Help Me With My Homework

Hiya eaters!

Things are chugging along nicely over here. I’m working and working out as much as possible before classes start back and it was warm enough on Saturday for Leon to smoke up a big rack of ribs.

So yeah, things are good.

And now, here’s a blog:

Yup, this is for real. So please, m’dear eaters, help me.

Email me at kara_h_thomas @ yahoo . com and let me know about any dietary restrictions or allergies, and I’ll set you up with a recipe from my little cookbook.

 And then I’ll thank you personally in my thesis/cookbook. You’ll be like a celebrity. Except on a very small scale.

Fried Pumpkin Donuts with Maple Glaze

Yields ~2 dozen

Donut Ingredients

2 ½ c all purpose flour

1 c whole wheat pastry flour*

4 t baking powder

½ t baking soda

1 t salt

1 t ground cinnamon

½ t ground ginger

1 c sugar

3 T unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 large egg

2 egg yolks

1 t vanilla extract

½ c buttermilk**

1 c pumpkin puree

canola or vegetable oil, for frying

*Regular whole wheat flour is too coarse for this recipe so only use whole wheat pastry flour or more all purpose flour for this cup.

Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a large bowl and whisk together until evenly combined.

Put the sugar and butter into a bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium until the sugar is dissolved and everything is smooth. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla to the bowl and then use the electric mixer to beat everything on medium until evenly combined.

In a small bowl whisk together the buttermilk and pumpkin puree until it is clump free.

Turn the electric mixer on low and add a third of the dry mixture to the bowl and beat until everything is evenly incorporated. Add half of the pumpkin-buttermilk mixture to the bowl and beat until it is evenly incorporated. Continue alternate adding the dry mixture and the pumpkin-buttermilk mixture until everything is added and mixed until completely incorporated.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

With floured hands, scoop out half the dough onto a very well floured surface and, using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to a ½” thickness. Using a ~3” circle cutter, cut out as many circles from the dough round as possible. Then using a ½”-1” circle cutter, cut out a circle from the middle of each large circle. Remove the small rounds to fry as donut holes. Continue rolling out more dough and cutting out donuts and donut holes until all the dough is used.

Heat ~4” of oil in a pot or deep pan to 360F-375F, as gauged by an oil/candy thermometer.

Carefully drop 4 donut holes or 2 donuts at a time into the hot oil and fry for 3 minutes, using tongs or a large slotted spoon to flip halfway through. Once done remove the donuts to a baking sheet lined with paper towels.

Glaze Ingredients

2 c powdered sugar

1 T maple syrup

½ t vanilla extract

3 T buttermilk

Put the powdered sugar into a small, cereal-type bowl. Add the syrup and the vanilla and mix everything together with a fork or a whisk. Add the buttermilk, half a tablespoon at a time, and mix thoroughly until the glaze is free of clumps and thick enough to coat the fork or whisk.

Carefully dunk the top of each donut into the glaze.

This recipes produces a mountain of absolutely delicious donuts. They’re not huge like Dunkin Donuts and they’re not super pumpkin-y, both of which are positives in my book.

And in case you’re wondering, this recipe will accompany an essay about my, and a lot of women’s, struggle to have it all and to decide what “it all” is. And it starts by discussing the Queen of England.

Your turn, eaters:

If you could write a book, any kind of book, what would it be?

You wouldn’t happen to know anyone in publishing who you want to pass my name along to, would you?

Later eaters!

 

Almost Paleo Apple Almond Muffins

‘Ello eaters!

I’m smack dab in the middle of a pretty glorious day.

Well glorious except for the angry yellow jacket that has taken over my kitchen. I lost site of it for a few minutes and then found it when I threw something in the recycling bin and it came storming out super angrily.

Fun fact: I’ve never been stung by anything and am absolutely terrified that I’ll be deathly allergic and thus am now ridiculously afraid of all stinging insects.

But enough about the angry bee. Let’s talk about me. (Yes, I did intend that to rhyme.)

I’m trying to save money. Who isn’t, right?

And I’m really busy. Who isn’t, right?

AND I’m trying to eat clean and healthy (which for me means somewhere along the lines of the Zone). Who isn’t, right?

Ya gosh darn right you are!

And ya know what, eaters, trying to have and do it all like that is hard. Really hard. Ridiculously hard. But it’s also ridiculously doable.

Now I’m no expert on having and doing it all. Heck, I’m no expert on anything.

Really, I’m not an expert. Please don’t think of me as one.

But since chances are you’re not an expert on having or doing it all either, we can share notes.

So here are my notes.

Almond Apple Muffins

2 ½ c almond meal/flour

¾ t baking soda

½ T chia seeds

2 eggs

3 T agave syrup

½ T vanilla extract

3 T peanut butter*

¼ c coconut oil, divided

1 apple, chopped

~1/4 t cinnamon

*The pb can definitely be subbed for any other kind of nut butter to make it paleo. (That is, if everything else in this recipe is paleo. I really don’t know much about the rules of paleo.)

Heat 1 T coconut oil in a pan over low-medium heat. Add the apples and cinnamon, toss to coat, and stir occasionally until thoroughly soft and fragrant.

I would have had an even dozen muffins, but I ate too much batter.

Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl, fold in the apples, and scoop the batter equally into a dozen lined muffin tins.

Bake at 325F for 23-27 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

These muffins may not be the answer to you having and doing it all, but they do help.

They’re pretty well (Zone) balanced at just over 1 block of carbs and 1 block of protein, so they qualify as eating clean and healthy.

Since they are a balanced snack in a single wrapper they’re as easy to grab and go as all those bars I love so much, but for significantly cheaper. So they help me save a few pennies and save some time that I would spend on packing a balanced snack.

Oh, and homemade muffins definitely make you at least seem like you have it all. Because if you don’t actually have it all, at least you have muffins. And muffins are pretty amazing, right?

Ya gosh darn right they are!

What goes better with a nut flour muffin full of nut butter? A schmear of nut butter, of course.

What do you think, eaters:

If you could add an extra hour to the day to do one thing, what would it be?

What’s your favorite muffin mix-in?

G’night eaters!

The Brat-Face Beast

Hiya eaters!

I did something special today — I got a haircut!

For some reason I have an issue spending money on things like haircuts and clothes and stuff like that. Sure, it’s part of my life everyday, but it doesn’t really serve a purpose the same way buying food (or flowers!) do.

Does that make sense?

Anyway, I haven’t gotten a haircut since…December, I think. And I was going to put it off a little longer, but when the ratio of split ends to non-split ends in any given lock of hair swayed too far too the split side, I decided enough was enough.

So I got the same haircut I’ve been getting since I was roughly 13. Fun, right?

Please excuse the hipster photo and Dorothy Ham hair blow out. I'm not always like this.

(FYI — My dog just rolled over in his sleep and has the hair equivalent of bed head on his butt. I think that’s a sign that he’s too lazy.)

But enough about my hair (even though it’s ah-maze-ing and soft and styled for the first and last time until I get it cut again), because that’s not the only single lady stuff I’ve been up to.

No, I also made a sandwich.

For as long as I can remember I’ve lusted over the humungous sandwiches that Ashley and Stephen (over at (Never)Home Maker) create. They’re big and juicy and layered with flavors. And I want to eat each and every one of them.

But I’ve always shied away from creating my own big, beautiful sandwiches because 1) Leon wouldn’t really consider it dinner food, and 2) there’s an art to making a quality sandwich.

  • A sandwich should be a complete meal (with MAYBE a side of chips, fries, fruit, or salad, but really, those are entirely optional).
  • It should be constructed in a way that it doesn’t fall apart.
  • All aspects should be made fresh (aside from sauces and spreads) and then assembled immediately before consumption.
  • Fresh bakery bread should almost always be used.
  • There needs to be at least two textures and three flavors (bread included).

Ya see eaters, that’s a lot of work to go into a sandwich, especially if it’s going to be lunch.

But since Leon is away and I get to indulge my every little whim and fancy, I made a sandwich. A damn delicious sandwich.

A sandwich that I have named…

The Brat-Face Beast

Sausages are great. Sausage fests aren't.

And if you can guess from the name, it’s all based around a delicious (local pork) bratwurst.

Step 1: Prep the layers.

Slice 4-5 <1/4” thick slices of sweet potato, lightly coat them in oil and chili powder, and then roast them in a 400F degree oven until crispy around the edges.

Cook the brat, which I did by heating a pan with ~1/4 c water to medium heat, adding a brat, and covering it until the water is gone. Then remove the cover and brown on all sides. Once browned, let the brat rest off the heat for a few minutes before slicing it in half long ways.

Slice a piece of ciabatta off the loaf, wide enough to fit the brat, and then cut it in half.

Slice off enough cheese to fully cover one side of the ciabatta.

Step 2: Assemble.

Step 3: Grill.

Ghetto-tize me captain.

I want a Panini press, but until I get one, this method worked well enough (I guess). Use what you have, as long as the bottom piece of bread gets crusty and the cheese is melted throughout.

Step 4: EAT.

I.Love.You.

This is messy, but it doesn’t fall apart.

There are way more than two layers of texture and three layers of flavor.

And once you eat this big brat-y baby, you won’t have room for any unnecessary and distracting sides.

In other words, this is a damn glorious sandwich.

Your turn, eaters:

What’s your favorite sandwich topping?

Grilled/toasted or cold?

Later eaters!

Fruit Hand Pies

G’evening eaters!

Not much is new in my life. How about you?

(Insert your response.)

That’s nice. And you know what else is nice?

Hand pies.

Hand pies are the perfect combination of two of my great loves — pie and handheld food.

Pie is an obvious love. And frankly, I think handheld food should be equally obvious. But for some reason it’s not, so let me explain a bit.

I generally dislike utensils (except spoons), so handheld food eliminates the need for those. It is also a more pure way to eat as you get a chance to better connect with your food, like our ancestors.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea: handheld food is awesome.

So back to the marriage of the two —hand pies — and how you can get them into your kitchen.

Fruit Hand Pies

Filling

½ nectarine, chopped

3 cherries, quartered

1 shake nutmeg

¼ t ground ginger

1/4 t cinnamon

1/2 t sugar

Crust

1 c whole wheat pastry flour

1 c AP flour

½ c (1 stick) butter, cut into small pieces

1 T sugar, plus more for garnish

1 t salt

2 T-1/3 c ice water

coconut oil

This is double the amount of filling I told you to make, FYI.

Mix everything for the filling together and let chill in the fridge for at least a few hours or up to a couple of days.

To make the crust start with all the ingredients at least chilled in the fridge, if not the freezer.

Mix the flours, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Add in the butter and cut it in. I have the best results using a pastry cutter (optimal) or a fork (less optimal) until the pieces are small enough to fit through the cutter and then I finish up by running it all through my fingers a few times. You can also use a food processor (which I would almost definitely do if I was making a double batch) or anything else you’ve had luck with.

Once the butter is evenly combined throughout the flour and it resembles something akin to the texture of potting soil (or “a coarse meal” as it’s often called), add in water a splash at a time until a slightly crumbly dough forms.

Drop the dough on a floured surface (or a piece of wax paper, because cleaning up flour sucks) and roll/knead it a couple of times, just until a less crumbly ball forms. Wrap the dough in wax paper or something of the sort and put it in the freezer for at least 20 minutes.

Once the dough has re-chilled, roll it out on a floured/wax paper surface until just less than a quarter of an inch. Using any circular object (I used an old yogurt tub), trace and cut circles out of the dough. Place the circles on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Ball and re-roll the dough and continue cutting circles until there’s no more dough.

This will yield 6-7 pies.

Using a pastry brush or your finger, brush a bit of coconut oil on a dough circle. Spoon a little bit of the fruit filling onto a little less than half the circle and then fold the other side over. Crimp the edges closed with a fork, brush a bit more oil on top of the pie, sprinkle with sugar, and cut a vent slit.

Repeat this process until all the little pies are assembled (you might have filling leftover, that’s no bother) and then bake for 25-30 minutes in a 400F oven.

Let the pies cool just enough so you don’t burn your mouth on the filling and then dig in.

Whipped cream, ice cream, or other accouterments are optional. Encouraged, but certainly not necessary.

I ate mine au natural. And they were so perfect.

Aren't they beautiful?!

Hand pies are a slightly different animal than a regular pie. Keeping the crust from getting soggy is extra important, hence why the oil can’t be skipping.

You have to be extra careful not to overfill them or else they won’t close properly.

They also require a bit of a delicate, patient hand when it comes to folding them. I’m not terribly patient.

Perfection shmerfection.

But luckily, even the funky looking pies still tasted dang good.

So you really have no reason not to dwarf down your next pie into these handy little single servings.

Your turn, eaters:

How do you feel about handheld food?

What’s your favorite pie filling?

G’night eaters! 

Compromising Your Diet

Hi eaters!

Let’s get down to real talk, shall we?

Alright.

Real talk topic of the day: Compromising your diet.

Now when I say “diet” I do now and always will mean your dietary choices. I don’t think I’ll ever talk about weight loss plans or the Zone or whatever else people follow to lose “those last ten pounds.”

No, today I want to talk about your dietary choices and when and why you choose to compromise them.

Ya see eaters, I may not be vegan or vegetarian anymore, but I still like to eat that way most of the time. Of course I enjoy a nice block of cheese or bacon-y treat, but I don’t like that to be my usual fare.

No, I’d be more than happy eating a vegetarian diet that’s dotted with meat, not the other way around.

Leon, on the other hand, loves meat.

I think that growing up his family, like most families in America, built their meals around a meaty center. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Meat is (usually) delicious and it’s easy to think of vegetables and the like as side dishes.

I mean, that seems to be how American cuisine works.

The problem, though, comes now that Leon and I are living together and planning our meals together.

I want the equivalent of Meatless Monday through Thursday and he doesn’t want a dinner of side dishes, as he calls a lot of vegetarian meals. Add on to that that I’ve gone from cooking 2-3 times a week and then eating lots of leftovers to cooking every night (and not having a microwave for easy leftover eating), and you can see how I’m a bit thrown for a loop here.

I’ve been trying my damndest to think of great, hearty, healthy vegetarian fare that will please my need for cheap meat-free meals and Leon’s need for a centered meal.

So, what else do I turn to other than…beans.

Yup, I love beans. Beans are amazing. Beans are versatile. Beans don’t make you fart (when cooked properly), despite what that 10 year old down the block says.

And did I mention that they’re cheap?

Yup, I love beans.

And with a little help from my food processor, I was able to turn this big pot of beans into a dinner that satisfied both of us in more ways then one.

This was 1 1/2 c dried chickpeas.

Baked Falafel

2.5 c chickpeas (roughly 1 1/3 cans)

½ lemon, juiced

¼ c olive oil, plus some

½ t tumeric

1 ½ t cumin

1 t graham masala

1 clove garlic

1 c parsley

salt and pepper, to taste

Put the chickpeas into a food processor and whirl until they form a chunky paste, scraping the sides as necessary.

Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until evenly combined.

Form the dough into ~1/4 c patties and place on a greased baking sheet. Drizzle a little bit of oil on the top of each patty, spread it around with your fingers (or a pastry brush, if you’re fancy), and place in the oven.

Bake the patties at 375 F for 25 minutes, flip, and then bake for another 5.

Let the patties cool slightly before serving.

Speaking of serving…

I kept it simple and whipped up a quick, half-assed sauce by mixing ~1/3 c plain yogurt and ~1/4 c chopped cucumber.

A dollop of that and a falafel patty wrapped in a piece of red leaf lettuce and we were ready to go.

For pennies on the dollar (whatever that means…no really, can someone explain it to me), I had a tasty, healthy, satiating center for a vegetarian meal.

I added a side of some quick, half-assed bhindi masala (which I’ll remake with at least ¾ assedness and post the recipe for) and this was a more than legit meal.

And maybe the best part was that this makes about three servings (a serving being three single patty wraps), so I had a hearty dose of vegetables waiting for me for lunch the next day.

Always strive for leftovers.

Now if only I had a microwave to reheat the falafel with.

Your turn, eaters:

When and why do you compromise your ideal diet?

What is your ideal diet? This means what, when, and how much you eat.

G’night eaters!

Mini Milestones

Hiya eaters!

As you can tell, I took the day off from blogging yesterday. It was a holiday night. My friends were having a BBQ. We took Charlie to the party, making it not only his first social engagement, but also the first time he was around a lot of other people out of his home. He handled it well. I was nervous the whole time that he was unhappy or scared.

It was still a great night.

And all in all, this weekend has been one of mini milestones.

On Friday morning I went grocery shopping (at Earth Fare, of course!) and came back with the most ah-maze-ing haul.

Loot:

Organic spinach x2, organic red leaf lettuce, organic bell pepper, organic zucchini, cucumber, organic gala apples, organic carrots, bacon, GT’s original kombucha, ground turkey, organic button mushrooms, Stonyfield plain low fat yogurt, frozen okra, organic millet, organic dried chickpeas, organic parsley, organic yellow onion.

This is the kind of grocery shopping I want to do more — bags absolutely packed with beautiful, organic, fresh (and frozen) produce, some bulk buys, and very little else.

LOVE plants!

And in this trip there were two mini milestones.

First, I broke out of my bulk bin rut.

I’ve been stuck in a quinoa-black bean bulk rut for way too long. This is my attempt to break free.

Second, I bought what will hopefully be my last store-bought kombucha ever!

I’m trying my hand at home-brewing this tangy fermented tea because now that Leon likes it (he calls it “weird hangover juice” because it does wonders for a hangover), it was getting way too expensive to support two people’s habits.

I’ll keep you posted on the brewing.

Later that day we also broke out of our pizza rut. We have a usual — sausage, green peppers, and onions — that we get EVERYWHERE. Unfortunately, our usual wasn’t so great from Spring Garden Pizzeria, right across the street. So rather than drive across town to our favorite pizza place (Pie Works), we tried a different kind of pizza.

Lucky #7.

This was a tad meatier than I generally like my pizza (I’m not a meat lovers girl anymore), but dang was it good.

Another milestone came when I FINALLY decided to satisfy my craving for a Dunkin Donuts chocolate glazed donut.

I’ve had this craving sporadically for weeks now, but whenever I was near a DD I wasn’t craving it and whenever I was craving it I wasn’t near a DD.

Oh so good.

It’s been a vicious cycle.

Luckily, though, we live about a mile from a DD so when Leon and I had a free bit of time and Charlie was in need of a walk, we decided to kill three birds with one stone — get me a donut, walk Charlie, and get Charlie less scared of walking on sidewalks near busy (not neighborhood) streets.

Mmmmmmdonut.

It was a big success all around.

A couple other milestones of the weekend included me doing my second Pinterest-inspired DIY project and my first attempt at trying to make Charlie into my running partner.

But both of those things deserve their own post, so that’ll come soon.

Your turn, eaters:

Did you have any mini (or BIG) milestones this weekend? Recently?

What’s your usual pizza?

Later eaters!

Princess and the Pizza

Hi eaters!

I completely forgot what day of the week it was today. I blame that on work.

When I’m a regular college student and taking classes I always know what day it is because my classes vary each day. But this whole being in an office thing is throwing me off.

But now that I know what day it is, I’m going to celebrate in style.

St Peter's Golden Ale.

Yup, with only a couple of weeks before I’m back in college-land I’m trying to get back into college-mode. And what goes better with beer than pizza!

Unfortunately the English don’t know a damn thing about pizza.

Really, you would think that with them being closer to Italy than America, they would have the upper hand. And while I’m certainly not saying that American-style pizza is authentic, I am saying that I’ve been to Italy and the English aren’t any more authentic.

Luckily, though, through my relentless searching for a quality slice, I found a couple of gems.

Da Mario is right around the corner from the Gloucester Road Tube stop and it’s not a secret that this was a favorite of Princess Diana and the boys. (FYI — “The boys” is what people over here call Harry and William.)

After splitting a bottle of wine over pizza with two of my lady friends, it might just be a favorite of mine.

Between the three of us we ran the gamut of pizza varieties.

American Hot: Tomato sauce, pepperoni, sausage, mild green chilies, mozzarella, fresh basil

We had the American Classic.

Mushroom pizza.

We had the actual classic.

Boscaiola: tomato sauce, sun dried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, roasted sweet pepper, broccoli, fontana cheese, and fresh basil

And we had my usual, an “I want to get as close to a salad while still eating pizza” pizza.

Now, there were fork-and-knife pizzas. There was no hands or folding going on here. But it was so freaking tasty and the sauce was perfectly, naturally sweet that I let it go.

The other gem I found, the prettier gem, was Sandy’s (by Marble Arch), which I found thanks to Living Social.

Note to everyone — Always sign up for Groupon/Living Social emails for any city you’re visiting or moving to. It is such a great way to (cheaply) do new things.

The house red.

I bought a deal for two pizzas and two glasses of wine, so when my boss gave me a half day before the Easter holiday I decided it was high time to use it.

A glass of red to start and then my friend and I split two pizzas.

Napoleon Bonaparte: tomato, gruyere, ham, mushrooms, olives.

Something with mushrooms and meat.

And something else with mushrooms and meat. This second one, though, was the winner in my book.

Sampieru Corsu: creme frea, gruyere, Corsican sausage, porcini mushrooms, oregano, truffle oil.

And since if we’d left at this point we would have only had to pay the service charge, we decided to split dessert.

Raspberry and white chocolate tarte.

Hands down, Sandy’s won. Not only were the topping combinations better, but I could pick up AND fold their pizza. That’s the first time that’s happened since I left America!

That’s huge, folks.

Sorry, Princess Diana. Better luck next time.

What do you think, eaters:

Do you have a usual kind of pizza?

What makes a good pie/slice in your opinion?

G’night eaters!

Dairy and Fish Tacos

G’day eaters!

Are you ready for another installment of “Kara cooks fish”?

Yup, I’m on a roll.

For the first installments, check out Milestone Salmon and Anchovy-Enough Pasta. 

But this wasn’t just momentous because I cooked fish again. No, this was momentous because I got over my weird aversion to mixing fish and dairy.

Yes eaters, in my mind fish and dairy just don’t go together. (I’m not counting butter.)

I have no clue why this is. I could say it has something to do with the fact that a long time ago, when I was first getting into cooking, I watched some restaurant rescue-type show and everyone was aghast that they were serving shark with mozzarella and ever since then it’s been burned in my mind.

But I highly doubt that’s it.

Whatever the cause, though, for years I’ve been telling waiters to leave the cheese off my fish tacos. And while this isn’t exactly a fish quesadilla, it’s dairy and fish, so I’m counting it.

Creamy Fish Tacos

~0.5lbs/0.25kg white fish such as tilapia

½ c Greek yogurt*

1 lime, juiced

1 T (smoked) paprika

½ t cumin

¼ c cilantro, chopped

tortillas

toppings

*Of course, I used FAGE fat free.

Pre-bake.

In an oven safe dish, mix together the yogurt, lime juice, spices, and cilantro.

Chop the fish into small pieces, about ½” cubes. Add the fish to the yogurt mixture, give everything a good stir to coat, and leave to marinate for about half an hour.

Give the dish another good stir and then put it in a 200C/400F oven. Cook for a total of 30 minutes, stirring about half way through.

Feel free to serve these with whatever accoutrements you want.

I suggest a corn tortilla. And then I suggest you line that corn tortilla with a large piece of lettuce. This is some creamy fish and you don’t want your tortilla to fall apart in your hand.

From there, the toppings are up to you.

I suggest some red cabbage, for crunch and color. You might also want to go ahead and sauté up an onion and jalapeño, for some spice. Don’t be afraid to be a little heavy handed with the heat, because dairy calms the effects of capsaicin.

And then, if you can get your hands on some, I think a schmear of chipotle ketchup is in order. And maybe some green ‘basco sauce, for a little zip to compliment the zip of the lime.

Mmmmcondiments.

Or, you can keep it simple with salsa, lettuce, and cheese.

I don’t recommend that last one, though. Dairy and fish just don’t mix, haven’t you heard?

Your turn, eaters:

What weird combination aversions do you have?

Are you all about the toppings or do you like to leave your foods au natural? 

Later eaters!

Harmonious Tacos

Greetings eaters!
So I didn’t end up clubbing last night. Actually last night was kind of a bust, save for coming to the conclusion that the London night bus system is annoying.
But it’s a new day and I have a new recipe for you.
Imagine that, I write recipes. Wonders never cease.
You know how I mentioned that I’m cooking for everyone in my flat?
Well, that means that I’m going to have to learn to cook meat and/or learn to make a meaty and meat-free version of every meal.
Doesn’t that sound annoying?
I’m sure it will be very soon, but for now, at least, things are working out. Because when all else fails, make tacos!

Harmonious Tacos

1 lbs ground beef
1 can black beans, drained
1 ½ c tomato sauce, divided
1 onion, chopped, divided
3 T cumin, divided
1 ½ T (sweet) paprika, divided
3 T chili powder, divided
~1 T oil
salt, to taste
tortillas, cheese, salsa, spinach, etc

 

Beef
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the beef and about 2/3 of the onion. Stir occasionally until the meat is brown and the onion is translucent.
Feel free to spoon off some of the grease.
Add ~1 c of the tomato sauce, 2 T cumin, 1 T paprika, 2 T chili powder, and stir until everything is evenly combined.
Add salt, to taste, and cook until all the flavors are melded, about 7-10 minutes.
Beans
Drizzle a little oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add ~ 1/3 of the onions, toss to coat, and cook until they are translucent. Then add the beans, ~1/2 of the tomato sauce, 1 T cumin, ½ T paprika, 1 T chili powder, and a couple of pinches of salt. Stir everything together, reduce the heat to almost low, and cook until the flavors are melded, about 10 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then spoon up a few scoops of either into a warm tortilla, garnish with whatever you want, and serve.

Mmmmmcheese and beans.

This meal was definitely a winner.
It was almost no extra work to make a meaty and a meat-free version.

Mmmmmeaty.

Eat taco had some protein, fiber, carbs, vegetables, and spice. And everyone was satisfied.
See, my ‘mate Cate is thoroughly satisfied.
And with that I get the award for the greatest ‘mate ever, right?
No?
Alright. Hopefully I just won’t have to do the dishes.
What about you, eaters:
Do you make meal variations for picky eaters/special diets?
Do you do the dishes if you cook?
Later eaters!

Rawesome Pizza Dough

Hi eaters!

Are you still enjoying your holiday?

I sure am! I’m enjoying it so much that I want to hurry back to it (manly friend is waiting, beer in hand, for me to finish so we can watch a movie), so today is going to be pretty business-heavy.

By business, of course I mean food.

I’m in the eating food business. And business is booming.

(Two points for anyone who can tell me where I adapted that quote from. If you don’t know, check here.)

So without further ado, here’s a pretty rawesome (really awesome) recipe for pizza dough.

Bean-Based Pizza Dough

1 c warm water

1 T yeast

1 c pureed chickpeas*

1 T honey

2 T oil, plus more

1 t salt

3-4 c whole wheat flour

*I’m sure any beans will work, but chickpeas are what I had on hand.

In one container mix the water, honey, and yeast and leave to proof until the yeast is foamy. Once the yeast is proofed, stir in the oil and bean puree.

In another, larger bowl mix ~2 c flour and salt. Now mix in the wet ingredients and stir until everything is incorporated. Add the remaining flour, as needed, until you have a slightly sticky ball of dough.

Once a rough ball has formed, take it out of the bowl and knead it until the dough has become a smooth, elastic ball.

Pre-rise.

Place the dough into a bowl lined with lightly oiled plastic wrap, cover with a cloth, and place it in a warm place to rise for at least two hours.

If you don’t have a warm place, pre-heat your oven, turn it off, and then place the bowl inside with the door ajar. But if you do this use a non-plastic bowl.

Just trust me on this one.

Post-rise.

Once the dough has roughly doubled, pre-heat your oven to as high as it’ll go. Now stretch/roll/toss/etc the dough until it is think (almost see-through). Then add your toppings.

Cook until the cheese is melted and slightly brown, and the bottom is crisp and doesn’t stick to the baking sheet/pizza stone.

This will make enough for ~16” pizza. But don’t think you can eat this like you would any other pizza.

Oh no! Between the fiber in the flour and the beans, and the protein in the beans and the cheese, this is one very hearty pizza.

Just add beer.

But, if you pile on the veggies it also counts as a complete, balanced meal. In your hand. And covered in cheese.

Yes eaters, I am rawesome.

What about you:

What are your favorite pizza toppings?

Do you like your pizza crust thin and crispy or on the doughy side?

G’night eaters!