Sunday, March 31, 2013

Road trip!

Friday morning at 5:30 am, we headed into the dark for our first road trip in our Nissan.

We started out with dark chocolate covered espresso beans for the grown ups and baby carrots and sesame sticks for the child. The types of food allowed in the Nissan... Is limited.

We drove to the suburbs of Baltimore where we met my college roommate and her young boys for a delightful breakfast of popovers, blueberry muffins, fruit, eggs and bacon fresh from the butcher.

From there we headed into DC where we headed down to the Mall (no cherry blossoms yet) and bought the child ice cream from a food truck (and I got an egg roll).

Dinner was Salai Thai. My daughter loved their pineapple chicken last time since it came in a pineapple... And so she requested a return visit. Our party had a tofu appetizer that was quite melt-in-your mouth.

I had scallops and I don't remember the sauce/preparation. They were spicy in a big way, which was sooo good, but the scallops themselves were not as tender as I had hoped yet not tough either.

We had brought our host food gifts of zaatar bread, Tunisian Harissa and chocolate halawa. I believe he enjoyed them.

In the morning we went to PAUL. Spoke some French, ate lots of pastry.

Our final meal in DC was pitas at Cava Mezza grill near the DC City Target. Fun stuff-- organic food locally sourced.

On the way home we stopped at Cracker Barrel where I did something crazy-- I got the sampler platter instead of one of my favorites. This allowed me to try the chicken and dumplings, ham AND meatloaf. Surprisingly I liked the ham best and the meatloaf, while perfectly adequate, didn't hit the spot. Then I had a molasses sundae. That was fun.

Daughter had the chocolate coca cola cake. That was one of the best chocolate cakes I've ever eaten.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Child packed a lunch today of last night's leftovers, cashews, apple and carrots.

I got home from shopping and wrapped myself this bread-less sandwich of ham, havarti cheese, turkey and romaine.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Thai broccoli mix

Total cop out dinner. Somehow I keep ending up with empty cupboards...

So tonight I took a head of fresh broccoli and sautéed it in sesame and coconut oil. I then added, directly to the skillet, a carton of Archer Farms Thai curry soup.

I served this over brown rice, with a handful of raw cashews on each portion. Very delightful.

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Haven't made anything stellar in the last few days-- but used a pie crust to make this pastie like creation of sausage-meatballs and spinach dip filling. It was so good I got a small sliver of it, what I tasted to make sure it was properly cooked. The family ate it all before I got home from work.

Yesterday we had sandwiches. Mine was on a big hunk of baguette with turkey, vegetarian bacon, romaine, homemade apple butter and red delicious apple slices that I microwaved a few seconds to soften them.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sweet potato oat waffles

I can't provide a recipe for these almost vegan waffles because I didn't measure and I didn't record. Looks like cooking time is about five minutes each in the Belgian waffle maker.

- 1 package steam in bag spiced sweet potatoes from Archer Farms (or pumpkin)
- cinnamon
- 1 cup soy milk
- 1 cup almond milk
- about 1/3 cup coconut oil,warm
- 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
- 2.5 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup organic flour
- 1 cup oats
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 2 tablespoons flax
- 1/4 cup water
- pinch ginger
- brown sugar
- local raw honey

So far they taste great but they are sticking more than my waffles normally do


They stick to the waffle iron no matter what, so I put them in the skillet to make pancakes. They burned on the outside instantly and stay all goo inside.

Probably should have baked it like a cake, because it tastes great. They are just in hash/ scramble form.

I bunched them into balls and baked them in the oven until cake like and my daughter went crazy over them.

I told her they were a failure and she ate them like they were the best thing ever.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Apple nut butter crêpes

- 1 large tablespoon local raw honey
- 1 cup vanilla almond milk
- 3 tablespoons coconut flour
- 2 tablespoons ground flax
- 1/4 cup sourgum flour
- 2 eggs

Cooked in a cast iron skillet in coconut oil.

- chopped gala apples, skin still on
- tablespoon of quince jam
- teaspoon fresh ground cinnamon
- teaspoon local raw honey
- dollop coconut oil for the bottom of the saucepan

Cook until soft but still crisp.

Spread some nut butter on each crêpe before filling with apples.

My nut butter was homemade almond-cashew butter.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Leftovers in vodka sauce

Dance Friday night. Husband home sick. I'm trying to write my thesis. Child must be fed.

I took one bag of Bertolli dinner for 2 chicken in vodka sauce (I had a coupon) and promptly followed the directions. Now, the directions suggested frying for three minutes in high in a non-stick skillet and then reducing heat for six more minutes.

Try this is a cast iron Le Creuset skillet and you get an overheated pan with pasta caked to it, even if you cook it stir-fry style.

I added a generous dose of coconut oil before the pasta/sauce bricks because I foresaw this. But I should have never put the heat over medium on my baby. I call my skillet baby.

I added to this mix:
- fresh spinach
- frozen peas
- one chicken breast stuffed with crab meat leftover from my husband's dinner out with his parents (chopped)

And that made it delightful.

But I gotta say, for the price, their dinner for two would have left me hungry and disappointed. Though the vodka sauce was dead on.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Frozen pizza shame

Normally my shame food is Cool Ranch Doritos. I haven't eaten any in about two months, and I'm proud of myself for that. When my metabolism freaked out during my premenstrual days, I ate two salads a day for a week. I could not get enough.

This is not me. Breakfast and lunch would be salad.

But then the weird processed food craving started... and I fed it frozen pizza. I bought frozen pizza because I had a coupon and found them on clearance...

And now I've been on a frozen pizza binge. And I hope publicly posting it ends it.

My favorite frozen pizza has been the California Kitchen roasted pepper with various gourmet cheeses. (I'm fairly certain the photo of two pizza slices is the California Kitchen roasted pepper pie.)

The worst has been the Market Pantry bacon cheeseburger one. The box makes it sound good, but what they don't tell you is that the sauce under the cheese and meat is KETCHUP. I'm not a huge ketchup fan. So that was yucky. They also neglect to mention the onions slathered across it. I picked most of them off before cooking.

Last night I ate the Archer Farms sausage, fennel and roasted pepper pizza as my dinner when I got home from work at 10. Not bad. The sausage was bigger and more flavorful than I expected.

The other one I liked was the Archer Farms goat cheese and arugula. (In the photo, it's the one with the large white circles of cheese.)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Garden prep 2013

Every year I try to tame my tiny backyard into a fruitful garden. Every year in early May I'm frantically planting seeds and trying to find plants.

Not this year. I went to Target tonight and bought $35 (before my employee discount) of garden products. I am turning my sun porch into a greenhouse.

If you followed by crazy urban garden last year, you know it was a helter skelter mix of everything from eggplant to sweet corn.

The tortoise ate all the peas. The watermelon disappeared. The cantaloupe never bore fruit.

This year I bought a slew of organic Burpee seeds, a ready to go seedling flat and a bag of potting mix. I plan to get more containers I've been saving in the garage and as soon as the ground thaws, I'm digging out some compost.

So what did I buy?

- cilantro
- basil
- rosemary

( I love herbs )

- spinach
- lettuce
- cucumber
- Oregon sugar peas
- tomato
- squash (dark green zucchini)
- watermelon
- radish

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The nut butter quest

I have been on a quest to make the perfect homemade nut butter. This will take a while, but the results-- every batch-- has been delightful.

Once I master texture, I'm going to turn my attention to nut blends. But not yet...

Today I have reached true nut butter consistency. Not gritty but butter. But smooth!

I still think the secret -- as those who came before me say -- is patience with the food processor. Grind, scrape, grind scrape. Forever and a day.

So this is what I did for my latest:

I poured some water into approximately one cup of mixed raw nuts. That was what was left in the jar. I let them soak two hours and drained.

I tossed them in the food processor with one tablespoon room temperature coconut oil and one teaspoon local raw honey.

And I hit the magic button. Round and round she spins. When you stop seeing nuts flying around, you scrape. Repeat. Scrape. Repeat. At first the texture will be chopped nuts, then it will be chopped nuts that somehow stick together. Keep scraping and processing and eventually when the spinning starts, a ball forms and the ball gets bigger! Scrape, process, scrape, process.

And when your patience is completely spent, you give up and eat what you created.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Oats in a Jar

People have been placing food in mason jars and ball jars lately and I'm not referring to home canning.

Salad in a jar.
Oats in a jar.

I had to try oats in a jar.

My mix, for each jar:
- homemade raw mixed nut butter, about two tablespoons
- 1/2 cup oats
- 2/3 cup vanilla almond milk
- 1/3 container Noosa yogurt in strawberry rhubarb
- handful of frozen mixed berries
- sliced banana

They say you refrigerate overnight and serve cold. Eileen Breslin had a similar concoction she called vegan breakfast pudding-- but she didn't put it in a jar.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Pumpkin pie milkshake

I decided to make tonight a special family night. The child didn't get home tonight until 4:20, at which point we had to go pick up her father from work.

When we got home, he made rotini with red sauce, black olives and just a touch of shredded Parmesan while child did homework.

I made salads of an iceberg garden mix and sprinkled just a tad of shredded cabbage in and then some mandarin oranges with sesame-lemon-ginger dressing.

Then child headed up to the shower fatter which she brushed and I braided her wet hair and gave her a little facial. Her dad made milkshakes and we watched the original Buffy movie.

An awesome night made more awesome by these milkshakes:
- pumpkin ice cream
- Girl Scout shortbread cookies
- Archer Farms vanilla syrup
- cinnamon

Friday, March 1, 2013

Mixed nut butter

As anyone you read last night's entry will know, I found some mixed raw nuts on clearance at Target last night. I prefer to buy my nuts raw and unsalted so this seemed like a good deal.

The mix includes hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pistachios and almonds so I thought I could make a mixed nut butter.

I started with one cup nuts. Didn't roast them or soak them or anything. Just dumped them in the food processor. Added a generous dollop of local raw honey, about 2-3 tablespoons full, and about 1/4 cup warm coconut oil.

After the initial 5-7 minutes of grinding and scraping, I feared I wouldn't hit the creamy texture my family has been requesting. So I thought it would be a good idea to add about three tablespoons water.

Then I had nut soup.

I added another 1/4 cup and ground another 5-7 minutes until my patience ran out.

So it's chunky nut butter. Tastes fine, but not as perfectly scrumptious as the almond cashew butter last time. But I intentionally wanted something simpler and with less ingredients.

We'll see how it tastes when the family gets home.