the veggie broth as you go, too, to add a little flavor and fluffiness. Finally, season with salt and pepper, give a final mix/mash, and then serve.

Makes a ton — maybe 8-10 servings. They don’t even need gravy.

The potatoes were my favorite part of the meal. I will never make mashed potatoes without my KitchenAid ever again. They just had the perfect texture.

And here’s another tasty vegetable recipe for you:

Lemony Brussels Sprouts
(based on a dish from Boon in Guerneville, which we had on our honeymoon)

  • 1 pound (or stalk from Trader Joe’s) Brussels sprouts, cleaned and dried
  • Good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 5 capers
  • Black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350° F. Toss your Brussels sprouts with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. Pour them into an even layer on a baking sheet and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to brown them evenly. They are ready when a fork pierces them easily and they are deliciously browned all over. Remove from oven. Now pour a little more olive oil into a frying pan and set it over medium to medium-high heat. When the oil is ready, add the Brussels sprouts, half the lemon juice, and the capers. Stir around and mash the capers as you pan-fry. Once the juice is absorbed, add the rest along with some black pepper. Cook for a couple more minutes until the oil and juice are absorbed. Serve hot and delicious.

Makes 4 small servings or 2 more substantial ones.

These were a big hit, and they are almost as good as the ones I remember from wine country.

So there you go. Like everyone else in this country, today begins a return to healthier foods. Here’s our tentative meal plan for the week:

Breakfast:

Lunches:

  • Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday — Leftover Cheesy Cornbread Casserole and carrot sticks
  • Thursday/Friday — Leftovers?/TBD
  • Saturday — Veggie wraps

Dinners:

  • Monday/TuesdayChili (which is almost fat-free) and sauteed Swiss chard
  • Wednesday/Thursday — Giant salad with roasted veggies and tempeh
  • Friday — Veggie wraps
  • Saturday — Possibly dinner out, since I may drag Mr. X to look at Christmas lights

Obviously we’re not talking about a detox here — just a return to the kind of cooking I usually do, with lots of veggies. Today I’m attempting to regain balance in my body by drinking tons of water, and it’s already helping. My poor system has been on salt-and-fat overload!

Updated Thanksgiving menu

21 Nov

I decided to change up my menu a bit for tomorrow’s big meal, so here is what I’m planning to make:

Sourdough rolls

Sauteed Swiss chard (depending on how stressed I am tomorrow)

Cranberry sauce

Cornbread casserole

Garlic mashed potatoes

Roasted Brussels sprouts

Pecan pie

Oh, and my brother-in-law bought a pre-cooked turkey, which the boys will be in charge of entirely. The rest means I have prep work to do.

  • Tonight: Mix sourdough starter with other ingredients to let it rise overnight; bake the pie; roast the garlic; make cranberry sauce; make the cornbread casserole.
  • Tomorrow morning: Second rise of dough; boil, mash, and generally prepare the potatoes; roast the Brussels sprouts.
  • Just before serving: Bake the rolls; pan fry the sprouts; reheat the cornbread; saute the Swiss chard.

It’s actually less daunting to type it out that way. I could do a lot of stuff tomorrow instead of tonight, but I really don’t want to be stressed/bitchy on Thanksgiving.

And just so this post isn’t entirely self-serving, here are a few recent meals:

Another beet salad! This one was my favorite, though. I roasted the beets longer so they browned a little. I also steamed and then marinated a block of tempeh in a mixture of soy sauce, olive oil, liquid smoke, garlic, chili powder, pepper sauce, black pepper, and brown sugar — no measurements as I just dumped everything in a bowl. Then I sauteed some spring onions in olive oil and added the tempeh and beet greens. After a couple of minutes, it was nicely wilted/sauteed, and into a bowl with the beets it went. The salad was served atop salad greens and drizzled with a little lime juice/Dijon combo. So, so good!

Here you are beholding Spabettie’s Baby Portobello Strogranoff, served atop barley instead of quinoa. On the side is simple roasted cauliflower. I didn’t add wine to the recipe (just because we didn’t have any — I used more broth instead) but wish I had. The recipe was still delicious, but I imagine it would have been even better with a little cab sauv in the background.

And finally, more of the Butternut Squash Mac n’ Cheeze. I added broccoli and mushrooms this time, plus more garlic, and I liked it quite a bit. We were out of Dijon (see salad above), and I missed the flavor, so don’t skip it either! The swirly twirly pasta was fun, too. I rarely buy anything but spaghetti or occasionally penne, but I really enjoyed the variety.

I hope everyone is preparing for a joyful holiday. Enjoy the food, but join me in trying (so, so hard) to embrace the truly happy meaning behind Thanksgiving. Lots of love from my kitchen to yours!

CSA Week 11 and Thanksgiving

18 Nov

Oy. I’ve been stressed and down lately, which is the reason I’ve been quiet. Sometimes life is just hard, and I’m doing my best to deal, but it does make me less motivated to post. My apologies. You didn’t miss too much this week, though, as I barely cooked. That’s always a sure sign that I’m a little down in the dumps.

But today starts a new week — and a short holiday one at that. Yay! My brother-in-law is coming to town on Wednesday, so I’m not doing my usual meal planning. I did pick up our CSA box today, though:

20121118-120116.jpg

We have:

20121118-120149.jpg
-romaine
-Swiss chard
-arugula
-bok choy
-white spring onions
-parsley
-cauliflower
-broccoli
-curly kale
-Fuji apples

I’ve been brainstorming what to make for Thanksgiving, and here’s my menu so far:

Sweet potato sourdough rolls
Salad
Cranberry sauce
Shepherd’s pie (with lentils and butternut topping)
Garlic mashed potatoes
Green beans
Pecan pie

It’s all still subject to change — and there’s always a chance I will say “screw it” and buy something. Only the stress of the week will tell.

That’s all for now. I hope everyone has a pleasant Sunday!

Check out this week’s link-up at In Her Chucks’ “What’s in the Box?” series!

The smallest one was . . .

31 Oct

Happy Halloween — or should I say, Joyeux Halloween, for je suis Madeline:

I figured since my hair is the right shade (though hard to tell in the iPhone photo), I couldn’t go wrong with one of my favorite storybook characters. I threw the main part of the costume together at home (not pictured: white socks and Mary Janes) and then made the hat and assembled the cape at work. Oh the joys of working for an arts organization. Madeline is the third kiddie fiction character I’ve portrayed on Halloween, having been both Dorothy and Alice numerous times. Some ladies embrace the cleavage and high heels on Halloween; I’ve always enjoyed flats and dressing up like a 7-year-old.

Today is also the last day of Vegan Mofo. I’ve had a lot of fun this year, and I hope you have, too! I’m excited that Kale Crusaders featured my Garbanzo Barbecue Sliders today, along with some tasty-looking recipes by other bloggers. Read the post here. Thanks so much!

I’m taking it sleazy easy with today’s post, I would love to hear what you chose for your Halloween costume this year. Leave it in the comments.

So “That’s all there is; there isn’t any more.” Au revoir!

Home.

3 Jan

Hey friends, and Happy 2012! I have emerged from a long holiday break (bless our board for giving us a vacation from December 24 through yesterday!) refreshed, renewed, and ready to tackle the brand new year.

I promise none of that is sarcasm. I know I’ve not exactly been Miss Suzy Sunshinepants lately, but I’m feeling more like me these days. And I’m grateful — damn grateful.

So what did I do with all that time off? Mr. X and I spent four nights in Laguna Beach with my mom, celebrating Christmas in the most un-Okie of fashions — namely, on the beach.

The weather was perfect. We woke up Christmas morning, opened presents, had breakfast, and then spent about four hours on the beach until the sun set, like this:

Effing seriously. Christmas Laguna-style: we have a winner.

After sunning and funning for a few days, we drove to Tulsa in one straight shot and, as a result, spent two days in our hometown as zombies. We played trivia one night, and I allowed this picture not only to be taken, but also to be posted on Facebook:

HOT. With a moving truck full of the rest of our belongings, we then headed back home — yes, home. It was nice to be back in Tulsa for a couple of days and to hug friends and family, but in only a very short period of time, our white-walled Hollywood apartment has become our true home. And now it’s our true home full of boxes begging to be unpacked and a sectional that is somehow missing a cushion. More on our casa to come soon.

Happy 2011! and playing catch-up/ketchup

1 Jan

Wow. I’ve been a naughty blogger, and for that, I’m very sorry. I have to confess that the holidays bring me down. All I feel is the stress instead of the joy. Couple that with my five-nights-a-week rehearsal schedule, and I haven’t posted in forever. Please accept my apologies.

But it shall not continue. No. I am back in the saddle, on the wagon, or some other kind of western imagery. For starters, here’s how I welcomed the brand-spankin-new year to my life:

Ezekiel 7-Sprouted Grains English Muffin topped with Smucker’s Creamy Natural Peanut Butter and a mug of the delectable Celestial Seasonings Nutcracker Sweet Tea. It’s almost the perfect breakfast.

How is Sully celebrating the New Year? She’s checking out the musical selection.

Yeah, rather non-plussed, eh? I think she prefers easy listening.

If you’d like to feel better about my lack of posting lately, here are a few random meals I photographed and then never shared…until now.

Last night

Leftovers from a Thursday-night dinner at the Brook. I ate an entire basket of friend mushrooms by myself, so I didn’t really make it to my entree. That’s the Fiesta Burger, steamed broccoli topped with black pepper and nooch, and spicy ketchup (just corn-syrup-free ketchup mixed with Chipotle Tabasco and sri racha).

Several times this week

Micro-baked sweet potato topped with On-the-Fly Peanut Sauce Version II (minus garlic) and wilted arugula on the side. The arugula has just been cleaned and then wilted in a pan drizzled with a smidgeon of olive oil over medium heat for about one minute. Then I squeeze lemon on top.

Also this past week

Baked acorn squash topped with Chipotle Tabasco and nooch, more wilted arugula, and a Mexican Coke.

Oh yes, Christmas day. Vegetarian but decidedly not vegan.

I made the buttermilk biscuits, and he made the vegetarian gravy. The sausage is Morningstar. This meal is our Christmas tradition. I need to experiment with vegan gravy recipes to see if we find a good one for next year.

Christmas Eve with my mom’s family

The spread part I:

Various dips, dippers, breads, condiments, and veggies.

The spread part II:

Meaty and cheesy things.

Most of the food came from Lambrusco’z, and it was delicious. I did make cookies, however, a recipe I shall share in its own post.

Christmas Eve with my dad’s family

I only photographed my own plate, but here it is:

Vegan Swedish meatballs, a baked potato (plain), and a salad with Italian dressing. I was pretty stuffed after the other meal that day.

And from the way-back machine…

My dinner on December 11:

Whole-wheat spaghetti with roasted broccoli and my On-the-Fly Peanut Sauce Version II. ‘Twas glorious. If you’ve never roasted broccoli, I highly recommend it. I just spray the pan with a little oil and place clean, well-dried broccoli on it in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until it browns. Heavenly!

So there’s a little taste of my December eats. I promise January will be more fruitful!

(Oh the puns, but I know that’s why you love me.)