July 28, 2011

Tower of Chard

This is what happens when you let your structurally inclined hubby chop the veggies for a make your own pizza party.

You wind up with a tower of chard.

It was my fault we had so much swiss chard to begin with. I went a little crazy in the garden because the crop is out of hand. Aside from the chard, we had white & red onions, tomatoes (some of the first from the garden!), a baby pattypan squash, and the choice of basil almond pesto, bbq sauce, or tomato sauce.

The other three ended up making strombolis and I had a pizza. This is why make your own pizza parties are so perfect. We all got a unique dinner and had fun making it together.

I got two questions in one comment in my last post to answer!

First off, a flax egg is indeed not an egg at all. It's one of the many substitutes for an egg that is used primarily by vegan bakers. I use it occasionally for a few reasons:
  • I want my food to be vegan
  • I want to be able to eat the cookie dough w/o consuming raw egg
  • I'm out of eggs and can't get any farm fresh ones right away
  • Flax has a lot of health benefits, including omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are important to consume. Americans in general consume far too many omega-6's and not nearly enough omega-3's, which throws off the proper ratio between the two. Omega-3's are commonly found in fish, but flax, chia seeds, and walnuts are all excellent sources in a vegetarian diet.

Second question: How do I store my homemade bread? ?

Usually in a plastic bag.

If the recipe I'm using makes 2 loaves, I"ll double bag one and freeze it. The remaining loaf is stored in one bag, with a little room to breath. I bought a nice bread loaf sized storage container that made every loaf grow mold quickly because it was so air tight. It's now pushed far into the back corner of my cabinet. I like to loosely twist the bag closed (or zip it most of the way, depending which type of bag I'm using) and tuck the end under the loaf. This method works for us due to the temperature in our kitchen (65-77 degrees, depending on the season) and the speed at which we eat the homemade bread.

I hope this was a good enough answer! 

Please continue to comment and I'll try to answer everyone's questions!

I'm heading to Pittsburgh for the weekend for my cousin's wedding. More posts when I return!

July 26, 2011

Blueberry & Applesauce Cookies

Remember when I told you I had a lot of blueberries? And that I made these? I couldn't stop myself from making them again and sharing my variations. 

I healthified them and veganized them and don't worry, they're still delicious. Moist and cake-like with bursts of juicy berry. Anytime snacks...all the time snacks. Picnic food. Breakfast food. Perfection.


Before you rush off to your kitchen to make these, I have a plea. I know you're out there! I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section. Tell me what you like, don't like, want me to change, want me to talk about, questions you might have, thoughts on completely unrelated topics, anything! It would be fun to hear your contributions.

Blueberry & Applesauce Cookies
Adapted from How Sweet Eats
Yield: 2 dozen cookies

4 T coconut oil, melted
1/3 c applesauce
3/4 c light brown sugar
1 flax egg (1 T ground flax + 3 T water)
1 tsp vanilla
1 c white whole wheat flour
3/4 c whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 T cinnamon
splash of almond milk, as needed
1 c fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 375. Mix flax egg and set aside to gel. Using an electric mixer, beat coconut oil, applesauce and sugar until smooth. Add flax egg and vanilla, mixing well until combined. Slowly add flours, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Mix until well blended. If dough seems dry, add in a splash of milk (I used it the first time I made these but didn't need any the second time).  Gently fold in blueberries with a spatula. Spoon on cookie tray into 1" cookies. Dough will only spread slightly while baking. Bake for 12 minutes or until set. Remove from tray and cool on cooling rack. Cookies will be moist, so store in a loosely covered container (not completely airtight).

Blueberry & Applesauce Cookies on FoodistaBlueberry & Applesauce Cookies

July 25, 2011

Crazy Sights

Haha. Perfect.

Mom in a cage with the garlic, asparagus and a dorky hat.

Is it still illegal to drink if you're on your own property driving a lawn tractor?

I guess it's okay if the tractor has a backup supply on the bumpers.

Creek crossing? Minus the creek...

Boots, buried underground for almost a century! They were made by Goodyear and patented in 1914. I'm surprised how well they held up. This makes me wonder what made the guy bury his boots. They're not in such bad shape for being ancient, so they couldn't have been that bad when he buried them. We thought maybe there was going to be a body, too.

The. Best. Water.  Especially refreshing in the middle of a long hike! You can tell who the goofball of the family is.

This is my crazy life. I love it.

July 24, 2011

Basil Almond Pesto

We have purple basil plants and I really wanted some purple pesto. No luck, but it is delicious. The Bup thinks the purple basil has a stronger flavor than regular. I'm not sure, but it is yummy!

So far we've used it on pizza, in grilled cheese (delicious on sourdough bread w/ provolone cheese), in stromboli, and on toast. Yum! I'm going to use the rest as a sauce for a side dish of pasta.

We grew all our green basil plants for a $1 bunch I bought at the local farmer's market. I put the bunch into a cup of water on the windowsill and it started to grow roots. Now look at it!

The purple basil is the Bup's. He grew it from seed, first inside and then out. Now it's big enough to be planted in the garden. We're hoping to bring it inside come fall so that we can have fresh basil year round.

I love the mixture of colors. I've always like green and purple together. I used to have 2 bathing suits, identical except for color - one purple, one greenish-teal. Now my basil matches.

The thing about pesto is that it usually has some pricey ingredients and has a lot of oil. I searched for a recipe that didn't use pine nuts, cause they're crazy expensive. My mom and aunt always sub lemon juice for olive oil, so I thought I'd give that a try to lighten it up a little.

Pesto isn't really the prettiest food. This isn't as green as most because it has the purple leaves, making it a yucky shade of green. It tastes delicious, though!  We're on our second batch already.

Basil Almond Pesto
Adapted from Tasty Kitchen
Yield: about 1 cup

Pesto is great as a sauce, spread, or mixed with some vinegar for a dressing.

2 T raw almonds
2 c fresh basil leaves, packed
2 cloves garlic
1/4 c shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 T olive oil
2 T lemon juice

Measure almonds and cook for 1.5 minutes in the microwave. Combine almonds, basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, sea salt, and black pepper in a food processor and pulse to lightly chop. Add olive oil and lemon juice and process until a paste forms. Once mixture is completely blended, remove from processor and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It may turn brown on the top from refrigeration, but just stir it and use as needed. Pesto will keep for about 2 weeks.

Basil Almond Pesto on FoodistaBasil Almond Pesto

July 22, 2011

Campfires & S'mores

Two marshmallows on a stick over a roaring fire. This is summer. There's nothing better.

 Really, what's not to love about a really good s'more all toasty from the fire? Especially when the chocolate is dripping out the sides and you have to lick around it like an ice cream sandwich or else your pants and shoes are going to be covered in goo.

If the whole fire in your yard/patio creeps you out, try these! Jessica has a ton of s'more recipes, but that's the closest to the real thing. Remember this post, where half of the things on it were s'more related? Yeah, I must've been ready for summer.

I happen to like a good roaring fire, whether it's hot out or cold out. There's something addicting about the flames. They're mesmerizing to me.

Bonafide campfire in the middle of nature, compliments of the Bup and Dad, who made sure it stayed alive while we roasted and chatted.


Sometimes I like to go out of my house, onto my patio, and enjoy a fire there, too.

With coffee, because if it's hot outside and there's heat from the fire, I should warm my insides, too.

::drip:: as I sweat the evening away ::drip::

One of the keys to a perfect s'more is laying out your graham cracker and chocolate so that it starts to melt. The worst experience ever is having a piping hot marshmallow and putting it on a frozen chocolate bar. The marshmallow oozes out the sides before the chocolate has a chance to bond with it.

Okay, I still want to eat that. Maybe it's not actually the worst experience EVER...just not quite as perfect.

Enjoy one for me at your next campfire!

It's Friday! A perfect night to find a peaceful spot and relax by a fire with s'mores.

July 20, 2011


This week began my attempt to celebrate for the remainder of summer.

There's so much to celebrate! I'm alive, it's sunny, I have a husband who loves me, we have a patio that begs for guests and a garden that's providing plenty for all!

It's interesting cooking for non-vegetarians. When I'm cooking for the Bup and I, I don't think twice about what to make, but when I'm cooking for others, suddenly the only foods I can think of are bean burgers, pasta, and pizza.

Or in one instance, ribboned asparagus salad. I'm surprised our guests came back after that meal! We were making cake balls and I was so focused on them that I didn't make much for dinner. All we had was a simple shaved asparagus salad. It was great, but horribly lacking in quantitiy. Thanks for coming back and letting me try again!

This week, we wanted to grill and hang out on the patio, so I decided on bean burgers (see, 1 of my 3 options), grilled veggies, cucumbers with dip, guacamole with blue chips, watermelon, drinks and s'mores.

There was a verrrrrry juicy watermelon involved. It was just dripping.

Who doesn't want to try this on a random Tuesday?

It wasn't quite what I expected it to be. Around the hole, it was so strong that I made faces when I bit into it, but everywhere else tasted like watermelon always does. Maybe it needed more time to soak in. I don't think I'll try it again, though. It would have been better to just puree the watermelon and make a slushie drink.

Smoky Pinto Bean Burgers, compliments of Mama Pea. Because every recipe of hers is delicious.

Zucchini and patty pan squash, compliments of our garden.

Campfire! Never the same without a huge bag of marshmallows.

What would you want to have if you were coming for dinner?
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