WIAW: Retail Therapy

Woohoo eaters!

It’s Wednesday, which means we’re halfway to the weekend. And it means that I’ve tackled a major hurtle in the process of getting my Visa for London — biometric scanning!

I had to drive to Raleigh and wait around a boring office for them to scan my fingerprints.

It was loads of fun.

Anywhoo, now onto something that actually is loads of fun…

Breakfast:

Fried eggs with kale, Genesis bread, chipotle salsa, and Crofter's jam.

Yes, it’s still eggs, but these are a little fancier.

I got the idea to add a schmear of jelly from Julie, who constantly eats jelly, cheese, and egg sandwiches.

The sweet schmear isn’t overpowering, but it plays so nicely off the chipotle salsa and the peppered eggs.

Mmm….

Lunch:

Mushrooms and greens tacos.

Oh tacos, you are so delicious. I love eating with my hands. And you make me happy.

(Can you tell I was singing that? If not, it sounds pretty weird.)

Also, did I ever explain why I use a spoon when I eat tacos?

Well, for multiple reasons. Spooning the filling into the tortillas. Spooning on the salsa. And spooning anything that fell right into my mouth.

Lunch dessert:

Pure, sugary mouthgasm.

I don’t want to hear a single word about chemicals and preservatives and whatnot. I know this will probably wreak havoc on my insides at a level comparable to eating sugar-coated packing peanuts.

But o’m’gosh eaters, the second you sink your teeth into that sweet, soft, cakey cookie covering in almost sickeningly sweet icing and feel the tiny crunch of sprinkles, you won’t care about chemicals either.

Breakdown:

I don’t mean this like an emotional breakdown. I mean it like the breakdown in a (hardcore) song when everything changes.

It was around this time that I got some bad news from home. And this news worsened dramatically as I sat in my next class.

I really don’t want to go into it — partially because this doesn’t seem like the right time or place, partially because I already said it on Twitter (also not the right place), and partially because I doubt it will affect my day-to-day so it feels weird to mention — but it was the kind of bad news that makes you look back through old FB photo albums and feel almost painfully nostalgic.

Yeah…

“Dinner”:

Honeycrisp apple and Crazy Richard's pb.

So when I get back from class there was only one thing I wanted to do — eat my emotions.

Yes, I know this is bad. You’re not supposed to turn to food for comfort because blah blah blahblahblah.

But I’m okay with eating my emotions sometimes. It so rarely happens and I don’t all out binge and I genuinely felt comforted after eat this while watching bad TV.

And I also felt genuinely comforted after…

Retail therapy:

This wasn’t so much about shopping to easy my feelings, but more walking up and down the Christmas aisles to get some Christmas cheer. Living in a dorm makes it almost impossible to feel cheery because they’re not cozy and no one decorates.

A potentially painful reindeer ring.

So after ample time with m’lovely lady Janet trying on rings and deciding which would hurt worse to get punched with, we ventured over to the happiest place on earth in Target.

Lots of fun things happened.

We pressed every single button on the holiday CD display.

We debated the merits of each color of metallic Christmas tree.

We talked to a very cute employee stocking shelves.

And in the end, I got a GREEN metallic tree.

Which I made a star for out of tin foil.

I feel cheerier already.

So to sum up yesterday: it was good, it got bad, it got better, I ate lots.

The end.

What about you:

What do you turn to when you are looking for a little comfort from food?

Do you think there’s any merit to buying a green metallic tree?

Later eaters!

I Hope You’ve Learned Tacos

Hi eaters!

It’s Tuesday, as you probably already know. There really isn’t much to say about Tuesdays in general, or this Tuesday in particular.

So let’s talk about something that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately: learning.

I love to learn.

Proof: as I write this, I’m listening to NPR and learning about dynamic windows and how the NHL has more reliable brain damage testing then the military.

More proof: when I was younger I thought about being a college professor because the idea of being in a career based on constantly learning was thrilling.

I honestly hope I never stop learning. And so far I haven’t.

From this blog alone, I’ve learned an immense amount.

I’ve learned how to create recipes. I’m still learning about photography and plating. I’ve learning (and hopefully will always keep learning) about nutrition. I’ve learned cooking techniques.

The list goes one.

And hopefully (oh I really really hope so), you’ve learned a thing or two from reading my blog.

I hope you’ve learned to see the potential from a pile of vegetables.

I hope you’ve learned that vegetables are really awesome.

I hope you’ve learned that there are two ways to skin a cat raccoon. By that I mean, you can rip kale off the stem by hand, or you can cut it off with a knife. Neither is wrong because both result in stem-less kale.

I hope you’ve learned that having a good recipe to follow can make cooking easy.

On the flipside, I hope you’ve learned when a recipe isn’t that good.

Note — If a recipe suggests sautéing with water, not oil, and doesn’t have any spices, it’s probably not a good one.

I hope you’ve learned how to be confident enough in the kitchen (because, honestly, if I can do it, so can you) to use that bland recipe as a jumping off point and create something delicious.

Mushrooms and Greens Tacos

I hope you’ve learned that just about anything sautéed up with cumin and cayenne can be put in a tortilla and called tacos.

1 container mushrooms, roughly chopped

½ (red) onion, diced

~2 c kale, roughly chopped*

2 cloves garlic, minced

¾ c TVP**

1 T ground cumin

~1/2 t cayenne, optional

~1/2 t salt, divided

½ T (apple cider) vinegar

oil

water

tortillas and salsa, to serve

*Substitution — Use any green you want. Chard, spinach, or whatever you have on hand.

**Substitution — Beans or crumbled tempeh would also work if you can’t find TVP. But, really, try to find TVP (Bob’s Red Mill sells it). It’s a really fun and easy ingredient.

Heat a drizzle of oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onions and stir to coat. Sauté the onions until they are just softening, add to garlic, and continue cooking until everything is fragrant and almost translucent.

Next, add the mushrooms, TVP, and a good sprinkle of salt.

Note — When you salt things matters. Salting early draws out water (which is what we want here), while salting later adds flavor.

Stir everything together and cook until the mushrooms are soft and the TVP is soft. Add the cumin and cayenne, stir, and cook until fragrant (about a minute or two).

Toss in the kale, another sprinkle of salt, and a dash of water. Stir everything together, trying to get the kale covered by the mushroom mixture, and cook until the kale is wilted down.

Finally, add the vinegar, give everything one more good stir, and spoon the mixture into tortillas.

This recipe may not seem very different from the original. But it’s worlds away, flavor-wise.

The addition of a little cumin, cayenne, and salt made this more then a bland, mushy pile of sautéed vegetables. The kale held up better then chard would have. And by swapping TVP for the beans I used what I had on hand and upped the protein and fiber.

These tacos became something delicious and filling, that makes you want to eat your vegetables. All because I learned how to confidently depart from recipes.

Another thing I hoped you’ve learned — salsa makes (a lot of savory) things better.

Yup, better.

Your turn:

What’s something you’ve learned lately?

What’s something you want to learn here?

G’night eaters!

Eat Your Pantry

Greetings eaters!

I’m officially done talking about Thanksgiving, although I am still very much craving Thanksgiving food since I never did get any leftovers.

Oh I really want some cranberry chutney and manly friend’s mother’s corn bread stuffing. And maybe a hot turkey sandwich, even though I don’t know what that is but manly friend wouldn’t stop drooling over the mention of them.

But enough of that. Time to move onto something more relevant.

I will be home in the Dirty Dirty in 19 days. And when I leave school this time, I won’t be coming back.

So I don’t only have to worry about eating up my produce, but eating up everything. Because no one wants to pack food, right?

Right!

Of course, I didn’t remember this when I went grocery shopping yesterday. So rather then structuring my meals this week around what I already have on hand, I bought a bunch of food.

And by a bunch of food, I mean the first shopping trip in as long as I can remember when my giant reusable shopping bag wasn’t big enough.

Yup, I’m not the brightest ‘Baby. And this is also the first shopping trip in as long as I can remember when I couldn’t fit everything into one picture.

Produce loot:

Grimmway Farms organic beets, organic parsley, organic broccoli, Grimmway Farms organic dino kale, organic honeycrisp apples, organic red onion, organic baby ‘bella mushrooms.

“Dairy” loot:

Edenwood soy milk, organic free range eggs, Chobani plain Greek yogurt, Twin Oaks tofu, and organic EF pinto beans.

Note — I have no effing clue why I put the beans in this picture group. But I was too lazy to re-take the picture. So just pretend the beans are in this picture group…

Pantry loot:

Yellow corn grits, Crazy Richard’s chunky pb, Cliff Z bars, Ezekiel tortillas.

So now my section of the fridge looks like this:

My part of the pantry:

A handful of bulk bin bags and a couple of cans.

That includes way too much TVP. And the usual random stuff that everyone has.

And some unpictured freezer stock:

A few servings each of SP Squared Chili and Comforting Beta Carotene Soup, a pretty big nub of fresh ginger, and most of a bag of frozen peas.

Yup, I’m not exactly the smartest ‘Baby, but I will be the best fed.

So over the next 19 days expect to see lots of delicious, low cost, pantry-centric eats. Oh, and lots of green things.

Side note — oil separating nut butters blow, but it was almost $2 cheaper then my usual brand.

Your turn:

How do you clean out your fridge?

And what tends to accumulate in the back of your pantry?

G’night eaters!

Digital Leftovers

Hiya eaters!

Sorry I left you hanging after Wednesday. I took a much needed complete and total computer and work break starting Wednesday at noon until I got home Friday. And it felt oh so wonderful.

I so loveloveLOVE my occasional techno breaks.

But now I’m back in the real world with Monday’s promise of work looming. So instead of focusing too much on that, let’s take just one more look at Thanksgiving.

Think of it like digital leftovers.

That is one of the sweetest, prettiest dogs. And manly friend isn't half bad either.

Manly friend's nicely laid out appetizer board.

Manly friend's parents watching the neighborhood kickball game.

Beet tasting.

The man of the house carving the turkey.

Manly friend's mom's homemade rolls.

I've never had salad on Thanksgiving.

Sides...

My cranberry chutney.

Gravy and fan-freaking-tastic maple butter.

My messy plate.

Manly friend's cleaner, prettier plate.

Self-timer group picture fail.

Self-timer group picture almost not a fail.

Father son love.

The rest of the night was filled with some unpictured pecan pie, plenty of wine, and manly friend’s father not trying to eat the cat.

Manly friend and I headed back to the ‘Boro on Friday. We had made a heaping plate of leftovers to take with us, but that got forgotten in the fridge. So come dinner time we did the only reasonable thing for two kids still recovering from ample amounts of fried food, wine, and carbs:

His and hers EF salads.

With a Thanksgiving-themed muffin for dessert.

It was a damn good mini-vacation. And a thoroughly successful first holiday with manly friend’s family.

Your turn:

What was your favorite part of Thanksgiving?

Do you still have leftovers?

And have you decorated for the December holiday yet?

G’night eaters! 

WIAW: Quick and Dirty

Hi eaters!

This post is going to be quick and dirty because I’m rushing around like crazy trying to get everything done before manly friend gets here and we leave for Charleston.

Did I ever mention that manly friend and I are going to be in Charleston for Thanksgiving?

Well we are. So, if any of you cool eaters are going to be around those parts you should hit me up and we can hang out and become life long friends.

Sounds good?

I thought so!

Alright, time for business.

Breakfast:

Scrambled eggs with baby kale, mushrooms, and green onions and Genesis toast.

Yes, this is pretty much the same breakfast I eat everyday. But this time I threw in some mushrooms and green onions that were still hanging around from Friday’s dinner.

It made it feel fancier, upped my veggie intake, and used up some produce that would have gone bad by the time I get back.

Win-win-win!

Treat:

My English professor is awesome and not just because she brought us donuts.

She’s also awesome because she scheduled our assignments so that we’ll have very little left to do (and nothing major) after Thanksgiving, which is when all my other classes will have big assignments due.

Glazed chocolate old fashioned.

So that paper I was semi-live tweeting on Monday was my last big assignment for this class, thus is delicious donut was like a glazed sigh of relief.

Lunch:

Leftover dumpling filling, peas, TVP, green onions and sauce.

Did I mention that I didn’t go grocery shopping this week? And that I’m trying to eat up my fridge?

Yeah, that explains this bowl. Well, that and the fact that I just found a giant bag of TVP that I forgot about. And I was in a hurry.

Dark chocolate with sea salt and nuts.

Luckily, though, this meal satisfied me and didn’t taste half bad. Neither did the chocolate I finished with.

Happy hour:

It had been a hot minute or two since my friend Liz and I had hit up happy hour at Natty Greene’s.

Heissan x2

So we both ordered a couple of pints of the daily draw and some nibbles.

My contribution was hummus.

And…scene!

Alright eaters, that’s all I’ve got for you now. I might pop in for a hot minute tomorrow, but no promises. I might be too busy stuffing my pie hole with…pie.

Happy Thanksgiving, eaters!

Starring: Produce

‘Ello eaters!

I am officially on Thanksgiving break. Well, except for a little bit of work I’m going to do until manly friend and I leave tomorrow, but it’s ceramics so I hardly consider that work.

So needless to say, I’m feeling pretty damn happy right now. Add on top of that the fact that I finished a huge paper Monday night which I really didn’t expect to have finished before break and the supah fun Zumba class I had today (where we taught our choreographed dances) and I’m pretty on top of the world.

So of course, when I’m feeling this jazzed about everything, it makes sense to talk about other things that are awesome in my life, right?

Yup, it does!

One of the perks of being a food blogger (besides making your neighbors think you’re crazy when you set up photoshoots on your front porch and spending too much money on fancy pb) is that occasionally you get free stuff. Sometimes a company will stumble on the ole’ blog here, decide that I’m their cup of tea kind of ‘Baby, and ask me to review their product.

This doesn’t happen often, as I don’t want this to become a commercial for anything other then how awesome I am, but when it does it’s pretty fun. (Unless I get asked to review baby products. For the love of all things good, stop contacting me about baby things. I don’t have a baby or plans to have a baby anytime soon.)

Usually I get asked to review snacky things or things I just don’t buy in general, but like as a treat. Obviously, someone giving me treats is all fine and dandy. I’m not complaining.

But recently, I was asked to review something that I buy all the freaking time — vegetables.

More importantly, I was asked to review vegetables from a farm that, unbeknownst to me, make up the majority of the vegetables I buy — Gimmway Farms, better known as Cal-Organic.

Really, I didn’t realize until I actually checked out Grimmway Farms, but you’d be hard pressed to find a week of groceries when I didn’t buy something — kale, carrots, beets, etc. — from Grimmway. And in realizing how loyal of a patron I already was, I always realized how much I already loved their produce.

I’ve never had a bag of their carrots go limp or slimy before I’m done. I’ve never had wilted or too small beet greens. I’ve never had those funky dark, soft spots on my broccoli.

I honestly can’t think of a time when I wasn’t thoroughly pleased with my produce.

So, in honor of good simple produce, here’s a little recipe to pay homage to where it all started for Grimmway Farms — carrots.

Real Glazed Carrots

Did you know that glazed vegetables don’t have to be coated in a thick layer of sugar and maple syrup? Now you do.

4 carrots

1 ½ T butter

~ 1/3 vegetable broth

salt and pepper, to taste

desired spices and herbs, optional (I used ~3/4 T fresh ginger)

After removing the ends from the carrots (you can also peel them, but I never bother), cut each carrot in half and then into ~1 ½” logs.

Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the carrots and toss to coat. Pour in the broth until it is roughly halfway up the carrots, but definitely don’t submerge the carrots. Add your seasonings, as desired. Bring the pan up to a simmer.

Now here comes a fun trick: make a cartouche.

This sounds like a fancy French thing, but really it is a piece of parchment paper (which you can cut to about the size of your pan, if you actually want to be fancy) with a hole in the center. This allows the steam to evaporate slowly to ensure that the vegetables are cooked through and that too much glaze doesn’t evaporate.

As you can tell, I'm not that fancy.

Place the cartouche over your pan and leave to simmer until the carrots are tender and there is just enough glaze left to coat everything without being liquidy.

If the carrots aren’t cooked enough when the glaze is almost gone, add in a little more broth. If the glaze is too liquidy when the carrots are almost done, remove the cartouche to speed along the evaporation.

Now eaters, this isn’t a dish that will win over your maple-loving relatives. Nor will it ever be mistaken for dessert.

But that’s okay. Because this dish isn’t about finding ways to choke down vegetables. This dish is about making them the star.

And since the people at Grimmway farms have made carrots their live since 1968, you really should trust that they don’t need a lot of extra stuff to be good.

What do you think eaters:

Do you like your vegetables really gussied up or simple?

What was the last Cal-Organic vegetable you bought?

G’night eaters!

Comforting Beta Carotene Soup

Hiya eaters!

I’ve got an amazing recipe for you tonight so let’s skip the small talk and get right to it, shall we?

Alright!

As the weather turns colder I crave comfort in every form. I can’t be the only one, can I?

Surely not.

And I’m sure for some people that comfort takes the form of your grandma’s brownies or your dad’s old alma mater sweatshirt or an afternoon knitting in front of a fire.

For me, that comfort recently took the form of an evening in the kitchen making soup.

The weather wasn’t particularly cool. I wasn’t feeling sickly or even too terribly down in the dumps.

But that didn’t stop me.

So I spent an evening chopping and sautéing and simmering and stirring. In the process I looked down at my ingredients and realized something.

If I had been sick or cold or missing home or down in the dumps, these ingredients would have warmed me from the inside out. And I was suddenly struck with the desire to feed someone, to comfort someone from the inside out.

That desire and the giant pot bubbling in front of me almost made me feel tinges of loneliness or like my soup was missing some ingredient that I could never find in my spice rack.

And that feeling hung over me like the taste of burnt garlic … for a few minutes. And then I realized, as I lifted the lid for a taste and the happy smells from my big bubbling pot wafted into my face, that I could comfort myself. That not every meal needed to be shared. That not every minute needed to be spent checking things off my “To Do” list or doing something for someone else. That I deserved to comfort myself.

So for me that night, comfort meant eating a big bowl of warm, simple soup while I curled up on the couch with Netflix.

And maybe next time I make this soup it’ll mean sharing a blanket or a bottle of wine with some I love.

Or it’ll mean defrosting a serving when my throat is sore and the thought of getting out of bed is unbearable.

But whatever form comfort takes at the moment, this soup won’t disappoint.

Comforting Beta Carotene Soup

1 onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 sweet potato, chopped

1 c split peas

2 T fresh ginger, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

5 c water or stock, divided

1 t ground ginger

½ t coriander

1 bay leaf

~1/4 t salt

oil

Add the onion to an oiled pot over almost medium heat. Stir to coat and then allow the onions to caramelize. If you’re super impatient, you can skip this step, but this is supposed to be a slow cooking, simple flavor-packed soup, so you really shouldn’t skip it.

Once the onions are caramelized, deglaze the pot with about ¼-1/3 c cooking liquid. Add the carrots, fresh ginger, and garlic and bring up to a simmer.

Once the pot has simmered for a couple of minutes, add the rest of the cooking liquid, split peas, ground ginger, coriander, salt, and bay leaf.

Bring all of this back up to a simmer and leave for a couple of minutes. Then add the chopped sweet potato.

Cover the pot and leave it to slowly simmer for around 30-40 minutes, until the split peas are soft. You don’t have to worry about the vegetables getting too soft or falling apart, because you’re going to puree some or all of the soup.

Once everything is soft, turn off the stove, take out the bay leaf, and let the soup cool slightly before pureeing.

If you’re fancy and have an immersion blender, I suggest you use it here.

If you’re normal and have a regular blender, that also works.

I am neither of those things, so I pureed my soup in batches in my Magic Bullet.

How much of the soup you puree is up to you. This is your form of comfort, remember?

I think I pureed about ¾ of mine, which resulted in a creamy texture with a little bit of chew in every bite. And that’s just how I like my soups.

But to increase the chew factor, I sprinkled on some black pepper (not related to chew) and salted sunflower seeds.

Every bite had a hint of salty crunch enveloped in a fluffy, soft cloud of sweet potato and kisses of ginger.

Pair it with a hunk or good bread or a glass of red wine and a warm blanket, and this soup will comfort you in whatever way you need.

Or it’ll comfort whoever else needs it.

Like I said, this soup won’t disappoint.

Your turn:

What does comfort mean to you?

And how pureed do you like your soup on a scale or chunky to baby food?

G’night eaters! 

Better Then Take-Out

Hiya eaters!

It’s Sunday and normally I talk about the groceries I bought today. I think of it as a way for you to follow along if you want to cook and eat like me for the week.

But I didn’t go grocery shopping today.

Instead, I did some homework, enjoyed a couple of hours of beautiful weather, and made a trip to Target specifically for licorice and yarn.

I consider it a pretty rawesome (really awesome) day.

But since you don’t want to see pictures of me watching “30 Rock” and knitting yet another scarf, I’ll show you pictures of Friday’s dinner, which was exciting.

It all started on Thursday, when I was text-planning my weekend with manly friend. He requested Asian food for dinner on Friday.

At first, I tried to find a good Chinese food restaurant around, one where manly friend could wear his uniform black t-shirt and jeans and that wasn’t connected to a gas station or laundromat.

Yes eaters, we do have high standards.

But the more I thought about it, the less excited I was about the idea of going out to eat. Because while I enjoy a dinner out as much as the next person that’s too lazy to do dishes, I like it to feel special.

And going out as much as manly friend and I have been lately has begun to lose its sparkle. So rather than fork over money for food I couldn’t probably make myself, I decided to…make food myself.

Novel idea, isn’t it?

First, I started with appetizers.

Rather than bastardize eggrolls, I decided to do something simpler. Enter: steamed dumplings.

Rough chopping is perfect for fillings.

For the filling I went with mushrooms and carrots, which I lightly sautéed until soft in tamari sauce.

I then added a scoop to a wonton wrapper, sealed the edges with water, and put them in the vegetable steamer of my rice cooker over my rice.

Note — to keep the delicate wontons from sticking I cut a piece of wax paper on lined the steamer with it. The dumplings steamed wonderfully and nothing stuck.

While my rice cooker was doing double duty, I got to work on the main event…

Mongolian Beef

This was very heavily inspired by this Food.com recipe. Have I mentioned that I don’t know how to cook meat?

1 lbs flank steak (from EF, which means it’s not funky)

½ c water

½ c soy/tamari sauce

½ c brown sugar

1 T fresh ginger, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 green onions, chopped

1 1/2 T sesame seeds

2 T sriracha, optional

oil

Heat a drizzle of oil in a pan/wok over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and garlic, toss quickly, and then add the water, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and brown sugar.

Heat the sauce until simmering before pouring it into a bowl.

Slice the flank steak into strips against the grain. I also sliced the whole thing in half, to get pieces that are about 2” long and ¼” wide.

Heat another drizzle of oil in a pan/wok over high heat. Add the steak and cook until it’s all browned.

Add the sauce back into the pan/wok and simmer until it thickens, about 10 minutes. It won’t seem particularly thick, but it will thicken further as it cools. A minute or two before you’re done cooking, add in the green onions.

Serve the beef over (brown) rice, garnished with green onions.

I don’t remember the last time I had Mongolian beef, nor do I know how authentic Mongolian beef is.

I’m guessing not very.

But this stuff was delicious. It wasn’t like take-out, because it didn’t come with a million little sauce packets and slight nausea.

The meat was tender, but you could actually tell it was meat, unlike take-out. The dumplings were tasty without being sickly sweet, unlike take-out. And the rice wasn’t stick to the roof of your mouth sticky, also unlike take-out.

So all in all, this meal was a winner. Even if it did involve manly friend laughing at me while I jumped up and down in front of the stove freaking out about under-cooking the meat.

Have I mentioned that I don’t know how to cook meat?

Yeah. But no one got food poisoning so I call it a success.

Your turn:

Do you ever try to one up take-out at home?

And what do you order when you’re getting Chinese?

G’night eaters!

Guest Post: Manly Friend Makes Dinner

G’evening eaters!

I’ve got to say, you really make me feel like a nerd. From everyone’s comments last night it appears that it’s cool to be a procrastinator. Too bad I haven’t procrastinated anything since high school.

Then again, I probably was cooler in high school.

But I digress…

As I mentioned last night, I’ve got another guest post from man mountain for you tonight.

Don’t worry, there won’t be any skinning animals or knife-in-mouth pictures. But there will be a cute man.

AND a recipe. A real recipe.

(Sorry Will, but yours doesn’t quite count as a real recipe.)

So, enough of my gushing. Here’s manly friend, I mean Leon.

—————————————-

Hey bloggers,

Or should I say an official hello to everyone for the first time. Yes it is the long anticipated manly friend post. Or maybe this is the first you’ve heard about it as well. Don’t worry, I never thought it would happen either.

That's his serious face.

Notice my happiness at the idea of blogging.

Believe it or not, when I first meant Kara she wasn’t vegan. In fact, the first time we went out to dinner with her Papa she ordered a rib-eye steak, medium rare, with garlic mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus. And no, I wasn’t surprised. But as they say, I digress.

(I’m butting in — That’s not what I ate. It was a bacon-wrapped filet mignon with an herb-roasted tomato and goat cheese tartlet. There may have been some asparagus, but I don’t remember.)

As a precursor to tonight’s dish I invite you all to read the recipe posted previously by my friend Will. Tonight’s post contains a more domestic spin on the main course, raccoon. Yes, you heard right, raccoon. Although, this post won’t be as hilarious as Will’s it will however be more edible, or at least that’s the hope.

For the main dish you will need:

Two rump roasts of raccoon

One medium onion

Three carrots

Three slices of bacon

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup white wine

½ cup apple butter

1 tblsp honey

Salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme.

We begin with two rump roast cuts of raccoon (see Will’s post for preparation).

Next pour yourself a glass of Jim Beam (this is not a requirement for the recipe, just how I prefer to do things). You should probably start the oven at 350 degrees also.

Next, sautee one medium onion and two cloves of garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

Will actually made me stand out of the picture for this one. He was thinking on behalf of you guys.

Once the onion has started to brown add vinegar and white wine to the pan. Top with dried rosemary and thyme (hopefully from your mothers herb garden, if not don’t worry about it) and allow to simmer for about five minutes.

While onion is cooking peel and cut three carrots and prepare a dredge of:

2 tblsp flour

1 tsp black pepper

½ tsp salt

½ tsp papkrika

1/3 tsp cayenne pepper

After the five minutes, or really however long it takes you to make the dredge and cut three carrots, transfer onion mixture to the bottom of the baking dish. Add prepared carrots, placing them on top of the onion mixture.

Dredge and fry roasts until both sides are browned and begin to look crispy. This will help the juices stay in the roasts during the baking. Once meat is browned, place on top of onion and carrots. Cover with bacon strips, apple butter and honey to top of roasts.

Any applesauce or honey can be used here, I was lucky enough to have homemade apple butter and local honey from Will’s cousin.

That apple butter is addictive. Will once drank a whole jar. In the car. On the way home.

Place the prepared roasts in the 350 degree oven for about three to four hours, or until the meat has started to separate from the bone.

Half an hour before raccoon is done, melt about a tablespoon each of butter and brown sugar in a pan. Once melted, add one cubed sweet potato and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until tender.

Serve with pickled beets and an ice cold beer.

Lest we forget, fresh baked cinnamon bread with a glass of hot whiskey and cider to complete the gourmet mountain meal.

You get so many cool points if you know where the ants reference is from.

Don’t leave the cinnamon bread uncovered though. Cause that’s how you get ants.

That’s all for this first time blogger. I hope you’ve enjoyed the experience as much as me, maybe more. Don’t like the post too much though because that will mean Kara will enlist me for another of my lonely old man on the mountain ramblings. And I’m not sure there is any more room for blogs in my life right now.

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By no more room in his life for blogging, he means no more room for “hipster activities,” as he and Will deem blogging. 

I don’t know if those two mountain men realize that they both just willing participated in “hipster activities.” 

M’gosh, I am such a lucky ‘Baby to have such wonderful men in my life.

Hopefully you haven’t found these mountainous guest posts too boring. I know I’ve enjoyed the heck out of them.

But really, what do you think:

Would you like to see some future posts from man mountain?

And what’s the weirdest thing (meat or otherwise) that you’ve ever eaten?

G’night eaters!

WIAW: Procrastination To The Max

‘Ello eaters!

It’s halfway through the week and I am dominating my “To Do” list.

Correction: I’m dominating everything but my 15-page English paper that’s due on Tuesday.

Now being the nerdy ‘Baby that I am I’m more then a little nervous about this, but I keep reminding myself that I still have a week to work.

So, in the name of procrastinating, let’s get down to business.

Breakfast appetizer:

As soon as I got out of bed I was ready and raring to hit up the ceramics studio. So rather than waiting for my appetite to come back after chugging water, I grabbed this baby and ran.

By ran, I mean worked. I’m working on my final project where I get to make absolutely anything that I want to.

Obviously, I’m jazzed as fuck.

At one point my sculpture needed some time to dry, so I took that (and my quietly growling stomach) as a cue that it was time for…

Breakfast:

Scrambled eggs, yogurt with granola, and half an apple pastry.

I don’t remember the last time I went to the dining hall for breakfast. I went almost every day when I was a freshman because my friends liked to go to Starbucks at 7am before breakfast and class.

After this meal (where I passed up greasy hashbrowns, bacon, and Cap’n Crunch), I don’t think I’ll be wasting another meal from my plan on morning fare.

Killing time:

Class got out early so I had a few minutes to spare until Zumba.

I spent those few minutes playing around with my camera and trying to understand Ashley’s latest photography 101 post.

Um…I think I need some help.

Where's the banana?

Somehow I flipped a few dials and pushed a few buttons and ended up with a couple of these pictures.

Yeah…

Oh, and I also took a few bites of the banana.

Those few bites reminded me how much I don’t really like plain bananas.

Zumba:

Class wasn’t as excitingly action-packed as usual because I teacher had something dangling in her eye. Instead she gave us the assignment of choreographing a dance, which you’ll almost definitely never see.

Sorry for being a tease.

Lunch:

Orange balsamic glazed tofu.

This salad is still good, even after a couple of more days marinating in the fridge.

Genesis toast with Crofter's jam.

And because I both like to end things on a sweet note and have two jars of jam to eat, a little healthier dessert was in order.

It did the trick better than my ‘mate’s Halloween candy.

Dinner:

Recipe TBA.

I was going to post the recipe for this soup tomorrow, but then manly friend sent me the guest post that he’s been talking about writing.

So…I’ll probably put up his post tomorrow, because the soup recipe will keep (just like half the batch is going to keep wonderfully in my freezer).

That’s all I’ve got for tonight. I would say that I’m going to get some work done on my paper, but I really shouldn’t lie to you.

What about you:

Are you a procrastinator?

And did you eat in the dining hall a lot in college?

G’night eaters!