A dose of midweek cuteness

This week: Napoleon or anime creature? You decide.


This week in food.

Homemade Mac n cheese (for Danny, though I have admittedly eaten a few servings....)
Recipe by Alton Brown, found here.  The panko on top is my favorite part!

Vegan Mexican casserole recipe here
This recipe is so delicious.  I'm generally not a fan of fake meats, but the soyrizo here really adds a great kick to this meal.  Danny approved of the meal overall, so that means you will like it too.  Everything can be bought at Trader Joe's which makes me happy, but if you don't have one near you, just use similar salsas and beans.  The lavash bread makes this so unique, but I guess you could use tortillas as well if you can't find lavash.




Herbivore+Omnivore meal

I became a vegetarian almost 4 1/2 years ago.  I've been with Danny for almost 9 years now.  That means I'm not allowed to pull the vegetarian card on him and refuse to cook meat like some other lucky lifetime vegetarians I know with significant others who eat meat.  This also means I have to come up with ways to incorporate meat into vegetarian dishes I eat as main courses, make my vegetarian main dish a side for him, or fix things that will please him enough he won't miss the meat.

It's not always easy, but I am pretty pleased with what I came up with today.

The menu:
Spicy Panko Crusted Baked Chicken
Roasted Parsnips
Avocado "fries"
leftover asparagus

Spicy Panko Crusted Baked Chicken

What you need:
For the marinade:
8-10 fresh, free-range organic chicken strips (I recommend Trader Joe's version, very affordable)
2 T Sriracha
1/4 c rice wine vinegar
1/4 c olive oil
1 T Worcestershire 
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t cayenne
1/2 t smoked salt

For the crust:
1-2 eggs, beaten
1 cup panko 
1/2 cup flour
1 T cayanne
1 T garlic powder
1 t smoked salt

What you do:
1.  Combine all marinade ingredients together in a shallow dish.  Place chicken in the marinade and refrigerate, turning occasionally.  Marinate all day, or as long as possible for best flavor (I think...) :)
2.  When ready to cook the chicken, preheat oven to 425.
3.  Set up a breading station from left to right as follows: chicken, beaten egg in a shallow dish, crust mixture in a shallow dish, pan that breaded chicken will be cooked in.  (see picture below for similar set up with the avocado fries)
4.  Take chicken, one at a time and dip in egg mix, removing excess before dipping and coating in the panko mix and then placing in the final dish.  Do this to all pieces of chicken.
5.  Drizzle a little olive oil on all the pieces for extra crunch and color.
5.  Bake for around 30 minutes, checking occasionally for doneness, as all chicken will have different thickness.

Baked Avocado "fries"

What you need:
2 ripe avocados
3 T ground flax seed
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 c water
1 c panko
1/2 c flour
1 T cayenne
1 T garlic powder
1 t smoked salt

What you do:
1. Cut avocados in half, remove pit and cut each half into 4 sections.
2.  Carefully remove sections with a spoon.
3.  Set up your breading station in the same manner as the chicken.
4.  Mix together the flaxseed, water and baking powder.*
5.  Dip avocado pieces one at a time into the flax seed mixture, ensuring to get some flax on each piece before dipping into the panko breading.
6.  Drizzle olive oil on each and place in pre-heated 450 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.
*You can use eggs for the coating, but to make them vegan I wanted to try this option, it worked really well!

Roasted Parsnips: (Thanks Jarrett and Dave for introducing me to this delicious veg!)

What you need:
2-3 parsnips, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
olive oil
balsamic vinegar

What you do:
Generously drizzle the parsnip pieces with olive oil and balsamic and sprinkle with some rosemary. Bake in 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until parsnips are nice and tender, stirring occasionally so they do not burn.

For dessert, Chocolate Covered Katie's chocolate chip cookie pie, made with beans.  (I halved her recipe, so it is half as thick, but equally delicious I'm sure!!!)

this picture is from yesterday...it is all gone now because I devoured it all. :(

perfect day for a family bike ride!

Love Native Foods!

Rose cardamom cupcake, water with mint and lemon. Sunny SoCal January. Loving life!

a dose of midweek cuteness


Oatmeal casserole: hot or cold

I'm a fan of healthy, delicious breakfasts that you don't have to cook every morning.  
This makes 4-6 servings for me.
I like it better cold than I do straight out of the oven.

Sweet Potato Oatmeal Casserole (adapted from Oh She Glows)

What you need:
2 small sweet potatoes peeled and chopped (approx. 2 c uncooked)
1/2 c oats
2 c almond milk
1 ripe banana
1 T ground flax seed
2 t vanilla extract
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
2 T maple syrup

2/3 c chopped walnuts
2 T Earth Balance, melted
2 T flour (I use buckwheat)
3 T brown sugar

What you do:
1.  Bring pot of water to boil and add chopped sweet potato.  Boil until fork tender (about 5 min).  Remove and set aside.
2.  Whisk together oats, milk, and flax seed in pot.  Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for about 7 minutes, or until runny oatmeal texture is achieved.
3.  Add sweet potatoes and banana to pot and mash all ingredients together.  I need to invest in a potato masher, my large fork took a lot of effort!


4.  Mix remaining ingredients into oatmeal.  Put oatmeal mixture into a casserole-like dish, or whatever you have.
5.  Mix topping ingredients together and put crunchies on top of the oatmeal.
6.  Bake in 350 degree pre-heated oven for 20 minutes.
7.  Enjoy your first serving hot...it's good, but trust me, it will be better later, straight from the fridge!
Bon Appetit!


Cookie Dough that is intended to be eaten by the spoonful.

Most intriguing on pinterest are all of the healthy desserts by Chocolate covered Katie usually using beans.

Who would fall for that, right? Danny did. If I mention healthy or vegan he immediately likes the food less, so when he was craving some unhealthy cookies yesterday, I asked "what about cookie dough?". He asked only one question: "is it real cookie dough with real sugar?". To which I replied, "yes."

I was a little nervous, even after taste testing it myself, I thought he would guess it was vegan, but maybe not care. I thought he might catch me processing the chickpeas and solve the puzzle. Instead he carefully ate the dough with a spoon, not eating too much because I'm sure he thinks it's unhealthy. That my friends, is a sure sign that this recipe is a winner.*
*Because he will eventually see this, I have to add that he did say he does not think it is as good as real cookie dough, but still very good and he will eat it again for sure.

Cookie Dough Dip (adapted from Chocolate Covered Katiehttp://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2011/05/23/want-to-eat-an-entire-bowl-of-cookie-dough/)

What you need:
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) -rinsed thoroughly
1/8 t baking soda
2 t vanilla extract
1.5 T peanut butter
1.5 T almond butter
1/4 c brown sugar (adjust based on the sweetness you desire.
3 T oats
up to 1/4 c almond milk (add 1 T at a time, I only needed about 3 T)
1 c semi sweet chocolate chips

What you do:
1. Process everything in a food processor, except chocolate chips and milk, ensuring that you thoroughly rinsed the chickpeas before processing.
2.  Add milk 1 T at a time until cookie dough density and texture is achieved.
3.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Eat with a spoon or dip something like graham crackers, pretzels, or cookies.  Enjoy!

What I would do different next time:
-less chocolate chips, probably would process those too so they are not so chunky, or use chopped up semi sweet chunks instead, because I am a bigger fan of lots of small chocolate in my cookie dough.
-lose the oatmeal, use ground flax seeds instead.


What I did over winter vacation.

Intentions for winter vacation: architecture reading and research, work out every day, catch up on blogging.

What I did on winter vacation: worked out every day (over 9 hours of cardio, go me!), became obsessed with pinterest and re-pinning recipes.

Send forth the recipes I have tried so far:

Baked Brie Bites (adapted from joy the baker)

I thought these would make a great appetizer, but people were too frightened by their large size.  Damn you puff pastry for puffing up to look so big!  They were actually quite delicious and my family doesn't know what they were missing.

yields 24 bites

What you need:
2 sheets puff pastry thawed but still cold
1/2 wedge of brie
1 cup dried figs, chopped
1 egg, beaten

What you do:
1. Unroll pastry sheets* and cut into thirds, then cut each strip into 4.  3x4=12x2=24.  Yay math.
2. Place a small chunk of brie on the center of half of the pastry rectangles and top with a bit of dried fig.  You will know what the right amount is by eye.  (sorry, I don't really measure things...)
3.  Beat the egg well and brush it along all four edge of each rectangle.
4.  Place remaining rectangles atop of brie and fig pieces and seal edges with a fork or a nifty edge sealer.
5.  Place on cookie sheet and brush tops with egg wash (you don't have to do this part, but it makes them a pretty golden brown)
6.  Bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 12-14 minutes, or until you are sure they are done.
7.  Eat ASAP, they will be hot at first, but they are delish.
*Ensure floured side is down on the parchment, or flour it, otherwise it will stick, I learned the hard way.

Quinoa Corn Salad

Always on the prowl for new things to do to quinoa, this recipe at Just a Taste intrigued me, so I adapted it for dinner last night.  It's amazing, a new favorite, though next time I will probably make 1/2 this amount.

the dressing

yields 8-10 servings

What you need:
bag of frozen corn
8-10 scallions, chopped
2 c uncooked quinoa
1 T lemon zest
the juice of 1-2 lemons (about 2-3 T)
1/4 c melted margarine (I use Earth Balance*)
1 T honey
salt and pepper to taste
*I choose Earth Balance because it is dairy free and not bad for you like many margarine's can be.  It contains natural ingredients and no hidden trans fats  

What you do:
1. Cook quinoa according to package directions (usually a 1:2 quinoa:water ratio, for about 15 minutes after boil has been reached)
2. Cook corn according to package directions
3.  In a large bowl, combine lemon zest, juice, margarine, honey, salt and pepper.  Whisk together.
4.  When quinoa and corn are cooked, put them in bowl, along with chopped scallions.
5.  Stir together and serve.

I ate a big bowl on top of some mixed greens. (good hot or cold)  I served it to Danny under a chicken breast.  This one is a winner for veg and non-veg alike.  Bon Appetit!

so simple and so delish!