Wednesday, August 29, 2007

BBQ dinner

I decided I wanted to have a big dinner with my family and friends before we depart to the land of the original Whole Foods, and plenty of green called Austin, TX. What would be more perfect than a big, southern, BBQ meal? I also wanted to try some of the awesome recipes that have been floating around on the PPK and in blogland.

BBQ Ribz. I used Celine's recipe, but baked them using Susan's method. I used plenty of homemade BBQ sauce.
Mac 'n' Cheese, using Jess's revised New Farm recipe. I didn't add the breadcrumbs, because I like my mac smooth and simple. But, after all of the rave reviews, I will have to try the breadcrumbs next time.
Here is the whole spread. We also had baked beans, collard greens, and corn muffins.
My plate. It almost looks like a painters palate, for a very color blind painter.
Finally, Susan's Peach Upside-Down Cake. MMmm, so good, so easy, and so healthy! Shh, don't tell anyone!My piece, spiced up with a scoop of Vanilla So Delicious.

I can't wait to eat the leftovers. Yum, baked beans and corn muffins for breakfast, here I come!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Cookies and Crookies

I was in a major mood for some cookies the other night. I searched and searched for a recipe that sounded suitable for my craving, and that I had all the ingredients for. Finally, I came across these gems
Oreo cookie-cookies. That's right, a cookie within a cookie. Plus some chocolate chips for good measure. Holy granoly, these were rockin.

Then, tonight I went shopping and finally got some peanut butter. What better to go with peanut butter (besides apples, of course) than graham crackers? I decided to try Isa's recipe, which seemed simple enough. Silly me, I tried to half it, but forgot halfway through and ended up adding too much rice milk. So, I threw in a few handfuls of flour for good measure. I also added a bit too much molasses. They came out a little more like crisp cookies, so I'm calling them molasses graham crookies.

Yum, just how I like it.
I'm glad these were fairly healthy, because somehow I ended up with only half a pan before they were even completely cooled.

And, just to prove I eat more than cookies.. dinner last night. Mustard crusted tofu, lemon-herb roasted cauliflower and chickpeas, and quinoa with green onions.
Mustard tofu frying up. I just mixed mustard, a little horseradish, and nooch and dipped the tofu in, then put it in the skillet to fry.
My favorite part was the roasted cauliflower. I mixed lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, herbs, and olive oil, tossed the cauli and chickpeas, and some carrots for good measure, then roasted in the toaster over for about 30 minutes. Yum yum!

I'm making a big dinner feast for my family and friends tomorrow night, one of which is a dedicated omnivore, another which is looking into trying vegetarianism. It should be an interesting night. Pictures soon to come.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Moving along

This weekend was a struggle. We took one last trip to Austin before we finally move. I had training for my new job, and we had to sign the lease for our house. My first day of training was pretty rough. After an 8 hour day of cooking breakfast for 14 guests, cleaning about 10 rooms, and not getting a chance to eat much, all on less than an hour of sleep, I was beat. Then, I had to get up the next morning and do the same thing again. Thankfully, the time I spent not working was enjoyable since Candy and some friends came along. We basically just hung out and ate. I didn't get any pictures of food this time, because it didn't stay in front of me long enough, and I was too exhausted to make the effort. But, don't worry, there will be plenty of pictures in the coming months of the great food I'm sure to enjoy. I do have some backlogged stuff from last week, though..enjoy!

I'm trying to clean out the fridge in preparation for the big moving day (September 1!). I don't want to worry about lugging frozen goods on a 3+ hour trip, in a hot U-haul. Some pretty interesting meals are sure to come.

I made this taco salad using leftover boca crumbles, with chopped onion, and spices. I piled it on romaine lettuce, then added chopped cucumber, shredded carrot, crumbled tortilla chips, and a "dressing" I made with avocado, green goddess seasoning, apple cider vinegar, and miso- it didn't really go with the salad, but it's all I had.

I went to another party, this time for my girlfriend's son, Stevie's, 6th birthday. We went to the Kemah Boardwalk, and ate at the Pizza Kitchen. We spent 6 hours there, enduring the heat while the kids played in the water, and rode tons of rides. When the sun finally set, we got to hang out and enjoy some music by our favorite local artist, Hamilton Loomis.

This is the pizza we split-The Veggie Supreme pizza (sans cheese). It had fresh tomatoes, spinach, caramelized onions, red and green bell peppers, corn (yum!), eggplant (a little weird..) and mushrooms. They were very accomodating on making a pizza with no cheese, and answering my questions about ingredients in the crust.
Stevie and Kylie waiting on the rest of the RSVP's for the party. Dang, they're cute.

MMmmm, my new favorite hummus. This is the Oatmeal-raisin cookie dough hummus, from the PPK. Oh my.. so good. Cant...complete..sentence.. Must try.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I save the day

I woke up one morning to a family of geckos in my sink. One by one, I saved the daddy, the mama, and the baby..all before breakfast. That was my good deed for the day.
The daddy on the fence post, waiting for his family to reassemble. The mama was too quick to capture in a photo.
The cutest baby gecko ever. Just chillin on my hand, trying to act like nothing ever happened.

I was inspired by a post on the PPK to make biscuit pizzas. Essentially, a biscuit half topped with anything you like to form a mini pizza. I was somewhat unconventional in my creation. I spread mustard on the bottom, topped with thinly sliced tomato, chopped kalamata and garlic, then sprinkled with nooch and dried basil. These saved my day.


A friend from an old job is leaving her position as manager, moving into Houston and starting nursing school. I wish her the best of luck, and am glad she is moving on to bigger and better things. For her going away party, I made mini black bean empanadas, and chocolate chip crispy rice treats.
The empanadas were inspired by the mini peanut butter empanadas at Mr. Natural. I made the best ever empanada dough, filled with chipotle black bean filling, which I added liquid smoke and a little ketchup to. Tiny and cute, with a nice kick. Quite a hit at the party. Now that I am confident in my empanada making skillz, I want to try my hand at other variations, like caramel apple.

Yummy, chewy, crispy rice treats. My first attempt at making these, vegan or not. I used half regular crispy rice cereal, and half Envirokidz Koala Crisp cereal, with Vegan Sweets Marshmallows, and chocolate chips. I followed the recipe on the back of the marshmallow bag. Very simple, plus sweet and crunchy..just like I remember.
Heres the whole spread. As you can see it was an eclectic mix. Thankfully I brought something both sweet and savory to enjoy. My girlfriend made a pan of Grecian party squares, which she veganized. There was also guac, with chips, and raw veggies and fruits.
A few hours after the party, a bunch of us drove to a karaoke bar in a hotel somewhere in Channelview and partied some more. Here is a new dance the girls learned.

I made quesadillas with the leftover empanada filling. Nice and smoky/spicy, perfect with a side salad with cool avocado.

Friday, August 17, 2007

I eat food

After a long night out, I came home and decided I wanted some biscuits. Good ol' fashioned country style biscuits. Perfectly round, lightly toasted, and oh so flaky. Pure biscuit perfection.
Gravy for the southerner in me. Peanut butter and jelly for the kid and the sweet tooth in me.


One topped with popcorn tofu (the best ever stuff from Wheatsville in Austin. It will drive you mad), and cashew-tamari dressing (the second best ever stuff from Wheatsville. You will sing).

I also tried Mochi for the first time. Watching it puff up in the oven is the coolest part. Try this when you are still half sleeping in the morning before a cup of coffee and you will pinch yourself to see if you are dreaming. I had my cinnamon raisin flavor with flax oil, mashed bananas, and cinnamon agave.

Another quick trip to Austin proved very beneficial. I was offered In the end, I had to turn down the one I felt would not be beneficial, which ended up being the one I thought I wanted the most. But, the job I did take has it's advantages. I will be a breakfast cook/housekeeper in a nice B&B right near campus (a cool, funky part of town). It not only pays more, but I will have some free reign to do my own thing. I am hoping to bring some new ideas in and maybe start offering some vegan selections.

My girlfried also got a job with Texas Campaign for the Environment. She will be a professional hippy! She gets to canavs neighborhoods and badger people to sign petitions, write letters to congress, and donate money to support efforts towards building a better environement.

And the most exciting part.. we got the house!! After some uncertainty, we finally settled it all. We are going back one more time next weekend to sign the lease, and I will also be doing two days of training for my job. And then we won't go back until the next weekend, when we finally get to move in! I can't wait.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

More Austin

Sick of it yet? Never! Here are the goods from my whirlwind weekend trip:

First real meal in Austin- salad I put together from leftovers in my friend's fridge. Romaine lettuce, orange couscous and spicy peanut noodles, both from Chow Baby, topped with grilled squash, roasted pepper strips and Cashew-Tamari dressing from Wheatsville..holy cow!

Dinner that night at Satay. We split the Appetizer Combo, which is supposed to be for 4-6 people. We finished it all off. From top counter clockwise...Fried tofu with some kind of mango sauce, yam and corn cakes with mustard sauce, tofu satay with peanut sauce (my favorite!), Mee Krob (cabbage, bean sprouts, and green onion topped with some kind of fried crunched up noodle stuff), and fried spring rolls with ginger-sweet and sour sauce.
For dessert we split the vegan Chocolate Silken pie with berries. Oooohmagod! We left with very happy bellies.

Of course I went to Bouldin before leaving. Saturday morning, before my last interview, we biked to the market, and then to Bouldin for breakfast. I had the Home Cake plate- grilled vegan blueberry cornbread, agave, tofu scramble (with ketchup), and cantalope slices.
I crumble my cornbread in a bowl and poured soymilk and agave over it. I am truely southern.

Me, devouring my cornbread and milk. When this awesome dish gets on the menu, this is evidence that I made it up. Everyone remember this moment.

Lunch on the bus. Spicy Mixed Vegetable wrap from Aster's Ethiopian, at the farmers market. Carrots, onions, green beans, potatoes, ginger, cinnamon, and other spices wrapped in injer bread. Mmm, so good. Perfect to smell the bus up with. Take that girl eating stinky beef jerky!

The interviews all went well. All of the prospective employers told me that I interviewed well, and that they see potential for me to work with them. None of them will have a final decision until this coming week. My first choice is a line cook/prep chef position at Cafe Josie. I got two interviews with them, and I talked to the chef for almost 2 hours during the first one, so I am pretty confident that I will get a call. I am going back Tuesday and Wednesday since my girlfriend has an interview with Texas Campaign for the Environment. If I don't have a job by then, I will just apply at every place I pass by.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

You're the inspiration..

I was suprised at how many comments I got on my last post. Maybe 4 isn't that many for a seasoned blogger, but for someone just starting out, it is inspiring. Thanks everyone for all of the nice comments! It feels good to be accepted as part of the blogger world. You are all so incredible. Now to the food..I had been wanting to make curry for quite a while, but wasn't in the mood to stand over a hot stove when it is reaching 100 degrees outside. I came across this wonderful recipe for Karina's Healing Curry at Gluten-Free Goddess. Like most curries, it is versitle in the types of veggies you can put in. Mine had carrots, celery, bok choy, red cabbage, sweet potato, apple, onions, garlic, and chickpeas. I also added a bit more curry powder, and didn't add raisins or cilantro. I served it over Forbidden rice, which added to the sweetness. It took hardly any effort, and was delicious and filling.

I also made Mock Tuna Salad for dinner one night, with plenty of leftovers for lunches for the week. I pureed all of the veggies to give it a smoother consistency like I enjoyed when I ate real tuna salad. Delicious on a sammich, with greens and mustard. (Note: trying to get fancy with the garnishin'..didn't really eat all of that parsley)
Onion dip I made to go along with the sammiches. Served with raw broccoli and cauliflower. Very easy recipe- sautee onion and garlic til browned. Put into food processor with 1 pkg. mori nu silken tofu. Puree until smooth. Add a couple splashes red wine vinegar, some chopped parsley, chopped scallions, salt and pepper. Puree until combined. Eat eat eat away! Sooo freakin delicious.

Sweet potato and spinach enchiladas from our tex mex themed dinner the other night with my girlfriends family. They were having cheese enchiladas, so I made a small dish of these. I made them up as I went along. The filling is something like- sauteed garlic, adobo chilies, and cumin, mixed with cubed and roasted sweet potato and baby spinach. Then I mixed in the remaining onion dip that I had (about 1c). Spoon mix into corn tortillas, lay them in a dish and pour the cheeze sauce (from Barefoot and in the Kitchen- with mustard and onion powder added) on top. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. These were suprisingly good, considering I had no idea what I would add next.

I'll be in Austin for a couple of days for job interviews. Geez, I can't wait until I can just live there. I hope to try out a new (to me) restaurant while I'm there. Satay sounds really good. We'll see what I have time for inbetween the 4 interviews I have scheduled so far!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Jumble aye yeah

As soon as I got back from Austin, I dove into the new Harry Potter book. My time and mind has revolved around the final adventures of Harry and his friends, intermittent by short lapses of time spent outside repainting the porch. I have also cooked a few things here and there. A girl's gotta eat! So, now that all of my distractions have been taken away (other than moving, finding a job, dealing with medical shit, packing, etc. etc) I can finally blog!

I made this quinoa salad, inspired by Have Cake, Will Travel. It is basically cooked quinoa, dried figs, shredded carrot, diced red onion, and a dressing of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, herbs, and garlic powder. Served fancy on top of mixed lettuce. Yummy, light, and filling. I can't wait for her zine.

Feeling nostalgic, and curious, I finally made some tofu fish sticks. I followed Jen's recipe, but marinated them first in a marinade I found on this post. They turned out divine! Since I try to be healthy and all, I omitted the ubiquitous tater tots and had a mashed sweet potato, and some cole slaw. Oh, also homemade tartar sauce. Mmmm!

The next night, I tried another recipe I have had my eyes on. Seaside stuffed mirlitons, from Fat Free Vegan. I enhanced the recipe a bit by adding leftover tofu sticks to the stuffing. Oooooh my goodness. And some corn.
With leftover stuffing from the mirlitons, I made patties and had a burger. Add lettuce, and drown in tartar sauce. One meal three ways, and they were all really great.

I love scones, so I made these. Gingerbread scones from Eden in the Kitchen. These came out great. Have with a cup of tea. Hey, gingerbread is year round. Don't be scared to make it at times other than Christmas. It should be celebrated through out the year! Gingerbread men may not be happy, and we might end up with a revolution on our hands. But, at least ginger and cinnamon can be in the spotlight for a short time (at least until they have their throats sliced by pissed off men-shaped cookies, with their adorable eyes and mouths made of icing.)

Hope everyone is have a great summer!