Inspired Stir Fry

Greetings eaters!

I don’t really have anything to small talk or chat about tonight. I could ask you your feelings on towel patterns because I just noticed that all of mine are striped. But that’s really not something worth talking about. So I’ll ask you: what do you want to chat about? Anything that’s been on your mind lately?

Now, let’s talk turkey. By which I mean bacon. By which I mean money.

Did you follow?

I’m a huge fan of meal planning. When I learned how to meal plan I gained two very important things: 1) some of my money back and 2) variety. Before meal planning I would buy whatever grabbed me at the store, most of the time that was the same thing week after week.

Moral of the story: meal planning might be my best friend.

Sometimes, though, my friend and I don’t totally mesh. Sometimes I just can’t think of meals that I want to eat. So sometimes I just go to the store and see what’s on sale. I did that this week and wound up with a big bag of green beans and a few summer squash.

At first I didn’t really know what to make. Roast them up and serve them with lentils? Saute and cover in tomato sauce?

No, I was feeling something Asian. Unfortunately, I ditched most of my condiments when I moved out this summer so I had limited options when it came to a stir fry sauce.

But I decided to trust my instincts, start cooking, and wait for inspiration to hit.

First, I lightly steamed the chopped green beans and tempeh (that I had sitting around in my fridge).

Whenever I stir fry vegetables that take longer to sauté to soft I always start them off with a little steam. This gets them to the right crispness without gobs of oil. Also, steaming tempeh cuts down on the bitterness.

While that was going I started poking around in my cabinets and boom!

low fat Asian peanut sauce

Hello inspiration.

Inspiration came in the form of peanut sauce. I mixed ¼ c peanut flour (I still have a small stockpile), 2 T tamari, 1 T vinegar, and enough water to more than thin it out.

Note — you want to thin the sauce out more than you think you’ll need to because once you pour it on the hot vegetables some water will steam off and it’ll thicken up nicely.

Once the water had evaporated I added some oil and some sliced squash. Then inspiration struck again! Yesterday one of my ‘mates gave me a few mystery peppers from the garden at a school she volunteers at.

Anyone know what these peppers are?

I chose the red one, which I think is a habanero. A few quick passes of the knife and into the pan it went.

Once everything was just soft enough I turned off the burner and poured on the sauce. A quick toss, a sprinkle of sesame seeds, and lunch was served!

For a meal that didn’t start with any planning I am more than happy with how this turned out.

It had a nice combination of textures, all coated in a nice slightly tangy, slightly spicy sauce.

And it was crazy cheap and satisfying, which are two things I look for in my meals.

So even though meal planning is still my best friend, sometimes it’s okay to do things without your best friend, right?

Right!

G’night eaters!

BLT: Better Lunches Today

‘Ello eaters!

Another manic Monday is drawing to a close. How did it treat you? Was it actually manic?

Mine wasn’t. It was lovely for the most part, but it didn’t qualify as manic. Manic or not, though, my Monday was lovely. It was not a Moanday. It was not a Miserable Monday.

All those sayings annoy me.

I firmly believe in the power of positive thinking, which all of those cutesy little things go against. So in the spirit of positive thinking, let’s talk about a wonderful way to interject at least one positive note into your day:

Lunch.

Without a doubt lunch is my favorite meal of the day. It’s something to look forward to after being productive or working out all morning. It also seems like the most relaxed meal of the day, and I often eat it in the sunshine.

Today I wanted to not only enjoy my much needed break, but to also enjoy a delicious summer delicacy that I haven’t eaten nearly enough this year — BLTs!

I hate raw tomatoes, but loveloveLOVE cooked tomatoes. So step one in this BLT was to cook the T.

I sliced three Roma tomatoes in quarters and spoon out the seeds. A drizzle of olive oil, a few cracks of pepper, and a sprinkle of salt and these were ready for 35 minutes in a 375 degree oven.

While those were getting good, it was time to make the B.

Does this block look especially dark and weird?

I have never found packaged tempeh bacon, so I decided to make my own.

For once, the thinner the better.

I followed Kathy’s recipe Healthy. Happy. Life. almost to a tee, except I added a bit more liquid smoke. After enjoying super smoky bacon with manly friend and his family, I knew that I needed a few extra drops of the good stuff.

I also increased it for a whole block of tempeh. You can never have too much bacon, right?

These are crispy, not burnt.

For the L I went with a huge leaf of good old green leaf lettuce. Normally I’m a spinach ‘Baby, but some times I get in these phases where I just can’t stomach it. This is one of those times, so I went with my second favorite green.

These three components met with a slightly heavy handed schmear of spicy mustard and were happy sandwiched between two slices of bread.

Served with a super fresh peach on the side, this was a more than lovely lunch break.

Sumer staples.

But if sandwiches aren’t your thing (though I can’t imagine them not being), this can be transformed into a wonderful salad.

Simply chop up a few lettuce leaves and tomatoes, crumble the bacon on top, and whisk up a mustard vinaigrette.

3 parts spicy mustard, 2 parts olive oil, 1 part vinegar, and as much pepper as you want.

Whatever way you choose to go about it, this lunch will turn even the most unexciting of Mondays into something to write home about. Don’t just take my word for it, try it yourself.

G’night eaters!

PS- Today is manly friend and my two-year anniversary. Too bad Irene has made it impossible for him to talk to me. I’m a little bummed.

Sunday Productiveday

Hiya eaters!

Another weekend has come and gone. Mine was interesting to say the least. I hung out with so many of m’dearest friends, which was lovely. I also met a handful of new people — one or two were awesome, the rest were so effing annoying.

How do you deal with annoying people?

I think I accidentally roll my eyes and give them bitchy looks. I try not to, but sometimes I just can’t handle that.

Anywhoo, enough of me bitching about trying not to be a bitch. Beyond the surprising influx of annoying people, this weekend was a pretty run of the mill.

I raged a bit too much on Friday. I lazed around in bed most of Saturday. I ate something pizza-like (this time it was a calzone). I had a much more chill night on Saturday. And all day today I’ve been wildly productive.

That productivity included a lovely trip to EF.

Loot:

Organic free range eggs, whole wheat pastry flour, green beans, organic summer squash, organic gala apples, Fage Greek yogurt, frozen spinach, Earth Balance, EF garden marinara, whole wheat lasagna noodles, extra firm tofu, Crazy Richard’s chunky peanut butter.

After shopping I had a snack like I usually do. Except this time even eating a snack felt like crossing something off my “To Do” list.

Can someone please remind me never to buy oil-separated peanut butter? It’s a novel idea in theory, except that I hate and suck at stirring the oil back in.

Crazy Richard's peanut butter

Mixing fail.

With my arm workout done for the day, I headed over to Starfucks for some caffeine-powered reading. When the coffee ran out so did my desire to read. Off to the ceramics studio it was for me.

Did I ever tell you that I grew up doing ceramics?

I first sunk my hands into a ball of clay when I was about six. It was love at first pinch pot and I’ve been doing it pretty steadily up until coming to college. Now that I’m back in a ceramics class my love for it is coming rushing back.

Hopefully this time that love will translate to the wheel.

Once my hands were sufficiently clay-coated I headed back to my humble abode and wowed my ‘mates by doing the unthinkable — making crackers.

homemade crackers

Yes, making your own crackers is cheaper than buying them.

I whipped up a batch of Crazy Easy Crackers, except this time I skipped the rosemary and added ¼ c nutritional yeast. I think I ended up adding a bit more milk (I didn’t measure), but it all came together nicely.

And now I’m productively chatting it up with you while watching Mad Men. I still haven’t decided if I like the show. Want to convince me?

G’night eaters!

The Low Cost of Lentils

Hi eaters!

I ditched you last night, I know. But an extended happy hour was screaming my name. You understand, right?

Thanks, I knew you would.

Anyway, moving right along…

You know I’m in college, right? And you know that as a college student with astronomical book costs and the desire for a full social calendar, I’m usually a little strapped for cash. Oh, and I’m extra paranoid about being broke, so part of my “strapped for cash”ness is probably all in my head. But that’s neither here nor there.

What I’m trying to say, eaters, is that I really like cheap meals. I’m sure you do, too, right?

Of course you do!

And while all my meals are usually pretty cheap, I rarely ever think about actual cost per serving. That is until the head honcho at FaveDiets.com contacted me to ask if I wanted to be in their August blog hop-thing. The catch?

I had to make a healthy, low-cost meal.

This actually wasn’t really a catch so I was all in. So without further ado, I give you…

Lentil Stuffed Peppers

2 bell peppers

½ onion, chopped

½ cup green lentils

½ c vegetable stock

½ c tomato sauce

1 T dried thyme

salt and pepper, to taste

oil

Sauté the onion in an oiled pot over medium heat.

Aren't onions gorgeous?

Once they are soft, add the lentils and vegetable stock.

Lentils — they're what's for dinner tonight.

Note — the normal lentil to water ratio is 1:2, but in this case you’re going to be adding in more liquid (tomato sauce) and you don’t want the lentils fully cooked or else they’ll be beyond mushy once you’ve cooked the peppers.

Once the liquid is absorbed, add the tomato sauce and seasonings.

Incase you thought food bloggers were neat.

Cook for about 5 minutes, just long enough for some of the new liquids to cook off. Cut off the tops of the peppers and then carefully spoon the mixture in. If you’re awesome lucky me, you’ll have the exact amount of stuffing for the peppers.

If you have too much — eat it.

If you have too little — eh, I really don’t know.

Pop the peppers into a 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes, until the peppers themselves are beginning to wrinkle. At this point, if you’re feeling fancyrich you can sprinkle some cheese on top and throw the peppers back in the oven for another couple of minutes.

I didn't follow my own advice so my stuffing was a little watery. They still tasted good, though.

I wasn’t feeling fancy. But I did sprinkle some nutritional yeast on top.

Not many people eat lentils. Well, the French eat lentils, but not nearly enough of us Americans.

But let it be known, lentils are not just for your grandma’s lentil soup! They’re for eaters like us — broke eaters who need their protein and fiber.

Now onto the important part — the cost.

For this whole recipe it cost…drum roll…$5.09. I don’t know how hungry you are, but as long as this serves more than one person it is without a doubt a very affordable, very healthy meal. And it’s only 6 ingredients, which makes it almost perfect for all you college eaters with limited pantries.

I say almost perfect because this recipe takes away your excuse to survive off of ramen. I know, I know, I’m a horrible ‘Baby. But trust me, you’ll thank your mother and me one day.

But really, just thank your mother. All I do is stuff my face. She had to change your diapers.

And on that note…

G’night eaters!

Fitness Funks

Hello eaters!

It’s been another wild day for me. How about you?

I got all but four things off my “To Do” list. Once I finish chatting it up with you cool eaters I’ll have one less thing. Is it weird that I put you on my “To Do” list?

I’m not calling you a chore to get done, but I put everything on my list, like eating lunch, showering, and going to class.

Yup, I really love crossing things off my “To Do” list.

Want to know what I haven’t been loving lately?

The gym! Or rather, my complete lack of exercise mojo.

You know me, eaters. I used to live for pumping iron and sweating like a beast. I hated the days I missed a workout or even the days I didn’t feel like I kicked my butt hard enough.

Now…I haven’t been to the gym since Thursday.

I meant to go yesterday, but it was a weird day, as I’ve mentioned. And today I had an early doctor appointment so I couldn’t work out before class. And then there wasn’t enough time between my second and third class to eat, gym, shower. You know, my version of GTL.

But I reallyreallyREALLY need to shake this fitness funk soon, because I don’t want to put all the cool new fun equipment I got while I was home to waste. Wanna see what I got?

Of course you do!

First, a belated birthday gift from Brother!

Bike lights!

From what I understand the cops in the ‘Boro are pretty strict about cyclists having the proper lights when riding at night. I don’t think I plan on doing too much night riding, but I also wouldn’t want dusk or dawn to give me any excuse to skip my workout.

White for the front.

They have rubber loops so they stretch over any handlebars and seat posts.

Red for the back.

And they have several different light settings — continuous, fast flash, slow flash, etc. — so you can comply with whatever laws your city has.

Next, Mother hooked me up with some awesome Bikram shorts.

Nike Pro Combat

What did I just say? Oh yes, eaters! Now that I know what’s what with my not good knee and I know that Bikram won’t really do any damage I’m ready and raring to go back to Bikram…once I find time.

So with my bike and Bikram taken care of, it came time for everything else. Mother took care of that with…

Saucony Glide 4s

Just because you don’t run doesn’t mean that you don’t need new sneakers. I have two pairs that I rotate and I replace one every year. And if you do run, than you absolutely need new shoes before that.

Also with the new kicks, came some new laces.

My whole family is pretty much obsessed with elastic laces. I think my aunt, who is an Ironman triathlete, introduced us to them one Christmas. And I don’t think I’ve tied my shoes since.

So with these awesome acquisitions I’ve taken care of using the dark, dirty laundry, and difficult shoelaces as excuses.

AND today I had my first ever Zumba class. (Oh yes, PE classes in college are the bext!) At first I felt like a fool, but then I just felt out of shape. If nothing else, Zumba should get my ass in gear (and back in the shape I want it to be), right?

Right!

What else can I do to get over my funk? What fun fitness things have you gotten lately?

G’night eaters!

Beyond Bitchtastic Brownies

Hiya eaters!

Today was the first day of classes for me. Anyone else? And I’m happy to say that I survived.

It was one of those days where you have a bunch of things to do and weird times that you have to do certain things so you freak out about fitting everything in to the between times and don’t end up getting everything done. Does that happen to anyone else?

It was a weird day. But it’s over. And I just got out of the shower so I feel kind of like I washed all the weirdness away.

Even with the cleansing power of my lovely smelling bath products, I could still use another little pick me up. And now, I wish oh so badly that I had one of these bad boys.

Hello, m'most lovely lovers.

For about a week I’ve had a near-constant craving for brownies. To me, they’re the ultimate comfort food because they combine two of my favorite types of food — cold chocolate and handheld food.

Yup, I like my brownies extra fudgy and cold. I also like to eat with my hands. I’m a complex ‘Baby, what can I say.

But this past week I’ve been in need of a little extra comfort, more than your run of the mill brownie can provide. So I decided to add another of my favorite food components to really make these brownies like a soothing bear-hug of dessert.

I heart salty-sweet foods like you won’t believe. And after nearly ODing on meat and dairy with manly friend, I was craving something vonderfully vegan.

Enter:

Harsh, but hilarious.

I totally forgot I had this cookbook and am so glad I found it. And this recipe.

Ingredients.

Only made a couple of changes:

¾ c sugar

1/3 c (which is 5 T) coconut oil

pretzels!

Before I could get crazy I had to deal with a little problem of mine — I suck at melting chocolate. Have I mentioned that before?

For some reason I have always been incapable of properly using a double boiler. Until this time…

I put a long spoon in the pot, which left an opening for excess steam to escape. I also kept the heat way down. Both things helped me to produce perfect silky chocolate.

Smooth like Marvin Gaye.

From there I followed the procedure until it came time to add my special component.

Say hello to my little friend.

Which I happily relieved my stress on.

This is roughly over a cup of pretzel pieces. I used most of it.

At first I was thinking that a pretzel layer at the bottom would be nice. But then I worried that they would get a little soft. So I experimented.

Step 1 — thin layer of batter.

Step 2 — sprinkle of pretzel pieces on one half.

Step 3 — thick layer of batter.

Step 4 — sprinkle of pretzel pieces on the other half.

Step 5 — thin layer of batter.

Into the (350 degree) oven they went (for 25-30 minutes) until the smell was too intoxicating to wait any longer. And imagine my almost uncontrollable excitement when I saw that thin papery film that coats the top of only the best brownies.

After a little time in the fridge, it was time for their close up.

O’m’dieties!

These things were like barely cakey fudge.

And the verdict on the pretzels — it’s better on top.

Oh, and the coconut oil is something not to be skipped. It adds a subtle but present hint of coconut to every delicious, salt-kissed bite.

Right about now, I want one of these lovely little squares like I want a warm, attractive body in my used college bed.

Incase you’re unclear, I would like both reallyreallyREALYY bad.

Bye bye, babies.

Unfortunately, I can’t have either right now. Maybe another shower.

G’night eaters!

PS- I mused.

Moving On Up

Greetings from the ‘Boro, eaters!

I drove back up to school on Friday so I could be here bright and early for move-in day on Saturday. I hate leaving Mother and m’pup, especially since I don’t know when I’ll be seeing them again (that seems to be the theme with my family encounters lately). BUT I had a backpack full of school supplies (Do you love new pens as much as me? Probably not.) so I was also pretty excited to get back.

I moved into an apartment-style dorm on Saturday, which means that I have a kitchen.

Hot damn hooray!

Except that I live with three girls and together the four of us probably have enough stuff for two large kitchens, rather than one small one.

This is just my stuff.

So I spent this afternoon arranging and rearranging the kitchen. For a while it looked pretty bad…

I'm glad my 'mates didn't see this.

But eventually it shaped up. I didn’t end up unpacking half my stuff because my new ‘mates already had so much, but our kitchen is still super stocked. I’m a happy ‘Baby.

And I was even happier once I hit up EF (oh how I’ve missed it!) and stocked the fridge.

Loot:

Organic red leaf lettuce, green bell peppers, organic green lentils, organic tomato sauce, local wild blackberry honey, organic free range eggs, EF spicy mustard, Fage Greek yogurt, organic red onion, West Soy tempeh, Genesis bread, Roma tomatoes, and EF Volcanic salsa.

This felt like a big haul (and I was a few dollars over budget). I want to say that’s because I ditched all my condiments at the end of the summer, but I only spent about $6 on them.

Oh, and about that Greek yogurt.

Yeah…

I’ve been eating a little dairy here and there (because I’d missed out on the fro yo excitement long enough). Mother had a tub of it when I was home and I couldn’t resist seeing if it was as good as I remember.

O’m’goodness, it was! How is Greek yogurt both thick and creamy AND like a light, fluffy cloud all at the same time?

I don’t know, but I’m certainly not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. I will say, though, that my body definitely doesn’t digest dairy like it used to. Or maybe I’m just more aware of it now. I won’t go into details, but I can say that dairy isn’t going to be a regular part of my diet.

And on that note…it’s time for me to start unplugging. I’ve got my first class of my JUNIOR year tomorrow at 8:30am.

G’night eaters!

I’m a Flatlander: Date Night

‘Ello eaters!

I feel like I have talked to you in a while. I mean, sure I’m posting, but I feel like I haven’t asked how you’re doing lately.

So how are you doing?

What about you college eaters? Have you started back yet or are you soon? How’s the transition?

I go back tomorrow and start classes Monday so soon we’ll all be in the same boat.

Unless you’re not in school. Then we’ll be in the same boat in a couple of years.

But speaking of me talking at you…thanks for letting me gush so much about manly friend. I definitely gush more to you than to my real life, in-person friends.

I’m trying not to be one of those girls that gets a boyfriend and goes all gahgah, but it’s hard.

Oh, did I not mention that manly friend is now my boyfriend? Yes eaters, after almost two years of dating I finally asked manly friend to be my boyfriend. I was nervous. He laughed at me, but then he said yes.

Anywhoo, this will be my last post about Vermont, I promise. I was actually going to skip this one all together, but the food was too good to ignore.

Monday night manly friend and I decided that we needed a date — a really good date where I could wear a pretty dress and we could both order stiff drinks and feel like cool, sophisticated adults — to tide us over until we were back in the same state again. And after a cool and rainy day, he knew exactly where to take me — Fire Stones in Quechee, VT.

What makes this the perfect place to go on a dreary night?

Isn't she beautiful?

Wood fired pizza oven. And the giant wooden doors. And the general big, fancy, cozy cabin-feel.

As soon as we sat down, manly friend and I each order are stiff drinks.

Jim Beam on the rocks for him. A vodka martini, a little wet, a little dirty. Normally, I like my martinis on the dry side, but a wetter drink is so much better with a meal. No, you don’t agree?

Neither did manly friend. He hates martinis.

With drinks at the ready, we nibbled on bread.

I would love to say that this was delicious crusty bread cooked in the awe-inspiring oven, but it wasn’t. It was bread. And the butter was hard. Oh well, I’m over it. Hell, I completely forgot about the subpar bread when our appetizer arrived.

Calamari! Tossed with garlic and banana peppers over mixed greens lightly tossed with a blue cheese dressing.

O’m’hot damn delicious! But for real, eaters, I think this was the best calamari I’ve ever eaten. The breading was light and crisp, but yet thicker and more satisfying them a tempura coating. The squid inside was firm and chewy without a hint of strange bits or off-putting fishiness.

After eating a few too many of those beautiful little rings, out entrees arrived.

As soon as I saw that big beautiful oven smiling at me inside the door I knew that I was going to be eating pizza for dinner. But not just any pizza. Oh no, eaters, this was a cool, sophisticated date. It was flatbread.

I chose the Wild Mushroom and Garlic flatbread with portobello, shiitake and white mushrooms and garlic oil and four cheeses.

Blurry picture, big pizza.

This thing was huge and when I first saw it I almost considered it a challenge. But then I remembered that I was supposed to be a sophisticated ‘Baby so I coolly sipped my martini and really savored the first bite of that unbelievably thin, crisp crust. I tasted the earthy, warm flavors of each mushroom and the mellow aromatics of the sweet garlic. And then the cheese tied everything together in a creamy blanket.

My only complaint is that the crust was a little on the thin side, but manly friend claims this is unusual. I guess that just means I’ll have to go back and eat another flatbread.

Oh the sacrifices I make!

Manly friend ordered the Cedar Plank Salmon which was topped with a Dijon and brown sugar glaze, roasted on a cedar plank in the Belguin-style pizza oven, and served with a mixed green salad. I stole a bite and the salmon was flaky and flavorful and the glaze was sweet and smooth. Unfortunately, I think the glaze was a little too thick and sticky for the really light and flaky fish. But manly friend loved it.

Despite our vastly differing tastes both manly friend and I left feeling completely satisfied and warmed from the inside out. This is definitely a restaurant I would frequent if I were a local (especially since the bar seemed to be pretty popular).

Alright, eaters, my Vermont recaps are officially over. I’ll hold my girly gahgahs in more from now on.

G’night eaters!

I’m a Flatlander, part 2

Hi eaters!

I’m back in the Dirty Dirty. And while it’s great to see Mother and the pup (and Mother’s friends who are coming over tonight and my besties who I’ll also see later tonight), I’ve definitely got a crazy case of the Post-Vacation Blues.

So to combat that I’m going to bake something very comforting. And I’ll fill you in on the second half of my trip.

Let’s see, I believe I left off at lunch on Friday. Here we go…

After lunch m’manly friend and I returned to his parents’ house, which I love.

Their house is high on a hill with great views of some of the greenest hills surrounding their absolutely-not-quaint town.

Can you spot the town house?

Oh, and they have the sweetest dog Sally.

I think that's a .22 in the background.

She may not be the brightest bulb in the bunch, but she certainly is the happiest. You can hear the thump of her tail whacking against chairs and tables and walls all through the house.

Late Friday night manly friend’s brother and newly minted sister-in-law arrived. They, too, had some flight problems so we only chatted for a little before we began heading up to bed waves.

Saturday morning came very bright and relatively early with all of us getting ready for a classic Vermont party, as manly friend deemed it, that the family was having that afternoon. The main purpose for the party was the get together with everyone that couldn’t make it down to the wedding. But I really think it was just an excuse to have a party. I’m not complaining either way.

The party was set up on manly friend’s grandfather’s front lawn. His house is at the bottom of the hill and has a flat front yard, so it was a perfect place.

Bad picture. Great party.

A big tent was set up, along with a handful of yard games (apparently playing badminton for almost a straight year in middle school does not make me any good).

A great assortment of both sides of manly friend’s family was there, along with more than a handful of friends.

A bucket of beer, just what every lawn needs.

A variety of drinks, cheese and crackers, and other little nibbles started off the afternoon.

And not long after dinner was served — Big Fatty’s BBQ!

Dinner is served.

I was pretty skeptical when manly friend said they had good BBQ in Vermont. Come on, eaters, you know how big of a deal BBQ is to me. But I’m pretty sure manly friend said these guys were from around my neck of the woods, so I gave them a fair break.

And they turned out to be pretty great (in some aspects). The pulled pork left a little to be desired (it was dry and a bit tough), but the ribs were unbelievable! (Sorry, vegheads) They fell off the bone and were crazy moist and flavorful. The cole slaw was also really good, because it wasn’t drowning in mayo, but the beans were unmemorable.

The rest of the night was spent getting social and dancing as manly friend’s father crooned the night away.

When the sun rose Sunday I found myself with a pretty bad headache. (Imagine that!) I guess I shouldn’t have sipped white wine, red wine, and a vodka tonic throughout the evening. Oops…

So I spent a bit of time laying in bad, watching Netflix and chugging water with manly friend before it was time to…drum roll…shoot big guns!

This has been a joke between manly friend and I for as long as I can remember, but whenever he talks about me visiting Vermont I’ve always said I wanted to “shoot big guns.” Between him, his brother, and their father, they’ve got a pretty impressive gun cabinet.

So we grabbed four guns, plenty of ammo, and headed down the hill to an open field and a (paper) target.

I shot a .22, muzzle-loader, .303 rifle, and a 20-gauge shotgun.

O’m’gosh! The .22 was super fun and manageable, but everything else was really big and really really loud. I think I stumbled back a few steps with each of the three big guns. Manly friend claims I almost fell down when I shot the .303. I don’t think I did, but I definitely almost dropped the muzzle-loader.

Either way, it was fun, but I don’t see myself making guns a hobby of mine.

Monday and Tuesday it rained. So manly friend and I did the only sensible thing — we laid in bed. And watched The Unit. And read lots. And were just generally disgustingly cute.

The man who hates dessert was eating chocolate-covered almonds. I had to document it.

It was pure bliss.

We also went out on a lovely date Monday night, but things are already getting long winded so that’ll wait until tomorrow (or maybe another post tonight, if I’m feeling ambitious).

Thanks for giving me an excuse to gush and coo about how freaking happy I am.

Until we meet again, eaters. 

PS- Did I ever explain what a Flatlander is? Well apparently, it’s what Vermonters call anyone not from Vermont. I do believe at one point manly friend gripped about “leaf-looking flatlanders” taking pictures of their quaint town commons every fall.

Better Biscuits

Hiya eaters (and manly friend’s family)!

Sorry I didn’t post last night. Well, actually I’m not too sorry. I was on a hot date. A date that involved fire, so it actually was a hot date. And frankly, doing that was a lot more fun than sitting in a room by myself writing a post would have been.

You understand, right?

Thanks, eaters. I knew you would.

Anywhoo, I’m when you’re reading this I’ll be flying back down to the Dirty Dirty. My week with manly friend in the Great White Green North is over. I am sad. Very sad, actually, because neither of us is exactly sure when we’ll be seeing each other again.

But we can tough it out. And this week has been beyond ah-maze-ing! I’ll fill you in on the second half tomorrow, probably. Until then, though, as I’m flying home to see Mother and my dog I’ll leave you with a nice little recipe for your dogs.

He wasn't growling at me, I promise.

“Tastes Like Chicken” Oatmeal Dog Biscuits

1 c rolled oats

1 T chicken bullion powder*

1 ½ c hot water*

1/3 c shredded cheese

1 egg, beaten

¾ c cornmeal

2-3 c whole wheat flour

*If you don’t have bullion powder you can substitute the bullion and water for hot chicken broth/stock, but it won’t have as strong of a vegetable flavor.

In a medium bowl put the oats, cheese, and bullion. Pour the hot water over it and let sit until most of the water is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Next add the egg and cornmeal, stirring until everything is well combined.

Finally, add the flour in about a ½ c at a time, until a dough forms that is only slightly sticky.

From here you are more than welcome to roll the dough out on a floured surface and use cookie cutters to make pretty shapes.

It's a dog-shaped cookie cutter. Is that weird?

Or, if you’re like me and can’t seem to figure out the delicate science behind using cookie cutters properly, you can just make flat patties.

4 pretty shapes. The rest are patties.

Place these patties/pretty shapes on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake in a 325 degree oven for about 45 minutes.

Golden biscuits.

Allow the biscuits to cool COMPLETELY before serving to your four-legged friend.

But when you do, I almost guarantee your dog will love them.

Mmmm biscuit.

And you’ll feel like the most awesome person ever for feeding your pooch wholesome, homemade treats.

Can you see the excitement in his face?

You’ll feel so good, in fact, that you’ll probably feed your dog a few more.

Chomp.

And then everyone is happy.

Later, eaters.