Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy President's Day!

Hope everyone has had a fabulous President's Day! I am a little late on this post...kind of like how I was a little late checking my mail this week. Because if I had checked my mail on Friday I would have known this was waiting on me....

 A package from Semilla Snack Bags!! 
I won my first blogger/twitter contest a few weeks ago, from PureMamas. And I was the lucky recipent of 2 Snack Bags and a Snack Circle. Semilla Snack Bags are a healthy, fun, interactive way to pack snacks and ultimately help make our planet a little greener.
 I am off to pack my, if you have not already, go check out Semilla Snack Bags and PureMamas

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cookbook Club: Tomato-Rice Soup with Roasted Garlic and Navy Beans

Garlic is good for more than just keeping the Vampires away...

 In the middle ages Monks used Garlic as protection against the plague, Hippocrates used garlic vapors to treat cervical cancer, and during WWII (when antibiotics were scarce) Garlic poultices were placed on wounds.
I have been using Garlic, along with groves of Oranges, to fight away a nasty cold! Now I don't know if the whole "Garlic helps prevent..."line is just an old wives' tale but at this point I am willing to try anything!

 Last week I lived off Veganomicon's Tomato-Rice Soup with Roasted Garlic and Navy Beans. And it was Dee-lish! Another recipe A had no problem helping with, which always means a success.

2 bulbs roasted garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium-size yellow onion, dices as small as possible
1 cup long-grain brown rice*
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
2 teaspoons salt
Several pinches of freshly ground black pepper
2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can navy beans, drained and rinsed
56 ounces of water (Use the tomato can and fill twice!) 

Preheat soup pot over medium heat. Saute the onions in the olive oil for 5-7 minutes, until translucent.
Add the rice, bay leaves, thyme, marjoram, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring for about 2 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, then add the water.
Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes. 
Squeeze the roasted garlic out of its skin and into a small bowl. Use a fork to mash the garlic into a relatively smooth consistency, then add to the soup once the rice is nearly tender.  
When the rice is completely cooked, add the beans and heat through. 
Serve and enjoy (oh and don't forget to remove the bay leaves!)

*A note from the author said to make sure you use long-grain rice because short-grain rice does not cook in tomato broth. 
I still had a problem with the long-grain rice not cooking completely. I ended up adding another can of water and letting the soup simmer for an extra 20-30 minutes.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Style for a Steal

Monica Vinader Aqua Chalcedony Round Cocktail Ring $303


Camilla Ring $49

Wear it Now... Wear it Later! 
Finish the look with these fabulous pieces that easily 
transition with your closet as we burst into Spring and 
Breeze into Summer!

Wear it now with a faux fur vest and denim; then wear it later to add a little sparkle to tailored shorts with tank, or neutral stripped top with wedge sandals.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Cookbook Club: Pineapple Cashew Quinoa Stir-Fry

The evening I had originally planned to make Pineapple Cashew Quinoa Stir-fry, we came home from the grocery store to find our apartment flooded! we went to spend the night and A's parents house and the following day I came home to disinfect *read: Bleach* everything! Once I finally had the kitchen up to inspection I kicked on some tunes and got to chopping! (I must be very excited about this recipe...I have used 3 exclamation's in 3 sentences!
OK, 4.) 

Thankfully, I had read the entire recipe before attempting to prepare because you are supposed to cook the quinoa the day before and let chill in the fridge. And thankfully quinoa keeps in the fridge for more than one night because it had already be prepared, before the Flood of 2011. I actually used Red Quinoa--the "Tip box" above the recipe recommends a blend of white and red, but red is all I had. I used my steamer to cook 
the quinoa, I find it to be more dependable when it comes to cooking time, and I prepared the quinoa with pineapple juice, cold water 
and soy sauce. Isa and 
Terry were right....try it just once! Yumm! 

I made a few other adaptations to the original recipe: 
-My store was out of Raw and Unsalted Cashews--I used Roasted Salted Cashews, skipped the step where you roast the cashews, and they tasted great! (Also, made for a nice munchie while preparing!) 
-My store was also out of Red Chile, or I might not have looked hard enough. I used a fresh jalapeno instead. Still added a nice kick to the dish but I do love Red Chile... next time I will be sure to pay more attention to my peppers! 
-The recipe calls for frozen green peas or cooked edamame. Well, I used frozen edamame, no problem! I am not a huge fan of green peas anyway, but I think the flavors of this dish are best paired with just makes sense! 
-I decided to 86 the Lime wedges (for no real reason) 

The recipe is very easy to follow...chop, sizzle, stir-fry. The only problem...the recipe does not tell you when to add the cashews to the dish. I just ended up tossing them in when I added the quinoa and wet ingredients. 

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this dish! The sweet of the pineapple and the spicy of the pepper blend wonderfully. You get just the right amount of ginger, garlic, mint and basil in each bite. AND it made a ton* of (healthy, satisfying) food! Seriously, we both ate a huge helping for dinner, and I ate it for lunch the next two days! 

*I might have doubled the amount of quinoa--I don't like to measure ;) 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Game Day 2011

Good Morning Friends! 
And Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

Image from here
My "gameplan" for the day: 
-Laundry/cleaning house
-A little bit of work
-Taking Gary on a run and to the playing fields AKA the Dog park
-Hitting up TJ's and Smiths for weekly goods
-Preparing a batch of Tomato-Rice Soup with Roasted Garlic and Navy Beans (from Veganomicon)--Cookbook Club Review to follow
-Football!! (Mostly just to watch commercials and the Black Eyed Peas!!) 

What is your plan for the big game day? Going to any parties? Making any yummy treats? Who will you be cheering for? 

Me? Here's a hint... 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cookbook Club: Portobello Salad with Spicy Mustard Dressing

I told you it was coming...just a little slower than expected! It's not that I haven't been spending time with my nose in Veganomicon scouring for the winning recipes or even in the kitchen actually preparing said recipes. I have just been busy...with life, career transitions, apartment floods (!),  a certain boxer who demands serious "me" time, traveling, etc... Thank your for your patience and without further ado my first review! (haha as my Papaw would say, "You're a poet and didn't know it! Making a rhyme every time!" cheeezzeeee)

The first dish to review came after doing a quick inventory of my fridge and pantry. I wanted to use up produce and such that was getting close to end of life. I always buy a large tub of Baby Spinach, or what ever kind of greens I am feeling, this way I can quickly throw together a salad for lunch or toss some in the blender for a delicious green lemonade and I can even mix into whatever I plan to prepare for pasta and marinara with wilted spinach, spinach and black bean quesadilla or... a Portobello Salad with Spicy Mustard Dressing! I also had an open can of Chickpeas with only about a spoonful or two missing (topping for a lunch salad!) I was also not wanting to spend a ton of $$ on different ingredients for a fancy smancy dinner, that I would be eating alone...A had a man-date! So there it was, a recipe with the majority of ingredients already on hand, a dinner of something tasty that I wouldn't normally prepare for family dinners (A hates shrooms!) and I would have plenty of left-overs for lunch the next day!

After work I stopped by Trader Joes to pick up two large Portobello caps, a bottle of vino (hey, the recipe called for it!) and Grapeseed Oil. From what I understand Grapeseed Oil can be on the more expensive side, but I always depend on TJ's for oils, condiments and spices at a reasonable price!

Once home, I gathered all ingredients only to realize I had no garlic...So I made due and diced up some onions to the Portobello marinade. I also added about a 1/2 cup more wine to the marinade than the recipe actually called for. I guess I had some big shrooms because they were just screaming for more juice! While the Portobellos roasted in the oven, I prepared the Spicy Mustard Dressing.

The recipe says, "Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Done." Then to toss the salad with ALL of the dressing (in my opinion that's A LOT of dressing for one salad!). I decided to prepare the dressing in a jar, then I could use a tablespoon (or two) for the salad and have dressing for the rest of the weeks lunches.
Next I prepped the salad... Spinach, Red Onion, Avocado, Chickpeas. Tossed with Spicy Mustard dressing and ready to be topped with slices of roasted Portobello!

The Portobellos smelled delicious while in the oven and 
tasted just as great once they were out!
I really enjoyed this salad but next time I will leave the Chickpeas out...or maybe warm them up a bit first. Not that I 
don't love Chickpeas but something about the flavor just 
didn't mesh well to me.

FYI that second Portobello cap that I saved for lunch the 
following day.... Made my day! I enjoyed it with spinach and red quinoa and a drizzle of the Spicy Mustard dressing....YUM!


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