January 30, 2011

A Taste of Heaven and Roasted Deliciousness

The Bup declared tonight's dinner a success. He came up with the nicknames for each food. We had A Taste of Heaven (Baked Portobello Caps) with Roasted Deliciousness (Roasted Brussels Sprouts). On our ski trip, Laura mentioned the brussels sprouts were her new veggie obsession, so when we got home I was hungry for them!

The brussels sprouts were easy. The Bup chopped them into uniform pieces.

I mixed in the garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.

We put them in the oven at 400* for about 20 minutes, added chopped pecans halfway through, and then they were done! In the meantime, we prepped the mushrooms.

I rinsed them, added garlic, salt and pepper...

...and poured on the balsamic vinegar. During which I cut my finger on the metal screw top of the bottle. Beware of hidden sharp objects.

The spinach didn't add much flavor but I added it for the color and nutrients. Did you know mushrooms have Vitamin D? They're one of those foods that I know are good for me but I always forget why.


It shriveled up a little during baking and the balsamic soaked in nicely. If I hadn't been so hungry I probably would have left them in a little longer to let the feta brown.

Baked Portobello Caps
Serves 2

2 Portobello mushroom caps
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 T balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup chopped spinach
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 400*F. Spray a small pan with cooking spray. Clean mushroom caps and place gill side up in pan. Sprinkle with garlic, salt and pepper. Pour balsamic vinegar into the gills of the mushrooms. Lay spinach on each cap, dividing evenly. Sprinkle with feta cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until feta begins to brown. Serve hot!

January 29, 2011


This was my world for the past week. Snow, frost, gorgeous views, and cold weather at Killington Ski Resort in Vermont.

We went Nowhere...

...and Somewhere.

We skiied on Solitude, a slow ski trail through nature.

It was a nice long peaceful ski.

And we did plenty of not so peaceful, fast, steep fun runs, too!


All bundled up for a big day of skiing!

We really loved the tree skiing. It was out of the wind and kept us working so we stayed warmer.

My poor feet still suffered. They were red around the toes every day. (Don't mind the chipped polish...) It burned to take a shower because they were so cold. This was after the shower, so they were warmed up a little by the time I took the picture. I still have all 10 toes after 4 days of skiing!

The Bup successfully navigated the Beast. He now loves Killington, too!

Can't wait till next year! It was a great workout and so much fun!

January 24, 2011

Thawing out

We spent yesterday driving up to Vermont to ski for the week. At home, the thermometer in the van said 16. It dropped, degree by degree, to a beautiful low of -6. It may have blinked lower when we weren't looking. 

This morning we dressed in a suitcase full of clothes and headed out to ski. In case you're interested, that included 3 pairs of long underwear/pants and 6 tops, wool sweater, underarmour and a fleece included. Before the ski pants and jacket. I was feeling like a marshmallow.

The first time we checked the thermometer it was -20.

It got up to -2. Whew, that was a relief. It was almost balmy!

So tonight we're having chili. Ahhhh...  I think I can feel my toes again.

January 22, 2011


I've been dreaming about this dinner for almost a week now. Roasted squash and kale salad. We're leaving to go skiing tomorrow so last night we were using up veggies from the fridge.

I roasted the squash. For some reason, when I peel and cut butternut squash it leaves a residue on my hand that I can't wash off. I even took a full shower (cause of the gym, not cause of the squash) after cutting this up and my hand still felt weird afterwards. Anyone have an explanation?

I cleaned the kale. I love how firm and crisp it is. I mixed it with some onions and the leftover peanut sauce from our spring rolls.

We had them side by side instead of mixed together because I was hungry and didn't want to wait for the squash to cool. And a kiwi. They were on sale 4/$1 today!

The chili garlic sauce that was in the peanut dressing was SO SPICY! We had to cool our mouths with leftover cake. There was 1 slice left so we split it and the Bup swirled his with whipped cream. The perfect ending.

Roasted Squash with Kale
Adapted from Health Magazine
Serves 2

1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 T brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 pound kale
1/4 cup onion, sliced
2 T peanut dressing
1 T red wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray large baking sheet with olive oil. Cube butternut squash and toss with brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Bake for 25 minutes or until browned and soft. Meanwhile, clean kale & onion. Toss with peant dressing and red wine vinegar. Serve alongside roasted squash.

January 19, 2011

A Quick Visit

On Sunday we went to visit our aunt down near Baltimore. That's Shea, her kitty. As usual, this involved the Bup helping with some handy-man work around the house and us all going to Trader Joe's, my all-time favorite grocery store! This time around we tried a new grocery store, Roots Market. They sell whole, natural foods, mostly organic and local, and are socially and environmentally responsible. I loved the selection and variety.

For lunch, we went to their partner restaurant, Great Sage. They serve vegan food and bill themselves as "Organic Green Cuisine." I wanted to try EVERYTHING. I got the Roasted Vegetable Wrap. It had eggplant, sweet potato, hummus, and plenty of other delicious veggies inside. I wasn't excited about the chips, but the wrap was so filling I didn't need a side. Plus we shared an order of the Almost Raw Vietnamese Spring Rolls. They were so good that they were gone before I got a picture. And they came with peanut dipping sauce. I may or may not have licked the bowl clean... :-)

The Bup got the Great Sage Chili and Brown Rice with Fresh-Baked Cornbread. Talk about a HUGE bowl of food! He was happy.

Aunt Connie got the Thai 'Chicken' Salad. It had soba noodles mixed in with the veggies. It was her first experience with chicken-that-isn't-from-an-animal and she enjoyed it. We joked about Tofurky and whether this should be call Toficken. Bad joke, I know.

A lot of people shy away when they hear 'meat substitute.' The Bup and I have tried many varieties. The only product we've tried that is 99% identical to meat is the Smart Grounds Original Veggie Protein Crumbles. We've made soups, sloppy joes, and taco salad, all with great success. Our other standby is Tofurky for sandwiches. Deli meat has too many issues that I won't go into. But Tofuky is a great substitute.

I wish there were restaurants like this in our area!

January 17, 2011

Mmmm cake!

Some days you just need cake. 

So I made some. Excuse: My parents are coming for dinner tomorrow.

In my defense, I invited them to come tonight but they had meeting and chiro appointments and all that silly stuff. I forgot to tell them about the cake or they might've cancelled all that.

Sorry Mom & Pops, I tried to stop him. We had to dig in without you. At least I convinced him to let me cut it first. We'll try to save you a few pieces.

Here it is: dense, moist, & oh-so-chocolatey with a hint of sweet. Enjoy!

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake
adapted & changed from bread to cake from Carrotsncake.com

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 flax egg (1T ground flax + 2.5 T hot water)
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Preheat the oven to 325*F. Grease and flour two 8" round cake pans. Mix flax egg and let sit for about 5 minutes. Combine all ingredients in bowl of an electric mixer and beat until combined. Beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Divide batter evenly between pans. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Invert onto cooling racks. Cool completely before icing and stacking.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Icing
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-4 T almond milk

Beat together first 4 ingredients with an electric mixer until combined. Add milk 1 T at a time until it reaches a spreadable consistency.

 We did eat dinner first. Chili, a quesadilla twist on these, and carrot sticks. The Bup is scraping and shining our dining room floor so we took dinner into the living room. I don't love eating on tables that are level with my chin, which is what always happens when I sit on a couch with a tray table. The food was still good but the movie we followed it with wasn't. Sleeping With the Enemy was creepy. I was proud of Julia Roberts' character for getting away but her husband was eerie. I hate thinking that people live with abuse like that.

Earlier I made the Banana Bread with Chocolate and Crystallized Ginger from Orangette

It was super easy, aside from chopping the ginger. Man that stuff is sticky!

I made muffins instead of bread because the Bup like muffins for breakfast best. He's spoiled, what can I say.


January 15, 2011

Free Time?

This is what football looks like at our house.

Or at least dinner during the Steelers game.

Homemade baked beans, hummus, a big salad, and beer. Mine with apple slices instead of oranges. Still delicious!

And this is what the Bup's day off looked like.

I got home and found him doing this in the basement.

So I brought a glass down and joined him.

I have a new love for rice noodles! I guess I should've broken them up a little before I cooked them though... 

We had Pho Soup for dinner. It was delicious, quick and light. Thanks for the recipe Mama Pea!


January 13, 2011

Quick Dinner

See those tomatoes? They're from my garden. It's January! I have 1 left, lonely on my counter, to use for a very special dinner. Any ideas on the best use?

I got lentil burgers and homemade wheat rolls out of the freezer before I went to the gym. After I got home I made a salad and guacamole to go with the burgers. Of course, there was wine during the chopping of veggies. I like having it before the meal and then saving a few sips for during dinner.

I didn't use the non-stick pan and then forgot to spray this one, so they stuck a little and fell apart, but they mashed back together easily. My pan was permanently stained (at least to my scrubbing skills) but after dinner the Bup washed it with steel wool and it's as shiny as new now! I'm sure that won't last... :-)

Mmmm guacamole. With my almost last tomato! And blue chips!

Lentil Burgers
slightly adapted from Amy Dacyczyn
Makes 11 patties

2 c cooked lentil-bulgur mixture (see directions below)
2 c homemade whole wheat bread crumbs (or store-bought)
1 c chopped onion
1/2 c chopped green pepper
4 T Italian seasoning
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs (or 2 T soy flour + 2 T water)
1/2 c milk

To make the lentil-bulgur mixture, bring 3 c water, 3/4 c dried lentils, and 3/4 c bulgur to a boil. Simmer mixture for 45 minutes or until moisture is absorbed.* Mix 2 cups of cooked lentil-bulgur mixture with the next 5 ingredients. Add eggs, stir until combined. Add milk and stir again. Chill for 30 minutes. Form into patties. Cook on a non-stick skillet until heated through, about 5 minutes per side. Freeze any additional patties in a gallon baggie by placing them in layers with wax paper in between. They will thaw in about 30 minutes.

*I made twice this amount and froze the rest for future use. I plan to use it to make burritos by adding taco seasonings.

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