Tag Archives: recipes

Random weekend shots

18 Sep

A lot of other bloggers do photo posts of their weekends, which is something I’ve never really gotten into. For one, I don’t take nearly as many pictures as they do, and — frankly — I don’t do a whole lot. That whole being broke-ish thing keeps us spending as little as possible most of the time. I do have a few random shots from the last few days that I wanted to share, though.

I attended a forum on Thursday that included a free lunch (yay!). They were boxed meals from Quiznos, including a sandwich, an apple, and a bag of chips. Apparently someone managed to design, get approval for, and print thousands of lunch boxes with this glaring typo:

Or maybe I’m being too harsh. Perhaps Quiznos is very philosophical about their food. “Who IS lunch?” It almost seems pro-vegetarian. Almost.

On Friday, I was driving home from Girls on the Run recruitment and saw this not-at-all-ominous cloud of smoke in the distance:

Fun California fact: Shit catches on fire here and stays on fire. This particular blaze was about 10 miles from my apartment, just east of the 405 near the Getty. Yikes.

On Saturday, we decided to beat the heat — 100° outside with no breeze = at least 10 billion° F inside my apartment — by heading to Venice Beach. It was significantly more bearable out there in the direct sun and surf than at home, so this was a big win. Mr. X didn’t want to be in my photo, so here was our view for the burning-our-pasty-skin portion of the afternoon:

The crowds were the perfect size. They were never overwhelming, and I liked being around a decent number of people. We spent a lot of time in the water, which was lots of fun. To the Pacific we sacrificed two pairs of sunglasses, a headband, a hair tie, and three bobby pins. It was worth it, though, even when we got knocked down by waves so hard that we scraped our backs on the rough bottom.

On Sunday, I picked up our CSA share and bought a dozen eggs from the market while I was there. At home, I made us a nice little brunch of Sourdough Pancakes and fried eggs:

I should have photographed X’s plate, since I gave him the prettier (and larger) serving, but by the time I plated mine, he had inhaled his. I used this recipe for the pancakes, but made the following tweaks:

  • Halved the recipe to serve two
  • Used a whole egg, so I reduced the oil by half again (so 1 egg and 1 tablespoon olive oil)
  • Cooked everything in my non-stick pan sprayed with a little oil. The recipe made seven pancakes that were about 1/4 cup of batter each.

For the spices, I dumped in a hefty amount of cinnamon (maybe 1/4 to a 1/2 teaspoon), 1 1/2 teaspoons cocoa powder, and a dash of cayenne to make a Mayan chocolate-inspired dish. We topped them with some Kerrygold butter I found lurking in the fridge.

As you can see, my plate looks mangled. I took the first pan of the ‘cakes, which I did a poor job of flipping. I noted it took about a  minute and a half for the first side to cook and then another minute on the other, so the subsequent four pancakes looked much prettier. The eggs also look crazy because they were room temperature, so the whites spread A LOT in the hot pan. They still tasted great!

That’s a glimpse into my weekend. The beach — and seeing our great friends from Bakersfield, who I will mention again tomorrow — was definitely the highlight, especially since the heat was RELENTLESS until Sunday evening. I know I have talked a lot of crap on Angelenos who can’t handle the extreme temperatures, but 100° feels a lot different, even if it’s not humid, in an apartment without air-conditioning than it does in a home with central heat and air. I’m grateful to see highs in the 80s this week!


Garlicky dinner

4 Nov

It’s no secret that I love garlic. I smell like it a lot. For that, I’m sorry, but I have no regrets.

Tonight’s dinner starred the pungent, wonderful stuff:

Whole wheat linguine aglio e olio style, which is with garlic and olive oil. And crushed red pepper. My lungs can tell you all about that as it hit the hot oil. I put a pinch of nooch on mine, too. We also had lovely salads tossed with chopped parsley and featuring a homemade, garlic-love-fest dressing.

Lemon and Garlic Dressing

(Adapted from the Joy of Cooking)

  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed or pressed
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 olive oil

Mash or stir garlic with a pinch of salt and set aside. In a lidded container, add the other pinch of salt, pepper, lemon juice, and mustard. Add garlic paste. Put on the lid and shake to combine. Drizzle in olive oil, put the lid back on, and shake it some more. Store in the fridge or use immediately. Makes about 1 cup.

Dinner of Keptlovinglyforlaters

22 Oct

I basically had a plate of leftovers for dinner, but to call them just that doesn’t seem fair. The term “leftover” sounds like yesterday’s discards. These, instead, were keptlovinglyforlaters. Behold the deliciousness:

Drool. In the middle is vegan potato soup. Above it is red quinoa salad with cranberries, pecans, mushrooms, and summer squash. And then we have two slices of rye bread topped with spicy pumpkin dip and paprika. More drool.

I can only take credit for the pumpkin dip; all the rest was made — including the bread — by a cook extraordinaire in my book group. We were each sent home with a plate of goodies. Mine made a perfect dinner tonight.

The dip is basically hummus plus pumpkin. I followed this recipe with a couple of alterations: I doubled (OK, tripled) the garlic, added a couple of dashes of both ground ginger and chili powder, and I topped it with paprika. It’s tasty, but I wouldn’t sell my mama for it. (Hi, Mom!)

And in case you’re curious, our book discussion was on A Reliable Wife. My review is here.

And now I must return to the task at hand:

I wonder if I can wait an hour until they’ve firmed up . . .

Falling for Autumn

20 Oct

Fall is definitely here, as today’s rainy weather proudly attests. Nevermind that tomorrow will be in the 80s again. Today it is damp and cool and perfect for warm, soothing eats. Feast your eyes on my Tuesday in food.

The day started off with a bowl of warm steel-cut oats:

Topped with cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and maple syrup. About five minutes later, I decided to eat a banana:

This combination is pretty much my favorite breakfast. For steel-cut-oat newbies, it cooks the same way as regular oats except that you measure out a ¼ cup per person instead of half, and they take a lot longer to cook. They are incredibly hearty and satisfying, though, so I think they’re worth the extra effort.

I came to work and brewed my morning tea. Today I chose Irish Breakfast and went with one tea bag (and half the water) instead of two:

I always drizzle in my local, raw honey for my allergy relief. And yes, it really was that dark in my office. That’s what happens when three of your four lightbulbs are out.

I didn’t even consider the weather when I made up my lunch soup this week, but I could not have picked a more perfectly, satisfying food:

Soup and salad. The latter is just half a container of organic spinach (2.5 cups or so) topped with Newman’s Own Lighten Up Low Fat Sesame Ginger Dressing and black pepper. I really, really need to stop being lazy and start making my own dressings again. The soup is incredible, seriously. It is warming and very thick and has an amazing roasted flavor. It is based largely on the Tomato-Rice Soup with Roasted Garlic and Navy Beans from Veganomicon, but I made enough changes that I feel comfortable posting the recipe for my version.

Roasty Toasty Tomato Rice Soup


  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 ½ teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced finely or minced
  • ½ cup long-grain brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon ground thyme
  • Heavy sprinkling of herbes de Provence
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 28-oz can fire-roasted tomatoes, diced or crushed
  • 1 15-oz can navy beans, rinsed and drained
  • Black pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Wrap one head of garlic tightly in foil. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes. When it’s done, let it cool.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large pot over medium heat. When hot, sautee onion in olive oil until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add rice and spices to the pot and stir for a minute or two. Then add the tomatoes with juice. Fill the empty can with water and add it, too.
  4. Once the mixture comes to a boil (you can turn up the heat to medium-high if necessary to boil), cover and reduce the heat to low. Let soup simmer for 30-45 minutes (long enough for the rice to reach the desired texture).
  5. Meanwhile, squeeze the roasted garlic from the head into a bowl, and mash it with a fork. Add to the soup when the rice is almost done.
  6. When the rice is thoroughly cooked, add the navy beans and pepper to taste. Continue cooking just long enough to heat through, remove the bay leaf, and then eat.
  7. Serves 4.


  • My recipe is different from the original in a few key ways: 1. I insist that you use fire-roasted tomatoes (I went with the Muir Glen brand). The flavor is incredibly delicious. You could use regular, but I don’t think it’ll be as good. Because I have texture problems involving tomatoes, I think I’ll puree mine next time, but don’t bother if you aren’t a weirdo like me. 2. My version serves four as an entrée (instead of 10-12), which is a much more manageable amount of soup for me. 3. I used more navy beans. Why not? And 4. I wasn’t sure if we had marjoram, as called for, and didn’t feel like digging through the pantry thoroughly, so I added an extra dash or two of thyme and then several sprinklings of herbes de Provence. If you don’t have the latter, leave it out. If you have marjoram, add ½ teaspoon.
  • Also, I feel I must confess that I neither diced nor minced my onion. I put it in the blender. I’m not proud, and it wasn’t the best solution, but I didn’t feel like crying or cleaning the food processor. There, now you know what a lazy cook I can be.
  • The book says to sub in three cloves of sautéed garlic if you don’t feel like roasting a head. However, roasting garlic is easier than sautéing it, so I highly recommend the recipe as written. It takes more time, but it’s completely inactive.

Anyway, that’s enough about lunch. I took my afternoon tea as per usual:

Organic Queen Bee Balance Tea (from Allegro – it contains raspberry leaf, rose petals, alfalfa, spearmint, chaste tree berry, dandelion leaf, cranberry spice, and vanilla and it’s nice for a lady’s most special time of the month) without honey since it tastes disgusting in this particular brew and a genuinely massive honeycrisp apple.

I came home to begin prepping dinner. Meanwhile, I had another PBOD. What’s my vehicle of choice?


Then my taller half and I took our evening stroll (we’re keeping this up even post-vacation) and finished making dinner after our return.

On my very orange plate: baked sweet potato topped with a tiny drizzle of olive oil, cayenne, black pepper, Chipotle Tabasco sauce, and ginger and half a roasted kabocha squash topped with another teeny drizz of olive oil, nutritional yeast and black pepper.For comparison, here is my love’s plate:

Same veggies plus broccoli, which I couldn’t eat because of all the peanut butter. His sweet potato had butter, cinnamon and sugar; his squash had butter, oregano, pepper, and herbes de Provence; and his broccoli had lemon juice and walnuts.

There was no room for dessert in my very full belly.

Meatless Monday Meal Ideas #3

10 Oct

The farmers market may be over here, but I’ve still seen some beautiful summer squash floating around the grocery stores. If you, like me, are not ready to let go of this warm-weather staple, then hold on one last time with this delicious, fall-ready dish. I served it with purple hull peas from the farmers market, but it would be equally delicious with any fresh or cooked legume. I recommend black-eyed peas or pinto beans.

I originally shared this squash recipe at Tasha Does Tulsa, but I thought it would make a great Meatless Monday post, so I beefed quinoa-ed it up with some more photos.

Stuffed Patty Pan Squash

2 patty pan squashes, scrubbed
1 cup of quinoa, rinsed
¼ cup of low-sodium vegetable broth (or more or less to taste)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 massive clove of elephant garlic, minced or pressed (or 1-2 cloves of regular garlic)
1 jalapeno (or other pepper), minced
1 medium tomato, chopped
Nutritional yeast to taste

1. First thing is, of course, to prepare your ingredients (chop, dice, etc.). It will save you a lot of scrambling. Also, marvel at the massiveness of your elephant garlic cloves.

Then preheat that oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Bring one inch of water to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add squash however they will fit, cover, and cook for 10 minutes, or until a fork can pierce the tasty thing with little resistance.

Remove the top (I cut a circle and scooped). Use a melon baller or spoon to scoop out the innards of the squash very carefully. Chop or mash the innards and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, fill a small or medium saucepan with the rinsed quinoa and water in a two-to-one ratio. If you cook an entire cup of quinoa, you will have lots of leftovers, but that’s the way I like it. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. You can also do this in advance.

4. Heat some vegetable broth in a sauté pan and add the onion, cooking until translucent. Add in the garlic and jalapeno and cook for another minute. Add the squash innards for two minutes, until softened. Add the tomato and between ½ and a whole cup of the cooked quinoa and cook until everything is heated through. Pour in extra vegetable broth a little at a time if the pan gets too dry.

5. Scoop the quinoa-squash mixture into the patty pan shells as full as you’d like. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and sprinkle nutritional yeast on top. Place the squash on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until squash are heated through.

6. Enjoy!

Serves 2.

This is a tasty, deceptively easy meal. You can adapt this for different kinds of squash – acorn would be a good choice. But please, don’t tell me summer is over yet. Let it linger a little longer.

These foods are all heart-healthy and help protect against cancer. They also taste so delicious that I would slap my momma if she lived closer and wouldn’t slap me back.

Apple Pecan Muffins

8 Oct

Happy Friday! It’s almost the weekend for most folks, and it’s never too early to start thinking about weekend baking! I encourage you to make Saturday morning special by whipping up a batch of these tasty, almost-healthy muffins for your muffin. (And yes, you can be your own muffin.) (Has this post crossed a line already? Oops.)

First off, you’ll need to preheat the oven to 350 and grease a muffin pan. You can also line the pan with those little paper things, but I kind of hate them for no good reason. Then you’ll need to peel and chop 1.5 cups of fresh apple. This ended up being one large-ish apple for me, but the yield will depend on the kind you use. If you don’t have pre-chopped pecans, chop ‘em up yourself, anywhere from 1/2 to 1 cup. Set all that aside.

Now, in a large bowl, combine 1.5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

In a smaller bowl, beat 1 tablespoon of Ener-G egg replacer with 4 tablespoons of water.

Once that’s all combined and fluffy, add in 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce, 1/3 cup canola oil, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

Now beat it, just beat it . . .until it’s smooth and creamy. Then add it into the flour mixture.

This is very important. Now you will take a gigantic spoon and stir just until the two are combined. It might be a little lumpy, but that’s OK. You never want to beat muffin batter into submission. The end result will be dense instead of fluffy. This batter gets incredibly thick. If you just can’t stand it, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water, but it’s totally not necessary. Alrighty, once all that is just barely combined, fold in your nuts and apple chunks.

Now spoon it into the prepared muffin tins. Fill them about 3/4 of the way full. Throw them in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick (*coughoraforkcough*) inserted into the middle comes out clean. Makes 12 drops of muffiny goodness.

Once again, this recipe came from The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.