Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Birthday Weekend

My birthday was a week ago today and I've had such a great week. My husband and I went out to dinner last week to a local Italian bistro on Wednesday, my girlfriends had a little party for me Thursday complete with vampires and white chocolate fondue. Then Friday - my husband took us up to Asheville - my favorite place in NC. It's such a cute hippie town, I'd love to live there!

My spouse planned a getaway weekend in a cabin outside of Asheville, and it was so cute and peaceful, and had a hot tub.

He made an extra effort because last year, he really dropped the ball. Maybe that's an understatement. But first, let me state: I am not one of those people who thinks my birthday is a holiday. We have a friend, who at age 31, still takes off 3 days from work in celebration for his birthday. I still go to work like an adult, but love going out to dinner and maybe having some wine with a friend or two. No parties, no bar crawls, just some low-key fun times.

Last year - my husband kept telling me that we couldn't do anything for my birthday because he had a night class. Having gone to college myself, and being a college instructor- I knew this was BS because you can definitely skip one class a semester if you need to. So I convinced myself he was using this excuse as a cover to surprise me with something fun. My friends asked what I was up to and I said I didn't know, something with my husband for sure.

I came home from work early that day, and found my husband bumming around on the couch. I told him I'd be workign from home the rest of the day, and he told me he was using a gift certificate that I gave him to take out his brother for lunch. On my birthday! How thoughtful. So he went out and ate, and then went to class... until 9:30. I sat on the couch and finally realized that he had nothing planned and I should just start drinking wine.

After that day I figured surely, he at least had something planned for the weekend to make up for it... but no. There was nothing planned. We did nothing. I don't even remember if I got a gift because it was overshadowed by the fact that my husband planned absolutely nothing. No dinner, no drinks, no X-Files DVD's... just nothing. It was like he had completely forgotten. I waited a long time to say something, and when I finally did he got mad at me and said he just wasn't a planner. After a few months he realized that he had made a mistake, and maybe should make an effort from now on.

Well, that brings us to present day. A surprise weekend trip to Asheville. Not bad husband, not bad.

We had a kitchen, so I grabbed some tortillas, queso fresco, asparagus, an avocado, a can of black beans, zucchini, red pepper and red onion. Well, I easily sauteed those goodies and made some tacos we enjoyed in front of the cute little fireplace.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Vegan Carrot Lentil Burgers

I saw these burgers recently on Clean Eating Chelsea. She adapted the recipe a little from Oh She Glows - with great results. These burgers were super quick and so, so, so good. I could have eaten the mix without being baked.

I stacked these on buns with steamed spinach, tomato, vegenaise, steamed spinach and tahini (who doesn't love tahini on random things?) and grilled red onion slices.

If you haven't tried grilling some think onion slices, I suggest dropping everything and doing it. You can do it on your George Foreman, or your actual grill. Just cut an onion into thick slices, rub with olive oil and grill. They turn from gross bad breath raw onions to sweet delicious candy onions. They take maybe 10 minutes and make burgers into magic. Go crazy and run some balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper on to. Then calm down and eat.

I made these exactly as Chelsea did - so check out her recipe by following the link above. I highly recommend them - seriously. Such a great way to welcome summer. It's 80 degrees here in NC. NICE!!!!!!

A late working lunch

Original recipe HERE on THE FITNESSISTA

I used 2 cans tuna, 2 large scoops greek yogurt, 1 red pepper, 10 sliced baby carrots, 2 stalks celery, scoop hummus, handful chopped parsley and salt and pepper. GREAT. Now back to work.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sesame Noodles with Chili-Lime shrimp

People, I do not claim to be the best cook in the world. But every once in awhile I make something that is pretty epic. Today, I opened my fridge to find it nearly empty. I had some shrimp, scallions and that was pretty much it. I had some tomatoes, but I think I'm going to stew them tomorrow.

Anyway- I was thinking Chinese today- specifically some cold sesame noodles that I ate in Xi'en. They were fantastic and I felt I could recreate a similar sauce at home. I didn't have any rice noodles so used angel hair with spectacular results. Marinate the shrimp for a bit and the dish come together in about 15 minutes.

Sesame Noodles:
1/2 package angel hair
2 tsp natural peanut butter
2 tsp tahini
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp soy sauce

Mix together all wet ingredients.

Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and rinse with cool water. Cover with delicious sesame sauce.

Chile Shrimp:
1 pound deveined shrimp
1 Tbsp finely grated ginger
1 Tbsp lime zest
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp agave
1 Tbsp chinese chile garlic paste
1 bunch scallions chopped into 1 inch pieces

Mix it all (except scallions) together. Mainate in fridge for a bit. After you are satisfied with the marination time - saute the shrimp in the marinade for a a few minutes. Add the scallions and saute for about 2 minutes.

Now, just add the shrimp to the noodles. You can serve with marinade or without- up to you. I did, and I liked it!

Um yum.

That may or may not be a tequila sunrise in the backround. Sundays are best with cocktails.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fish sandwiches

The other day I came home late and completely frazzled after my advisor requested a draft of my ENTIRE dissertation on May 4th. I figured I would send him a section at a time, but no - I need to have the whole thing done by then- which is pretty daunting. I have my chapters done, and am nearing the halfway point of my intro- which means I have the entire discussion section and all the formatting to do. FUN!

My husband usually asks "what are WE going to do about dinner" the second I walk through the door if by chance I come home late (which is often). I love his use of "we." As if he is part of some dinner-making team. What he actually means when he asks this is: "when the hell are you going to make something for me woman? I am incapable of making anything myself let alone you. Or eating a snack. that would be too difficult as well. Instead I waited until now, 8pm, to accost you for food as soon as you walk through the door. Feed me or I will be cranky, much like a small child."

Well, something on my face (and perhaps the fact I was shaking with rage) tipped him off that I would not be making dinner. when he opened his mouth to ask his usually question, he paused, and looked frightened. Instead he said "I was waiting for you to come home to show me the recipe you were going to use for dinner, because I was going to make it."

Nicely played husband, nicely played.

We continued on the fish kick and made THESE fish sandwiches from How Sweet it Is. Good choice. The only thing I did was make the kale chips, and I burnt them. I am not going into the kitchen until the weekend, so we'll see how he eats tonight!

Nevermind, I did make some summer squash- which I sauteed in olive oil and oregano, and then added some goat cheese too when it was done. That- I didn't burn.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pasta and an Oats Parfait for good meausure

Hey there. I am currently at home blogging. I got a LOT done yesterday in the writing department, so I'm cutting myself some slack (I will write at night and am generally more productive all together when I take my mornings to myself. Just me and my french press Fresh Market espresso. No sharing). I just have to write up a discussion for my third study - and there I go, all three chapters written and done!

My knee has been flaring up again, and I have an appointment with a Sports MD at 2-ish. However, whenever I go get my knee checked out it's like taking in my car. You know what I mean... your car will be making some noise for a week, and when you finally take it in, the noise will NOT present itself and the mechanics can't find anything wrong and everyone thinks you're crazy. Well, I am taking matters into my own hands today by heading to a lunchtime spinning class before my appointment. Spinning REALLY flares my knee up - though it should be zero impact - and my knee ends up swelling up to the size of a grapefruit. A grapefruit that lives on my leg. Well, the doctor today will get a nice swollen knee to look at and I won't waste his time or mine.

When my friend was in town, she pulled out some old magazines to keep herself busy while my husband and I snoozed. I had forgotten all about the February 2010 issue, which is plastered with a beautiful picture of Roasted vegetable linguini. It looked so good, and I had purchased basil for the Strawberry Mango Basil Salsa I saw on How Sweet it Is - so I figured this pasta would be a great way to use it up. The re3cipe was simple and delicious, and made enough for an army. A small portion found its way into mine and my husband lunches both yesterday and today, and there's still more left!

Roasted Vegetable Linguini with Torn Fresh Basil
2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms
1/2 pound asparagus, sliced into 1.5 inch pieces
1 small onion, chopped (I used a red)
2 Tbsp/ olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 13.5 oz. package linguine (I used Cavatappi)

Preheat over to 450 - toss all of the veggies with the olive oil, minced garlic and pepper flakes. Roast 20 minutes (use a roasting pan, it will be a lot of bulk). Add the cherry tomatoesand roast 10 minutes more. Dump veggies in a bowl while you make the sauce.

Start making the pasta - be sure to save 1/2 cup cooking water for the sauce

Add wine to roating pan, scarping off any browned goodness on the bottom. Let wine reduce by half. Stir 1/2 cup cooking water into wine. Add pasta and veggies to roating pan and let everything co-mingle and get delicious.

I also wanted to talk about my breakfast lately. I have been looking at the pretty picture of Vegan Overnight Oats Parfaits on Oh She Glows for awhile now. I've never made them because I just didn't feel like getting out my food processor in the morning, and I used to eat overnight oats every day and I got sick of them.

Well, I finally made the plunge yesterday with the Cherry Bomb parfait. Wow - I am so glad I did. Seriously - just putting a banana and some frozen cherries into a food processor is like magic. It really does taste like soft serve ice cream. I made Strawberry Banana softserve today- though the picture came out super crappy. This breakfast is a lot to get down, I reduced the serving of oats to 1/4 cup - I don't need to eat lunch until 1. Crazy. Do yourself a favor and try one of these recipes.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I'm eating fish again

Last weekend when our friends came to town, I had fish at various times. I tend to eat fish with guests or when out to dinner because it is difficult to always eat vegetarian out (like at an oyster roast) and I hate being a pain in the butt by making people plan around me. I generally don't eat fish very often because when I did it would upset my stomach quite a bit, as I hadn't eaten meat in almost 2 years now.

Well, all of the fish I enjoyed last weekend didn't bother me at all - and it all tasted great. My husband really wants nothing in the world but for me to eat meat again. Well, I will not eat anything else besides fish - but I though adding fish into my diet would make him really happy.

So- Friday night I told him I had a surprise for him, and drove him to Fresh Market and told him we'd be eating fish at home again and he could pick out whatever he wanted. Like the butthead that he is, he acted like my surprise sucked and told me I hyped it up too much and he was expecting something "awesome." In reality, all that I said was that I had a surpise for him. Apparently uttering that sentence was too much "hype," and he probably expected me to take him to NHL tryouts or a Rudy-marathon at a local bar with free beer on tap.

No more surprises for that guy.

The first fish dinner I cooked was some simple Chile-Spiced tilapia with some Strawberry Mango Basil Salsa from How Sweet it Is. It was really good - except for the fact that they only gave us one filet of tilapia to split, thouygh I clearly said I wanted 2. Oh well, we each got a crab cake also.

I served it with my favorite tomatoes (cherry tomatoes sauteed in olive oil for 10 minutes until nice and soft) and KALE CHIPS.

And my husband... he didn't even say thank you! Maybe he needs some more tofu and art shows instead of fish and hockey games.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Writing and eating tofu burritos

I have really been enjoying writing from home. I've been working at a great pace. Everyone's been teling me that a dissertation progress averages about a page per day. I've been at two/day, so maybe I'll be done twice as fast! And my second manuscript is going through final edits so hopefully I can resubmit soon and get that taken care of also. Yay graduation!

One thing I enjoy about being at home during the day besides being with my puppies....

is cooking breakfast and lunch! Yesterday I made these muy delicioso tofu burritos with a tofu cake that crumbled when I went to slice it. It expired yesterday so I guess thats what happens!

Tofu Burritos (makes 4 burritos)
1/2 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 cake tofu
2 cups spinach
1 tsp curry powder
shake or two of Mrs. Dash or similar salt-free seasoning
4 tortillas

Saute onion and garlic until translucent. Add tofu and stir until moisture evaporates, maybe 3-4 minutes. Add curry to turn egg-like color to fool yourself and the rest of the spices. Add spinach and let wilt. Serve on tortillas with salsa and sriracha added to the top! Yum

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Orange Glazed tofu and Broccoli

I always spell broccoli wrong. I'm not sure why. I guess if I took my time and though about it maybe I'd spell it right. Anyway- today was crappy and uneventful (except for my lunchtime power yoga class- that was nice) so here's the dinner I made! It's a favorite from the Vegetarian Family Cookbook by Nava Atlas.

Orange Glazed Tofu

2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup H20
1/4 cup orange juice concentrate
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp grated ginger

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp H20
2 large broccoli crowns - chopped into trees
2 garlic cloves minced --- I am fresh out of elephant garlic :-(
1 red pepper sliced into thin, thin, matchstick strips
1 block firm tofu (the recipe calls for 2 blocks baked tofu, but I like mine squishy)

Mix cornstarch with water until dissolved. Add the rest of ingredients (concentrate, vinegar, sesame oil, ginger) to the mixture - and you have your sauce. Congrats.

Now, mix oil and water in a wok and heat the garlic and broccoli in it for a second, then cover and cook for 2-4 minutes. Add peppers and cook until a little soft, then add the tofu trying not to break it. Add the sauce and stir until thickened - maybe 5 minutes.


I served this with a favorite beet, goat cheese, orange and pecan salad.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Buffalo Tempeh and "Cool Slaw"

Today I was completely exhausted. We had guests in town this weekend, so I was waking up earlier than normal, and doing a whole lot more stuff in general. It was a great time and we drank a lot of great wine and watched some good hockey! I had a presentation to give to my department yesterday- so Sunday night I barely slept, as I kept waking up practicing my talk in my head.

Today I popped into work after working from home all morning, and my advisor popped his head in. My first though is always "what did I do now?" But he handed me a gift certificate for a local restaurant that he said was "on behalf of the department." He said they have some stuff to thank people, and my talk yesterday was definitely worthy of thanks. Wow - just when I thought I had seen everything. Thanks advisor!

I came home late and threw together the simple marinade for the Buffalo Tempeh, which took exactly one hour to marinate... or the length of one nap. These recipes are both from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

Buffalo Tempeh
8 oz. tempeh
1/2 cup veggie broth
1/2 cup hot sauce (Frank's is preferable - obviously)
1 giant clove elephant garlic (or 6 regular cloves)
2 tsp oregano

Cut tempeh into triangles and steam in a basket for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, stir together marinade ingredients and add tempeh when it's done steaming. let marinate as long as you want to nap (or be productive).

Heat pan and spray with cooking spray. Scoop the tempeh into the pan and saute until brown-ish. Add the rest of the marinade and serve!

Cool Slaw
1 bag cole slaw mix
1/4 cup cashews
2 Tbsp chopped onion
1/2 cup water
5 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp mustard (weber's if you have it!)
1 tsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp salt
ground pepper
***I also added 1 Tbsp of nutritional yeast because it felt like the right thing to do

Place all ingredients besides cole slaw mix (obviously) in a food processor and process for a good while - 5 minutes or so. Add to the cole slaw mix and let sit for a bit so it gets nice and saturated. That's it.

Enjoy your Buffalo-style veggie meal.