Thursday, May 28, 2009

An Easy Week

I was feeling pretty uninspired this weekend, and just wanted to take it easy.  I've been run down with a cold for almost 10 days straight (it will not go away!!!), so that probably had something to do with it.  

I ended up just doing an easy Asian noodle dish with fried tofu (with chicken for Husband), a ton of veggies, and an easy peanut sauce.  Since I was doing just one dish this week, I took my time and julienned some carrots, zuccinni, and green onions.  I added some mushrooms, celery, garlic, and ginger too.  The sauce was just peanut butter, soy sauce, corn starch, and a little bit of seasame oil.  So easy, and so delicious!  I used fresh Asian noodles that you can buy in the produce section of the grocery store.  That really makes the difference in the dish for me.

Husband was whining for muffins all weekend, so Sunday afternoon I whipped up these oatmeal and blueberry muffins.    These muffins are really delicious, ridiculously easy to make, and surprisingly light.  I doubled up on the blueberries because I love me some blueberries!  I was surprised they lasted all the way until Wednesday.  The last time I made them Husband polished them off before 24 hours was up.  

I'd also like to try this other oatmeal blueberry muffin recipe.  This one cuts out the white flour and adds applesauce.  It sounds fantastic.  I literally am down to my last 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour, so I'll have to try it out another time.  I'm really craving baked goods with oatmeal lately, so I might continue with oatmeal cookies or oatmeal banana bread or something.

I also tried my hand at more bread baking.  It didn't turn out so great, unfortunately.  I tried this whole wheat no-knead bread recipe (note: you have to register to view the recipe, but registering is free). My dough didn't rise to the occasion.  It was a total dud.  I was so bummed!  Husband insisted I bake it anyway, and it's a brick, but it's a delicious brick, I must say.  I want to try this again.  I'm wondering if I just had a bad packet of yeast.  Next time I'll try letting the yeast sit in the water for a few minutes to activate it.  Don't know if that'll work, I really know nothing about the science of bread-making.  But I'll give it a go because I want this recipe to work.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Hot Weather is Here: It's Salad Time!

It's starting to get close to the time when I stay indoors everyday between the hours of noon and 6pm because it is just too hot outside.  Forget about trying to take Theo anywhere.  We went to the dog park at 1pm yesterday and it was already scorching.  I forgot to sunscreen my toes, and now they're a nice tomato color.  Oops!  With the weather as it is, I was not much in the mood for using the stove or over yesterday, and with all the great salad recipes I was seeing, I managed pretty well.

Before I get to this week's food, I should mention that I didn't post anything last week because I didn't cook last week.  I was out of town in St. Louis, so it was eating out every meal.  Poor Husband had to fend for himself.  He was definitely thinner when I got home.  Hehe.  I won't go into where I ate while I was out there, but I do want to mention roly poly.   I'd never heard of it before, but it's like a subway, but with wraps, and way more options.  It was delicious!  Why can't we get one in California get one within 60 miles of where I live? 

This week's cold food:
  • Broccoli slaw, courtesy of Smitten Kitchen.  I got broccoli pre-cut at Trader Joe's, so this only took minutes!  I substituted yogurt for about 1/3 of the mayo called for, just to be a little healthier, and I couldn't taste a difference.  I think I won't even use half a red onion next time I make this.  A little red onion goes a long way for me, so maybe just 1/3.  I'm curious to try the original recipe.  I do love me some rice wine and lemon juice.
  • Corn, mango, and jicama salad with honey vinaigrette, courtesy of Pinch My Salt.  I've made this salad about three or four times now (one of my few repeats!).  I love it.  I've always thought mango and avocado go great together, and the jicama and corn provide a really nice crunch.  It's a little plain, but once you add the dressing it is phenomenal!  I couldn't wait until mangoes were in season, just so I could make this salad again.
  • Chicken curry salad sandwiches.  I kind of got the recipe here, but it's really not much of a recipe (add obvious ingredients in whatever quantity you want, lol).  I added celery and currants (why do I dislike raisins but have no objection to currants?) to mine.  I forgot about the nuts, but I don't think they were needed.  Like the slaw, I substituted yogurt and a little sour cream (both low fat) for some of the mayo.  I always still use some mayo because I don't want it to taste like diet food, and there's nothing wrong with a little fat.  I probably used about a tablespoon of curry powder.  It definitely had a nice curry flavoring, but I think I could have added a lot more before it was too strong. I put the salad on some focaccia-type rolls from Trader Joe's, piled with arugula.  It was fantastic.
  • Husband broke out his manly grilling skills and made some kabobs with bbq chicken, bell pepper, pineapple, onion, cherry tomatoes, and red potatoes.  Haven't tried those yet.
So far the week is shaping up to be delicious!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Food Journaling

The blog has been a bit light on crafting because I haven't crafted in forever.  Bad me!  I've been busy with other things.  I don't intend to stop crafting altogether, just an extended leave of absence.  I've really cut down on my tv time (the tivo is really piling up!) because I've been trying to get out more: going for long walks in the evening, jogging in the morning.  I've been cooking more seriously ever since we finished the kitchen remodel, and I've been giving lots of time to reading and playing with Theo.  Just no time in the day for anything else at the moment.  I'll get to it, eventually.

I have, however, been cooking and baking up a storm lately.  I was complaining to Husband yesterday that even though I make yummy food every week, I have yet to really repeat any of my recipes because I forget all about them once I make them.  He suggested I make a log of what I make, so I can look back on it for idea. He, of course, suggested my iphone, but I thought, hey, why not dust off the old blog?  So here we are.  I haven't been taking pictures, so it won't be as pretty as I would like, but I figure I can at least link to the recipes I make (and there are pictures if you follow the link).

So here we go.  Here is what I am eating this week:

  • Black bean and roasted red pepper soup, courtesy of Closet Cooking.  I have a new found love for roasted peppers.  I had no idea they were so easy and delicious!  I go by these directions, but you can roast peppers a number of ways.  I am so glad it's pepper season!  I couldn't find poblano chilies (which is crazy because I checked three different stores and I live in Southern California!), so I just substituted more red peppers (I'll bet the stores are just dumb and marked them as ancho chilies.  I'll have to check on that.).  I was actually going to add jalapeno, but then I forgot to add it, oops!  It turned out pretty darn delicious!  I used an immersion blender and pureed it a bit because I wanted it to be more like soup and less like chili.  I also got a rotisserie chicken from Costco (only $5, who knew?), and shredded some of that in for some added protein.  I also topped it with avocado and some crumbled up tortilla chips.  Yum!  I want to also mention that this soup is totally healthy.  It's mostly veggies and some black beans, which are big on fiber, not on fat.  Just don't sprinkle too many chips.  Heh.
  • Brussels sprouts with bacon and lemon, courtesy of Closet Cooking.  I've never been a fan of brussels sprouts, but I've also never quite hated them.  I figure if bacon doesn't make them delicious, nothing will.  It's still a little on the bitter side, but the lemon juice and bacon flavor help a lot with it.  I also used turkey bacon because it's healthier and equally tasty to me.  A little shallot tends to go a long way, so I bought a small one, but I actually thought it could have used a little more.  So go for a bigger one if you try this.  Overall, I think this is totally yummy.
  • Warm butternut squash and chickpea salad, courtesy of Smitten Kitchen.  I know I said I haven't really repeated a recipe, but I actually made this salad just last week.  It is so freaking good.  I had to go to Whole Foods to find tahini (the closest Whole Foods is 20 miles's a travesty they don't have one closer!), but your local grocery store might have it in the peanut butter section, if it isn't lame like my grocery store is.  Also, Trader Joe's sells small packages of pre-cut butternut squash.  They're relatively inexpensive, and I really hate cutting butternut squash, so I just used 3 of those packages.  I wish I had tried this recipe in the fall when the ingredients were more in season.  Thanks to my sister for recommending it to me!
  • Key lime meltaways, courtesy of Smitten Kitchen.  I saw a nice looking bag of key limes at the store last week that I just couldn't pass up.  I've made these once before (my first blog post even!), and they are still positively delicious.  They have been a favorite at work today.
  • Blackberry cobbler, courtesy of The Pioneer Woman.  They had a big container of blackberries at Costco for $2.99.  I couldn't pass it up.  I love blackberries.  They are my favorite fruit to bake with, so bake with them I did.  I decided on cobbler because they're easy and if you'll notice the list above, I was already pretty busy in the kitchen (also because I don't have a tart pan and pies are hard).  I looked for a recipe that had a picture that looked pretty close to the cobblers my mom made growing up, and this one looked pretty close.  I don't have self rising flour (I think keeping 3 different kinds of flour is my limit), but I checked online and found this conversion:
1 c. self rising flour = 1 c. all-purpose flour + 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder + 1/8 tsp. salt

It worked for me.  I also used a ton more blackberries than it called for because the container from Costco had about 4 cups worth.  I basically just kept adding blackberries until the pan couldn't hold any more (~ 3 1/2 cups).  Hey it's healthier with a higher fruit to dough ratio, right?  This turned out so delicious that Husband and I ate 2/3 of it yesterday afternoon.  Having a freshly baked dessert sitting on the counter while cooking is a dangerous, dangerous thing!

Husband was also kind enough to lend a hand and make a pizza (with mozzarella cheese, peperoni, and green bell peppers), but there's no fancy recipe for that.  We just buy the ready-made whole-wheat dough at Trader Joe's (it's so delish!), and top it with whatever.

So that's what I'm eating this week (plus my usual salad for dinner).  So far all of these recipes are definitely good enough to make again.