September 30, 2010

A baker I am not!

Precision and perfection (at least of food) are not my strong suits.


PS: It's incredibly hard to get candles to stand in a hard snickerdoodle cookie. :P

Thursday Thoughts

My job gets in the way of my exercise. Because I don't have time to work out? Nope. Because I can't afford a gym membership? Nada.


It's gets in the way because I always set the elliptical to manual course. Which means I can adjust the height of those little bars. Which means, I'm too busy making a pretty picture/design to be exercising at the level I probably should.

And there you have it, surely one of YJDKIY's oddest quirks? :P

September 29, 2010

Rainy Dayz

The Canine Component normally gets a morning walk and an evening walk. She is exceptionally skilled at letting YJDKIY know when she is ready for said walk.


However, this morning, she stuck her nose out the door and promptly determined the weather not fit for ducks or little doggies: dark, wet AND, finally, chilly.


But, she still really wanted to go for a walk. So, being the compassionate, dutiful owner that I am, I fashioned her a rain repelling device.  Why yes, that is a trash bag. (and is that the best OMG stop taking pictures of me and get this thing off dog face ever?)


It didn't last long. In fact, it didn't last out the door. She'll have to wait til someone buys her this, or it stops raining.

September 28, 2010

A Classic

YJDKIY loves making stuffed shells for some reason. Possibly because its something I love eating, but can never order in restaurants because I know they are loaded with fatty cheese, salt and other unhealthy fillings.

But when I make them...quite the opposite! Still not diet food by any means, but by using a 75% veggie 25% non-fat ricotta mix, really the only not so hot thing is the white shells.


For this version, I sauted grated zucchini (to get the water out) with a googolplex of garlic powder, oregano, fresh dried basil, thyme and pepper. Mix that with the previously stated ratio of cheese, add a tiny bit of egg/egg white, and a super stealthy but flavormaker addition of chopped pine nuts.


Stuff into cooked shells and top with marinara sauce. I love this part! And bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes.

Speaking of sauce, I normally hate jar sauce, but never have time to make my own. Last shopping trip, I spent a solid 10 minutes reading the labels to find the one with the fewest ingredients and lowest amount of sodium. Note, this is not my photo...at my one grocery store, pasta sauce ranges from $3-$9. I kid you not. I ruled out anything over $6 so who knows what those contained.


The snazzy label design on this GoodHousekeeping Good Food one caught my eye first, but based on the brand I was expecting some serious false advertising and "healthy" sauce filled with junk.


Low and behold, pronounceable, perfectly reasonable ingredients ANNNNND only 390 mg of sodium compared to up 910 mg in some. NINE HUNDRED AND TEN...that's nearly 1/2 your RDA in a serving of sauce. (sorry, that's not really legible is it?)


Moving on, the side for this dinner involved lots of snapping. One third of the YJDKIY household does not believe in snapping green beans before cooking. I do. Plus, I like the snappy noise. The Canine Component doesn't give a flip and just hopes they hit the floor, with cheese on them. Which way do you cook them?

September 27, 2010

YJDKIY has done nature burgers, black bean burgers, black bean cakes and here, salmon cakes, zucchini cakes (oops I didn't blog that!), sweet potato latkes (or that!), BEP patties, crab cakes and now I give you...Butter Bean Burgers (I think they call these Lima Beans in the not-South!)


One bag frozen beans cooked in the microwave (gak, I know I know...). Add some water if they get dry and mix in all of these seasonings (oregano, basil, cumin, dill, thyme, pepper, onion, garlic...not the breadcrumbs yet!).


Mash em all up, microwave an extra 2-4 minutes, and then mix in breadcrumbs, an egg (I used egg white) and some cheddar cheese. Shape into patties and pan fry with PAM until golden. These burgers were served naked and bunless but on big ol' Romaine hearts with a tangy-sweet-spicy ketchup mix.

September 26, 2010

is it fall yet?

SUNDAY: No cream creamy broccoli soup
MONDAY: Butterbean cakes, sweet potatoes
TUESDAY: Zucchini+ ricotta stuffed shells, green beans
WEDNESDAY: Mellow Mushroom style tofu hoagies
THURSDAY: Birthday boy's choice
FRIDAY: ditto
SATURDAY: pizza night!

September 25, 2010

Second Impressions

There is exactly one grocery store I care to shop at in this town. I think the whole rest of the town feels that way too, because the good kind is frequently out of stock. This week, YJDKIY was forced to try something other than the regular Silk Original Light Soy Milk for milk alternatives.

On a whim, and based on two things: price and calories, I picked Almond Breeze Vanilla Unsweetened.



The last time I tried melted ice cream Almond Milk I was less than impressed. While it was comparable in calories, the sweet flavor made me want to gag. Surely unsweetened will not be such, right?

Verdict...mostly right. I can at least tolerate it in my cereal. It only has 40 calories (30 from fat), 180 sodium, 190 pot, 2 carbs, 1 prot, vitamins E & D and some other stuff.

(to recap from previous trials: Almond: 60 cal (25 from fat), 0 choles, 150 sod, 150 pot, 8 carbs, 1 prot; good vitamins E, D, A, calcium. Soy: 70 cal (20 fat), 0 choles, 120 sod, 300 pot, 8 carbs, 6 prot; good vitamins B12, D, A, calcium, riboflavin, magnesium)

It's still a little thicker than I'd like (maybe I should just put water on my cereal), but there is basically no flavor, so that's good. 

The ingredients...meh. Not much worse than the others but it would be nice if there were less and they were more...pronouceable!

INGREDIENTS: FILTERED WATER,  ALMONDS, CALCIUM CARBONATE, TAPIOCA STARCH, NATURAL VANILLA FLAVOR WITH OTHER NATURAL FLAVORS, SEA SALT, POTASSIUM CITRATE, CARRAGEENAN,  SOY LECITHIN, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, VITAMIN D2 AND D-ALPHA-TOCOPHEROL (NATURAL VITAMIN E). 

PS: They need a package redesign STAT! I hate this circusy carton that looks like it should be on the bottom shelf. 

September 23, 2010

Creativity

YJDKIY got creative with the lunch bag today. Last night's leftovers of chard and tofu steak just weren't doing it for me at 7 am, so I promptly did what I do to all meals that need fixing....add cheese. And in this case, bread.


This actually turned out pretty tasty: sauted chard, tofu steaks, Laughing Cow light on a sandwich thin. I think it would have been better with provolone and a little mustard/mayo though.

September 22, 2010

More reasons

To love MadMen. Ohemgeee!



This kid is not only a fantastic actress, but she's also a better interview than her Don Draper co-star Jon Hamm (at least in his interview on TDS, snoooze!). AND she's already a fashion knockout.

Q&A - Kiernan Shipka (Sally Draper)

Q: In Episode 9, Sally cooks French toast for her dad. Have you ever made breakfast for your family? What's your favorite thing to cook?
A: I love cooking. I don't really have a favorite dish to prepare for my family -- breakfast, lunch or dinner -- but I do like going up to the farmers market on the weekends and getting fresh produce and making something with all that. I'm also really addicted to the Food Network channel. I'm totally hooked on cooking shows. Barefoot Contessa and a lot of Alton Brown.

call us not vampires

Is it weird that two people go through two LARGE cloves of garlic in a week?


YJDKIY would like to frame this for the green kitchen, please. It's from Winterberry Cottage on Etsy. And for your reading enjoyment, a whole website devoted to garlic. Some points from the health section:

  • Raw garlic is used by some to treat the symptoms of acne
  • It can be used as a natural mosquito repellant
  • Can help with high cholesterol levels
  • May work as a broad-spectrum natural antibiotic

September 21, 2010

New Use x2

1. Coconut oil (a la homemade TFB energy bars and homemade granola) in place of butter for baked apples!

2. The yogurt-fruit popscicle makers


filled and frozen with Light Chocolate Silk instead!

McQuickerton





Saute garlic in EVOO until golden, add diced zucchini and cook 5 minutes or so, add a lot of lemon juice, water, garlic powder, pepper and oregano. Add a can of white beans (I used great northern) and cook another 5 minutes. Once the lemon juice starts to thicken, add the diced tomatoes (I threw in a little white wine white vinegar because we didn't have cooking wine! Cook for about 5 more minutes and serve over whole wheat pasta with grated parm.

September 20, 2010

Wheat Berry Salad


YJDKIY had some wheat berries in bulk containers that I've just been waiting to fix!


First though, I soaked about a cup in water overnight.


Then, boiled them for about 45 minutes. To make the salad, use


chopped walnuts and dried cranberries


celery, green onion, and in the measure-mix-n-pour mustard/maple syrup/lime juice/EVOO.


Combine, chill, serve! Voila! (sorry for the sucky cameraphone photo!)


This recipe turned out super fantastic and I can't stop sneaking bites of it even thought the kitchen is closed!

September 19, 2010

Glass was a bad choice


Start with this guy (pet peeve...WHY do they have to put stickers on everything? Especially squashes and peppers? I guess it is payback for this non-local veggie splurge). Slice in half and bake (with a little water), face down for about 45 minutes at 450.


Hey you know what goes good with spaghetti squash? Glass. In the form of a shattered pyrex. I contemplated baking this on a pan instead of a dish and clearly, I didn't fully think that plan through.


When the water had baked out and it still needed a few minutes, all innocent like, I went to add another 1/4 c. water, sending pieces of glass flying across the kitchen, down every nook and cranny of the oven, and into the skin of the squash! The explosion of glass was louder than the last thing I shattered, and you're lucky YJDKIY is able to type this and no appendages were lost. Apparently there is something about thermal shock that is just some piece of common knowledge I missed. Moving on...



 

Once tender, use a fork to spaghetti it and set aside! (yes I did just use spaghetti as a verb)


For the topping, you can use just about anything you'd put on pasta. For this meal, I sauted red pepper, onion and garlic, and added a boatload of fresh spinach. Heat until wilted just perfectly. Then, add plain Oikos, nutmeg, and garlic salt, stirring until creamy.


Top the spaghetti "noodles" with spinach mix and serve with a little fresh ground pepper! This tasted pretty good and was a fantastic swap for pasta, but I have to admit, it left me a little hungry. I should have added the soysage, or some crumbled tofu, and you know, less glass, afterall.

Success!


YJDKIY finagled the other cooker into grilling up some dinner grub!


The Canine Component could hardly contain her sniffer since we got to enjoy a pre-dining, grill-side lounge on the patio (yay for 80s!). She was watching the grill flips very intently, willing something to hit the ground!


Tasty sweet potatoes, eggplant, and (organic, certified humane) chicken tenderloins with a side of kale. I think this is the first time I've had meat since lunch LAST Saturday! 1/21 is pretty good.

Dinner outside would have been perfect, except for a swarm of what I can only identify as floating white fluffy gnats tried to descend upon us. After some google searches, I come up with Mealybugs/Wooly Aphids/Whiteflies. It does look like this, but these are super tinier. Any ideas?

September 18, 2010

Hinting

There were only two veggie farmers left at the market this morning. I think that means something...

SUNDAY: spaghetti squash with creamy spinach + soysage, wheat berry salad

MONDAY: wagon wheel pasta with zucchini, cannelini, and tomatoes

TUESDAY: herb-garlic tofu steaks, lemon-parm chard, spiced apples

WEDNESDAY: polenta with veggies

THURSDAY: BEPs with cumin vinaigrette, garlicky chard, fish

FRIDAY: boxed Indian mixes with brown or basmati rice

Did you figure the hint out from the menu? It's almost fall!! Not that one could tell by the weather though:

Local Keeblery Awesome


South Fulton Street

September 16, 2010

memories like the corner of my mind

misty water colored memories...

A week ago YJDKIY was packing up for Boston! This week, I'll just have to settle for this instead.

 

Green beans in balsamic and garlic, red potatoes in (unsalted) butter and dill, and pan-seared Zesty Lemon tofu steaks.

September 15, 2010

Recycling

From time to time, YJDKIY stumbles on a tidbit that isn't my own content. I know it's hard to believe, but here's a travel/foodie list I didn't come up with! It's from Bon Appetit via Yahoo!

Each year, Bon App├ętit brings you a report on the nation's top food cities. Restaurant editor Andrew Knowlton scours the country to find towns with the most inspired culinary culture, and this year he crowned Boulder as "America's Foodiest Town 2010." Here's the run-down on why Boulder took home the title, plus a look at five runner-up destinations for the food-obsessed.

1. Boulder, Colorado
Boulder has won just about every shiny happy lifestyle award a city can: Healthiest, Most Educated, Most Bicycle-Friendly--the list goes on. And this year, it can add one more: Bon Appetit's Foodiest Town in America. Along with having fit, smart, and eco-conscious citizens, Boulder is home to a number of innovative food companies (Celestial Seasonings, Izze Beverage Company, and Bhakti Chai), top-tier restaurants, and one of the best farmers' markets in the country.
2. McMinnville, Oregon
3. Big Sur, California
4. Traverse City, Michigan
5. Louisville, Kentucky
6. Ithaca, New York




For new readers, you'll definitely want to check out my GFRT* post for more info on this topic. Now, let's hit the road!

*Great Food Road Trip

Quicheless Quiche

YJDKIY wanted this to be more of a spinach pie than quiche. So, I sauted 1/2 sweet yellow onion, 1/2 red bell, and 5 cloves of garlic in EVOO with basil, thyme, pepper, and oregano. Then, I heated up 2 bags of HT organic spinach in the skillet. I have no idea how much this is, but it was a lot! Mix all that together and set aside. Grate some various cheeses, maybe 1 c worth...I used romano, jack and parm. 



Next, saute some protein. For this version, I used frozen skrimp, but tofu or sausage would work equally as well. Once the shrimp were just done (don't over cook!), I scissored them  up in tiny pieces, and also set this aside. Whisk together about 4-5 egg whites and 1/3 c soy milk (or milk).

Use non-stick spray to coat a flat casserole, and then spoon a layer of the spinach mix in. Spread half the cheese across the layer and then pour 1/2 the egg mix over the layers. Carefully place toss the skrimp evenly across the layer, then the rest of the spinach, then the rest of the cheese (minus a tiny topping bit) and pour the remaining egg mix over the whole thing. Bake at 375 for about 30-40 minutes.

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This fruit salad contains apples, bananas, red grapes, pineapple, walnuts, coconut and 1/2 a teaspoon of EVOO mayo (plain Oikos would have been loads better, but YJDKIY was fresh out!) mixed with some excess pineapple juice.

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Homemade (but not by YJDKIY) rosemary bread!

September 13, 2010

Boston Eats & Walking Feets

YJDKIY got some super cool Keens just to hit the streets of Boston last weekend (after trying on a bagillion Merrell's and softs).


I knew there would be lots of walking...but I didn't know we'd cover 18.5 miles in 48 hours (according to my backtracking with Google Pedometer).


Waking up in NC, having breakfast in MA! A super tasty veggie omelet on an everything bagel from Quincy Market. We dined with some fowl friends.


From there, YJDKIY headed over to the New England Aquarium for some aquatic entertainment,


returning to the Market


at little after one for an organic salad (not pictured below, instead an image I highly recommend clicking on to enlarge and read),


that I promptly dumped in the very middle of my lap!


We headed back to the hotel before catching the Red Line to Cambridge. And after a drink in a local pub that completely escapes me, we headed over to dinner at


Traditional baked scrod it was for YJDKIY at Henrietta's Table.


Saturday morning was bright and early as I searched high and low around the waterfront for a coffee place open on a Saturday in the Financial District. This was the beginning of our 12 mile day!


From breakfast, we hoofed it down Summer Street to the Commons, Frog Pond, and Public Garden.


Then took a quick stroll through Beacon Hill.


Back down to lunch, turkey sandwich, asian pear and Odwalla at DeLuca's Market on Newberry Street.


After a jaunt through H&M, Filene's, and Anthropolgie, it was picture time in Copley Square. From there, back up through the Public Garden and Beacon Hill, to Boyo froyo where it was the perfect temperature for some mint-tart-chocolate.


YJDKIY head back to through the Market to Columbus Park for the Boston ahts Festival.


A performance of Boston Ballet 2 and we scored (our second set of) free Larabars and Cascadian Farm cereal.

After enjoying a little break on the waterfront behind our hotel,


YJDKIY put on some warmer clothes and took the T back over to Newberry Street for Boston's famous Upper Crust pizza.

Picnic on the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, and a nighttime stroll through the Commons (that's the moon beside the Prudential building!).


ZZzzzzzzz...


Sunday morning, YJDKIY had a little time to kill before the only open coffee joint, well, opened. So, I toured the harbor and visited with the harbor seals again.


Our last stop in Boston was at the MFA and lunch at boloco (which was tasty, but I have to say THE hardest ordering experience ever!).


Waking up in 50 degrees, dinner in 90 degrees! Whew!

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