WIAW: I’ve Got Questions

Hi eaters!

It’s Wednesday, which is usually the day I go out to celebrate being halfway through the week. But not this week.

This week I’m in NY!

For all you new eaters, all my family is from NY so we go up every year. We stay with Mother’s parents. All the aunts come in. We visit Papa’s family. My family is a hoot and a half so it’s one of my absolute favorite times of the year.

So all my posts will be from NY until Tuesday. With that in mind:

Do you want me to post recipes and whatnot per usual?

Or do you want to see some of my NY fun times?

It’s up to you. And if you don’t tell me either way then it’ll be a bit of a well-written crap shoot.

Anywhoo, let’s get down to business, shall we?

First:

Hot lemon water.

I had a couple of beers on Monday night, so I wanted to make sure that I avoided a hangover.

Breakfast:

2 eggs scrambled with baby kale, and topped with salsa and parmesan.

Just because I’m home did you really think my breakfast would change?

I wasn’t going to bother posting another picture of this breakfast, but I wanted to show off a bit.

Ya see that bowl?

I love that glaze change.

I made it!

This was probably one of my absolute favorite pieces of pottery from my ceramics class.

It fits perfectly in my small hands.

Workout:

I took a Cain class today. We did a lot of jump ropes and ball slams. Then we ended class with a few rounds of stairs in a parking garage down the block.

The stairs weren’t bad because with the cool weather the staircase didn’t reek of piss. The jumping rope, though, kind of sucked. Lots of jumping was not good on my shins after lots of treadmill intervals on Monday.

Oh well.

1 scoop GNC Amp Performance protein with a tall iced coffee with soy, and a slice of Ezekiel bread with Crofters' jam.

Before class I drank half a protein shake. I finished the other half after class with my usual post-workout fuel.

Note — Toast with jam is now so unappealing to me. Can anyone suggest some good post-workout snacks that have a good balance of simple and complex carbs, no fat or dairy, and not much protein?

Great, thanks!

Lunch:

Black bean patty with salsa and parmesan with two carrots.

Yup, a random meal at its finest.

But it had everything I wanted: vegetables, protein, cheese, and minimal carbs.

I wanted to go light on the carbs because I knew that after lunch I was going to need a little dessert.

Ginger Lemon Donut x2.

Yup, these donuts are damn delicious.

Snack:

Chips and salsa.

After I started dinner I needed a little something to tide me over. And chips and salsa are a staple at home.

Dinner:

O’m’gah! I loveloveLOVE pizza.

Mushroom, pepper, and onion pizza on homemade whole wheat crust.

This is my newest dough recipe (which I’ll post soon) and I was quite happy with it. Sure, the dough could have been a bit thinner and the sauce could have been richer, but this was still a killer pie.

I finished up my night with another little donut and a couple of Sweet Water IPAs.

It was a damn good night.

So, to review:

Do you want me to post recipes and whatnot per usual this week?

Or do you want to see some of my NY fun times?

Can anyone suggest some good post-workout snacks that have a good balance of simple and complex carbs, no fat or dairy, and not much protein?

What was the best thing you ate yesterday/today?

G’night eaters!

SP Squared Chili

Happy Halloween eaters!

Did you party it up this weekend or is there still some festivities for the actual night?

I’ve actually got a chill, but oh so enjoyable night planned so I have to suit up.

I’ll show you pictures tomorrow, though, because I promise my costume is awesome.

Anywhoo, let’s talk turkey. By which I mean, cold weather.

Ya see eaters, this whole weekend I’ve been hearing talk of Snowtober and the chilly weather most of the country is seeing.

I, of course, was soaking up the sun poolside. And while that was lovely, I was still a little excited to finally get to indulge in some of my cold weather favorites: boots, scarves, and chili.

O’m’gosh, I love chili. And I’m pretty freaking fantastic at making it.

So fantastic, in fact, that manly friend not only willingly ate, but actually preferred some tempeh chili I made last year over mother’s meaty chili because I seasoned mine, whereas she used a pre-fab seasoning packet.

But despite my immense love of chili, I’ve never posted a recipe for it. Nor have I ever made any of the fancy schmancy chili recipes I see around the blogosphere.

Why, you ask?

Because to me, chili is a bit of an art.

It’s a classic, timeless dish that is created through love and pinches of this and dashes of that and time and countless taste tests.

You can’t really measure love and pinches. Nor should you really mess with something so classic. So every year I’ve foregone adding cocoa or coffee or whatever else people add and instead favored my way.

Until this year…

Smoked Paprika Sweet Potato Chili

1 onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 sweet potato, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can diced tomatoes, no salt added if possible

1 c (~1/2 can) tomato sauce

~1 1/3 c vegetable broth, divided

~½ t salt

~1/4 t cayenne pepper

~1 T chili powder

~3 T smoked paprika

oil

Heat a soup pot to medium and drizzle with oil. Then add the onion and sauté until it begins to soften and become translucent. Then add the green pepper and garlic, and sauté until it softens and becomes fragrant.

At this point raise the heat just slightly and pour roughly 1/3 c of vegetable broth into the pot to deglaze it. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pot to get all the good bits off before adding the beans, tomato products, and remaining broth.

Stir everything together and allow it to come to temperature before adding the seasonings.

Allow everything to barely simmer for about 5 minutes before tasting for seasoning. Adjust as necessary.

And when you’re about half an hour away from serving, it’s time for the sweet potato. This should be chopped into bite-sized pieces with the skin on.

Add this to the pot, lower the heat to below medium, and put the cover on ajar. Leave this to barely simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, which for me was about 30 minutes.

And then serve yourself up a big, steaming bowl.

The sweet potatoes made this even heartier than most chilis.

And the smoked paprika adds a wonderful depth, beyond just the rolling heat of my traditional chili.

So while part of me is a little disappointed that my first batch of chili for the year wasn’t my usual classically awesome kind, that fades as soon as I take my first bite.

But don’t expect to see cocoa or quinoa in my chili anytime soon.

What about you:

Are there some classic dishes that shouldn’t be tampered with?

What are you looking forward to most about fall?

G’night eaters!

“I Love You” Pizza

Oh eaters!

It’s Friday and I’m feeling positively glorious. Despite having a handful of down days (or maybe because of them) I’m feeling so very loved lately.

Ya see eaters, this semester has been kind of hard. And all because of one thing — manly friend isn’t here. This is the first time that I’ve been at school without him.

Did I ever mention that we met my third night of college? And that I started pursuing him immediately?

With the exception of the odd weekend when one of us was out of town, we were always together.

Coming into this year I was nervous. It almost felt like I was a freshman all over again, except that everybody else already had friends. Yes, I do have a lovely circle of friends, but it was still different. Weird.

That’s another thing — I’m not living with my friends this year.

Housing got more than a little screwy and I ended with in an apartment with three girls I didn’t know.

So not only was my main squeeze not around, but I wouldn’t be coming home to my friends everyday. At first I felt alone. Really alone.

As the weeks and weekend nights have passed, though, I realized that just because one of m’lovely ladies isn’t there for me to talk to as we fall asleep, and just because every time I fall asleep I’m by myself in a cold bed, I’m not alone.

On the contrary, I’m finding more and more people that make me not feel alone. I’m realizing just how amazing my friends and the ladies I live with are, while at the same time realizing just how independent I am.

Manly friend and I joke about gaining independence from our time apart, but I think I might really be. Now I feel independent in the way that I don’t feel dependent on anyone for my happiness, but not in the way where I feel like I’ve got no one to lean on and laugh with when the times come.

So today, after a week where I worked too hard, laughed too little, and missed manly friend too much, I decided there was nothing that I wanted to do more than spend some time in my kitchen. My very messy kitchen.

With happy, loving music blasting, I dirtied a lot of dishes and my hands and my counter and my pants making perfect pizza crust.

Except few things were perfect about it.

My not-so-Magic Bullet made a lumpy puree.

The wax paper that I kneaded my dough on ripped.

And my apartment was a little too cool for proper dough rising.

I managed, though.

I picked out the whole chickpeas and little bits of paper. And the underside of my laptop was plenty warm.

My dough is in a bowl under that towel.

So eventually, my dough rose. And I topped it with all the vegetables in my crisper that weren’t that crisp anymore. And I baked it as best as I could without a pizza stone.

In the end, sitting at my kitchen table with a glass of wine and one of m’loveliest ladies, I realized that everything turned out perfectly.

And I felt loved.

She doesn't like squash.

Now I know that even though I’m counting down the days until manly friend is here, I’m in no way alone. That’s a pretty glorious feeling, if you ask me.

And a pretty glorious face.

So eaters, this weekend go break bread with the people that make you feel not alone and know that you are loved. By them and me.

G’night eaters!

Wholesome Veggie Lasagna

Hello eaters!

Woah boy it’s been a busy day. This is literally the first time I’m getting to sit down and have a moment or two of “me time” since I started at 7:30am. Sure, my workout was technically “me time,” but I sure wasn’t sitting.

Needless to say, I’m pooped.

And sometimes the last thing I really want to do when I come home at 8 with another couple of hours of work ahead of me is to cook dinner. Do you ever find yourself in that boat?

On nights like this (which are usually every Monday) it’s good to have something comforting ready and waiting. Enter: lasagna.

It gets even better when it’s made with tofu ricotta.

It appears that I’m not the only thinking this because lately I’ve seen two bloggirls, Emily and Jenna, whipping up some faux ricotta.

So with a little help from my friends (pleasepleasePLEASE tell me you got that reference! Zoe?), I whipped up a delicious, comforting, light, veggie-filled lasagna.

And really, what more could anyone possible ask for from lasagna?

But really, is there anything else?

Say no. and then say you’ll make this.

Wholesome Veggie Lasagna

1 block tofu, drained

10 oz frozen chopped spinach, drained

2 T nutritional yeast

1 ½ T olive oil

1 T thyme

2 cloves garlic, minced

salt and pepper, to taste

1 box whole wheat lasagna noodles

1 ½ – 2 c summer squash (about 3 or 4), chopped

1 – 1 ½ jars marinara sauce

First, I made the ricotta.

Twin Oaks tofu

I heart Twin Oaks so freaking much!

Both Emily and Jenna used a food processor to blend everything together, but I didn’t bring mine to school. Instead I used my handy dandy pastry cutter to mix and mush the tofu, spinach, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper, olive oil, garlic, and thyme. It worked perfectly.

tofu ricotta

It almost looks like the real thing, right?

Note — If using a pastry cutter make sure you get chopped frozen spinach.

Once the ricotta is ready set a pot of salted water to boil for the noodles.

Add the noodles when the water is ready and set a timer. You’re going to want to cook the noodles just shy of al dente, because they’ll absorb liquids when baking later.

While the noodles are cooking heat a oiled pan over medium-high heat and lightly sauté the squash.

Summer squash and zephyr squash.

The purpose of this is too get out some of the water from the squash to avoid a watery lasagna.

When you get the squash a little soft, it’s time to assemble. So grab your big rectangular pan…

First, a layer of sauce and half the squash. Then a layer of noodles.

You don’t have to cover every inch, but just enough to form a layer. From there spread a layer of the ricotta mixture and the other half of the squash.

I added a very thin layer of sauce before a layer of noodles, ricotta, and a thick covering layer of sauce.

Yes, I realize that my layers are equal or routine. You can make yours perfect and whatnot, or you can realize that as long as there are layers and enough of each component things will taste good.

Once you’re layers are layered, cover the pan with tinfoil and pop it into a 375 degree oven for 35 minutes. Remove the tinfoil and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes. Now dig in.

I served this with a side of simply steamed greenbeans and friends.

Dinner is served.

I rarely cook Italian because, to me, it seems almost a crime to eat Italian alone. So when I made this dish I knew that an impromptu little dinner party was in order.

There may not have been wine, and this may not have been on par with someone’s Italian grandma’s, but it was hearty and comforting and I’ve been eating the leftovers for days.

Yes, eaters, while this recipe may not seem like a good “I’m too tired to cook” meal, the leftovers are. And it can even hang out in your fridge, pre-baked for a day or so, which means that even when you can’t muster the energy to chop and sauté you can have a fresh from the over, family and friend-friendly meal.

And really, doesn’t that sound ah-maze-ing?

Mmm, I’m thinking of more leftovers already. But first, I sleep.

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.

Sensual Beans

Hello eaters!
This week is speeding by and I couldn’t be happier! I’ve got big plans for the weekend so I’m more than ready for it to be Friday.
How about you?
So remember last night when I said I was stuck in Starfucks waiting out the rain? Well I waited and waited and eventually I saw a break in the rain. So I bolted power walked home. Well…less than halfway the sky opened up. So I actually did bolt. With my laptop in my backpack. Across 5 lanes of traffic. It was fun. Except not.
So as you can expect, I was cold and soaking by the time I got home. Luckily, I just happened to have some bean soaked and ready for cooking waiting on the counter.
And cook, I did.

Curried Black-Eyed Peas
1 sweet onion, chopped
½ lbs black-eyed peas, soaked
oil
2 bay leaves
1 ½ t smoked paprika
1 ½ t cumin
2 cloves (1 t) garlic, minced
1 t tumeric
1 t coriander
~1 T sriracha (this is entirely subjective)
water
½ c tomato sauce
3-4 c spinach, roughly chopped
Saute the onion in oil over medium heat. You want to almost caramelize the onions, because if there’s one thing that makes a good curry it’s a long-cooked, deep flavor. Once the onions are cooked add the beans, bay leaves, 3 T tomato sauce, and enough water to cover the beans by less than an inch.
Note — Normally you want the liquid to be an inch over the beans, but since there is more than just beans in the pot you have to compensate for that.
Cover the pot, bring the water up to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Black-eyed peas only take about 20-30 minutes to cook, which makes me a very happy ‘Baby. Once the beans are tender and there is a little bit of liquid left, add the rest of the tomato sauce and spices. Stir until everything is well incorporated and leave the pot uncovered.
Continue to stir occasionally until the beans are crazy fragrant and most of the water is evaporated. From there, add you spinach.
Stir it in until it’s wilted and you’re done.
Normally I’m not a fan of cooked spinach (I get it from Papa), but when it’s mixed in with these beans it’s both perfectly undetectable and a perfect break in consistency.
But even without the spinach, these beans are amazing.
Tender and spiced and almost sensual.
Well, about as sensual as beans can be.
But really eaters, don’t be afraid to cook your own beans. It’s not rocket science. Soak. Drain. Cover. Cook. Eat. It helps to know the approximate cooking time, but even that’s not necessary.
Really, if I can do it so can you.

And on that note, g’night eaters.