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You know you’re a food blogger when…

You choose an apartment based on optimal lighting for food photos…

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Your first Netflix movie selection is Food Inc…

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You miss weddings for food festivals…

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Water and power outages affect your food prep and meal planning more than your acts of daily living (i.e. showering)…

New food products generate more enthusiasm than "normal" things (like birthdays)…

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"Battery card full" may as well mean "you will be eating a cold dish” (aka “don’t touch this food until I free up space")…

You are ecstatic over the return of a $4 fermented culture-filled drink…

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Your ONLY instructions for your wedding photographer were make sure you get photos of the food

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You ordered a personal wedding cupcake from Whole Foods

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Your wedding centerpieces were made with food

 

You salvage food that others would throw away…

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You start planning dinner before you’ve even finished lunch breakfast…

 

Now your turn!  Finish this sentence: You know you’re a food blogger/foodie when…

***Still taking entries for my $$-in-your-pocket giveaway until Monday (11/1) night so get your entries in asap!***

Cake from August

After my parents left, Kyle and I spent the day catching up on errands around the apartment.  It was raining so we kept busy indoors with football…and cooking.

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I can’t believe this dish turned out to be such a hit.  It was truly the most random thing ever, but it ended up really wowing my husband.  It wasn’t vegan, but it could easily be made so.  I guess that makes it blog-worthy…

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Because I threw it together using what I had on hand, you probably already have the ingredients too.  Tomatoes, onions, rice…they’re basics.

Comfort casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 cup corn (or 1/2 can)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream *
  • 1 cup green enchilada sauce
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked white rice
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese *

*To make vegan, replace sour cream with a mix of 1/4 cup non-dairy milk + 1/4 cup mozzarella Daiya “cheese” and replace the cheese topping with vegan cheese as well

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In a 9×9 square casserole dish combine chopped onions, tomatoes, and corn.  Then add in the sour cream and the green enchilada sauce.

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Then add in the rice and stir it all up.

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Once it’s adequately mixed, pack it down into the dish. 

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See how tight? 

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Then sprinkle the mozzarella on top.

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Bake on 350 for 35 minutes.  I cranked it up to broil for the last 2 muntes to brown the top of the cheese a little.

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It smelled delish and Kyle could hardly wait to dig in…

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I had my own vegan lasagna leftovers to dig into, so this baby was all his.

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He had several servings…

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Yeah…

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Clearly he hated it. 😛

For dessert, I had the rest of my vegan peanut butter fudge from Whole Foods.

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And Kyle said to hell with tradition and cut himself a big slice of wedding cake

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We both agreed that waiting until our first anniversary to enjoy the top tier of our wedding cake was ridiculous for several reasons: (a) it may be nasty by then, (b) we don’t have enough storage room in our freezer, and (c) it’s yummy.  Why wait?!?

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Also, he was only able to try one bite on our wedding day (we were so busy!).  So I’m glad we ignored the anniversary rule.  Something tells me waiting until next August would have led to a different reaction…

How do you feel about eating year old cake?

Shots and real food

I used my alarm clock every morning this week, and unfortunately that theme continued into the weekend as well.  Rough life, huh.

On Friday morning I woke up early, ignored the drizzly weather and went for a quick 15 minute jog around the neighborhood, followed by an abs & arms workout back at the apartment.  Half-way through my sweat session there was a knock on the door.  Hmmm…

Hesitant to answer the door in a sports bra (or reveal that I was watching The Real Housewives of D.C. reunion while working out), I opened it just a crack to peer out.  Electricians.  Frick.  Here I thought our water and electric “issues” were sorted out…  Turns out the owner just wanted to check their work to make sure everything was done to his satisfaction.  It still ended my workout a bit early.  Annoying, but whatever.

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I showered, coffee-d, and went to Westwood for my tetanus shot.  Ouch.  As a nurse, I love giving shots and drawing blood…basically anything and everything with needles, but I don’t really like it when I have to get it done.  Actually, that’s only partially true.  I like donating blood and I don’t really mind getting labs drawn.  It’s shots that aren’t fun.  The tetanus shot is a painful one too – it still hurts now, three days later.  Also, as a new employee I had to have a double negative TB.  The rest of my immunizations were up to date, and I even managed to have all the paperwork proving such.  Keeping all my important files and documents organized throughout our cross country move has been a real beezy, but at least I’m done with all that stuff now.  Until I deal with the name change business, that is…

By the time I got back home, my sister’s ETA was not too far off, so I held off on grubbing.

We went to Huckleberry, my fave neighborhood cafe.

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I got the trio of salads with a chickpea salad, a stone ground mustard potato salad, and a white bean puree…and a slice of fresh sourdough bread on the side to scrape it all up.

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I’ve had the white bean puree before, and it was just as creamy and amazing this time around.  The stone ground mustard potato salad was also delish.

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My sister doesn’t even like mustard and she had a bite to taste and loved it.  The capers and vinegar made it pretty acidic, but the bean dip and bread were nice neutralizers.

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The chickpeas were also a winner of a dish.  Although not overly imaginative, they still had good flavoring.

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I definitely had leftovers though…my appetite has been a bit out of whack lately.

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My sister got the chopped chicken salad with baby gem lettuce, radicchio, carrots, cucumbers, avocado, garbanzo beans, parmesan & red wine vinaigrette. It had minimal chicken, but aside from that she had no complaints.

After lunch we went shopping.

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Yea right!  😉  Window shopping is one thing…but we actually went into Tiffany’s to try things on (and by “we” I mean Marie).  No purchases were made, but my sis definitely has her eye on the prize as far as engagement rings go.  Next on the to-do list is find the baller who can afford her…

For dinner I treated my sis to a vegan meal at Real Food Daily.  The menu is SO good, it’s almost too difficult to choose.

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My sister helped point out that I should go seasonal.  So the Shephard’s Pie in the Sky won.

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It had a millet and parsnip crust with tempeh, lentils, and veggies inside, plus whipped sweet potatoes and a miso-tomato sauce on top.

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The lighting was as bad as the food was amazing.  In other words, ignore the crap photo and take my word for the hearty flavorful dish.

As filling as the Shepherd’s Pie sounds, it was actually the perfect portion.  I was full at the end of it, but not stuffed, and not uncomfortable.

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On the side were maple roasted acorn squash and garlicky greens.  I wasn’t a huge fan of the chard.  There was way too much garlic for my taste.  Even after adding a fair amount of sesame seasoning (see below), the amount of garlic was overwhelming.

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I choked down a few bites, but in the end, the greens were left abandoned on my otherwise polished plate.

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Marie ordered The Club with seitan, tempeh bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato and veganaise on sourdough bread.

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I got this sammie last time I ate at RFD, so I knew she’d love it.

After dinner we made our way to bars.

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There were some interesting sights along the way…

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Crocheted bicycle?

My photos from the night are pretty poor.

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Exhibit A

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Exhibit B

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Exhibit C

In any event, midnight rolled around and my parents finally arrived (they drove from Nor Cal after my dad got off work).  They hadn’t seen our new apartment yet, so we gave them a tour, hung out a bit, then hit the sack.

Remember?

While home:

I forgot how much of a freak my dad is. 

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I remembered how fun vegging with my fam is. 

I forgot how much it sucks to leave home. 

I remembered to pack lots of good healthy eats for the road trip back to LA.

I forgot to bring utensils to eat said food.

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I remembered to ask the gas station attendant to help me out.

I forgot gas stations expect people to be eating processed food crap (a spork!?)

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I forgot how boring the I-5 is.  Then, I remembered how boring the I-5 is.

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I forgot it was Halloween.  Then, I remembered and didn’t call the cops.

I forgot long car rides make me too lazy to cook. 

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But then I remembered we had leftovers

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I forgot to practice moderation. 

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I remembered that having seconds and thirds will still never make me too full for dessert. 

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I even remembered to take a picture of history.

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One hit, one miss

I made this a few days ago, but never got around to posting it…because I had a few issues along the way…so in case you thought all my recipes ended in success, here’s a bit of a reality check. 

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I got this acorn squash at the farmer’s market. 

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Issue #1 occurred with my lack of knife skills (slash intimidation with big shiny metal).  If you feel comfortable making a crushing blow down on a squash, more power to you, but I’m not quite there yet in my culinary career. 

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As a result, my cut ended up being slightly off center leaving me with a 70/30 spilt squash (rather than the even 50/50 cut I was going for).  You may be thinking this isn’t that big of a deal (and you’d be right, it wasn’t).  But for tutorial sake (and true squash baking perfection), having equally shaped/sized halves will allow them to cook uniformly.  Instead, I had to take the smaller portion out of the oven earlier, because it wasn’t as thick and therefore didn’t need to cook as long as the larger portion. 

I’ll get back to that later though…because now I want to turn my attention to the seeds. 

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I love roasting pumpkin seeds, so I figured I shouldn’t let the squash ones go to waste. 

I love salty seeds, but this time I went with a sweet recipe. 

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Sweet roasted squash seeds

  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp coconut oil, melted (I used Tropical Traditions Gold Label organic coconut oil pictured below)
  • 1/2 tsp NuNaturals liquid stevia (alternatively, you could use 1 tsp of vegan sugar)

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*As a disclaimer, I did receive the Tropical Traditions Gold Label coconut oil from the company to review.  Point blank, after one taste, I am already in love with it.  I can’t wait to share more recipes with you guys. 

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Mix all the ingredient up in a bowl and then spread them onto a baking sheet with cooking spray.

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Here’s where issue #2 reared it’s ugly head. 

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Oops!  

The apartment went from smelling of heavenly coconut bliss to completely reeking.  What a disaster.  In case you were wondering, this was after just 8 minutes under the broiler. 

So what did I learn? 

Toast your seeds with the oven on 400 and have patience.  Don’t use the broiler because they will char like a vampire in the sun.  Once you pre-heat the oven to 400, it will only take 10-20 minutes for the seeds to brown.  Toss them a few times to make sure they get even exposure.  There’s always next time…

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Now back to the squash. 

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Place each “half” face down in ~1 inch of water and put in a 400 degree oven. 

After ~45 minutes they should get soft enough to pierce with a fork.  That’s how you can tell if they are done.  Depending on how mushy you like your squash (or what you are planning to do with it), you can keep cooking it as long as you want.  Since I was planning on stuffing the acorn squash halves, I kept them slightly less mushy than I typically like. 

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Can you see the fork prong marks? 

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I let them cool while I prepped the inside stuffing. 

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Wheat Berry Stuffing (yields way more than can fit in the acorn squash)

  • 1/2 cup soaked wheat berries
  • 1 small bell pepper
  • 1-2 large carrots
  • 1/4 cup roasted red pepper hummus
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast

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After everything is mixed up separately, scoop it into the squash and either (a) put it back in the oven for a few minutes, or (b) go the lazy route (yes, please!) and pop it in the microwave for a quick minute. 

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Voila!

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The combo of hummus, apple cider vinegar, and nutritional yeast is one of my favorites ever.  It makes for a bangin’ savory sauce with a delicious cheese-like flavor. 

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I chopped the larger portion in half to facilitate the grubbing process. 

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The smaller portion was more of a mess to eat, but whatever, I made it work.  I’m such a trooper.  😉

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I polished off the leftover stuffing on the side and it was the perfect fall dish.  I love stuffing squash.  I’ve tried several kinds of squash and Delicata and Butternut are my favorites.  What’s your favorite squash?

If you’re interested, here are a few stuffed squash recipes I’ve made before:

Stuffed pumpkins with brown rice, beans, corn, and tomato

Stuffed kabocha with chickpeas & quinoa

*More in the recipes tab