I’m Back Baby!

Posted on January 4, 2018. Filed under: Main Course, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Guys it has been a LONG few months. From the time I started working at my second job, I had maybe a week off total. It’s been exhausting, to say the least. Even if I’ve had time to cook, I hadn’t had time to post anything. I’ll be posting 2 posts today (should be 3, but I can’t remember all that went into my curry, sorry!)

Now, you must be asking, “How does she have time to post stuff now?” Well, I left my second job a little after Christmas because I’ll be training to shift supervise at Unos, and I’m pretty excited about it. Sure, I’ll be working a lot, but not nearly as much has I have been.

Now, onto the food, tha’s why you’re here, right? Few weeks ago I was really wanting potato soup (again, I know), but it’s my favorite thing. I wanted to make it easy on myself and make it in my crock pot.

Nice thing about crock pot cooking is that you set it, leave, come back and the food is done. Nice thing about vegan crock pot cooking is that it takes even less time to cook.

This recipe is SO easy. If I do it again, I would put less jalapenos (in retrospect, 2 full unseeded jalapenos were too many) it’s also vegan, AND it has beer.


Here’s what to get from the store:

Vegetable broth
Sweet Potatoes
Red Potatoes
Button Mushrooms
Black beans
Beer of your choice (I used Three Floyds Alpha King)

Easy Two Potato Beer Soup

2 Sweet Potatoes, diced
2 Red Potatoes, diced
1 Jalapeno, diced
5 cloves garlic, smashed
1 yellow onion, diced
5-6 button mushrooms, sliced
1 container vegetable broth
1 bottle of beer
1 can black beans
Salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne

  1. Throw everything but the beans and mushrooms into the crock pot. Season just a little but, and turn the pot onto high.
  2. Once everything is cooked through, place a good amount of the soup into your blender and blend until smooth. You can put as much or as little as you like, depending on how chunky you want your soup.
  3. Add the black beans and mushrooms and cook a little longer.  Taste to adjust seasonings.

That’s it!  One of the easiest things I’ve made in a while, and it lasted a while so I had warm food for a week.

I’m going back to just doing grains on the weekends; just fruit, veggies and maybe meat during the week. I want to see how cut I can get before I go on vacation, worked before my birthday, it’ll work again.

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What season is it?

Posted on September 28, 2017. Filed under: Main Course, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

First day of fall as about a week ago. Before that, we had fall weather; chilly a night, somewhat nice during the day but not cold. But, the day that fall fell (haha…?) on the calendar, it was over 90 degrees. In fact, it was like that for about a week before that. I’m not complaining, I love the heat. That being said, I had that nasty cold everyone had on my last day off. I had originally thought about making this soup then. But it was 1000 degrees and soup wasn’t in my vocabulary at that point.

Today was my day off for…who knows how long? (Probably 2 weeks, I hope. ) My plans included working out (done) and going to the beach. When I woke up to use the bathroom this morning, I checked the weather. 70 – (maybe)75 degrees. Not really beach weather. (The wind coming through my window was cooler than that). I decided to go to the zoo, and to make this soup, cause, why not?

This soup is vegan (just leave off the cheese) good for you, and really quick. Oh, and it has beer in it, what could be better?

Sweet and Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

Here’s what to get from the store:

Vegetable Brooth
Beer (an ale of some sort)
Sweet Potatoes
Sweet Corn
Black Beans
Red Onion
Chiplote peppers
Manchego cheese
Goat cheese

Sweet and Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

1 red onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, diced
4 ears corn, de corned and divided
1 head broccoli, diced
3 chiplote peppers
1 12 oz bottle beer (I used Spotted Cow)
2 cartons vegetable broth
3 sweet potatoes, diced
1 can black beans
1/2 cp brown sugar
Salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne, tumeric

  1. In a dutch oven, saute the onion until fragrant. Add the garlic. Make sure to salt and pepper throughout.
  2. Add half the corn, saute until almost cooked.
  3. Add the beer, bring to a boil and reduce to half.
  4. Add the sweet potatoes, peppers and broth.
  5. Once the potatoes are cooked, spoon the mixture into your blender (or use an immersion blender) to blend until smooth. You may have to add more broth to the mixture to thin it out.
  6. Once blended, add the rest of the corn, the broccoli and beans. Cook until the broccoli is tender. Taste, then add the brown sugar. You may need more or less than I used, depending on how spicy it is.
  7. Top with manchego and goat cheese, if desired.

One the things I’ve been helping with at Unos has been the beer menu, along with the education. I have to say, it’s been a lot of fun trying new breweries and learning new stuff about beer to teach to my coworkers. I’ve already taught one class, and my next one is slated for 2 weeks from now. Even though it’s extra work, it’s fun work, and I don’t mind doing it especially since my boss trusts me to do the class. Say what you will about the drinking culture, but we have some really cool things to learn.

I’m still able to excersice before work every day, even when I’m tired. If you had known me 10 years ago, you wouldn’t have believed I could do that; hell, even I couldn’t have believed I could. At 32, I’m in the best shape of my life and I couldn’t be prouder.


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Tundra Season is Back

Posted on December 14, 2016. Filed under: Main Course, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

I’ve lived in the midwest for 31 years. That’s my whole life. So, needless to say, I’m used to the cold. But, that doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it; cause I really don’t. Ever since I started eating better and lost weight, I’ve been more sensitive to the cold than in the past.

At the end of last week it dropped down to the 20s and finally snowed. My toes go numb, I need to wear 2 pairs of socks, and attempt to wear 2 pairs of pants (I really wish I had some pants from when I as bigger so leggings would fit better underneath). Most of last week I ate a lot of salads, mainly because I couldn’t think of anything else to cook. But, during my yoga yesterday, I remembered I had some of my parents’ frozen heirloom tomatoes. So, why not make soup? After that decision, my friend Kati said she needed a study break, and we decided we had to make grilled cheese with the tomato soup.

This soup is very easy, vegan, and completly good for you. Besides the tomatoes, there’s black beans, carrots and mushrooms. It is a little chunky in texture, but it is tasty, a little spicy and very warming.

Tomato Veggie Soup

Here’s what to get from the store: (If you don’t have frozen tomatoes)

Stewed canned tomatoes
Tomato sauce
Baby Bella Mushrooms
Vegetable Broth
Black Beans

Tomato Veggie Soup

1 quart stewed tomatoes
16 oz can of tomato sauce
2 carrots, diced
8 cloves garlic, diced
2 shallots, diced
5 baby bella mushrooms, diced
1 16 oz can black beans
32 oz vegetable broth
Salt, black pepper, red pepper, cayenne, turmeric, paprika, basil, paprika
Balsamic vinegar and lemon juice.

  1. In a large stock pot or dutch oven, saute the shallots until translucent. Add the carrots and saute until bright orange. Add the mushrooms and garlic, saute until garlic is cooked through. Season with salt, pepper and other seasonings.
  2. Add the stewed tomatoes and sauce, bring to a boil. Add the black beans.
  3. Once the carrots are cooked through, use your immersion blender (or spoon it into a regular blender) and blend until almost smooth. Add the vegetable broth, stir and bring to a simmer. Taste to adjust seasonings, add the balsamic and lemon juice. Let simmer to bring the flavors together. Serve with some grilled cheese.

This Friday, the first show I did with Gorilla Tango is closing. It’s a bitter sweet moment because I do love that show, but it was getting a little tired and probably needed an update. I’ll be sad to see it go, for sure. This is also the last weekend of shows before the holidays. After that I’ll be jumping in to train 2 new SMs that can hopefully take over when I’m gone with my new show in April and May. Life is changing, and there’s nothing wrong with it, on to bigger and better things.

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Shame on me!

Posted on November 7, 2016. Filed under: Main Course, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

Guys, I’ve been a bad blogger. I made a dish probably about two weeks ago and haven’t posted about it yet. Shame on me.

As I’m sure you can tell, I’ve been on a vegan kick. While my diet is omnivore, I don’t generally buy meat and most of the time end up eating vegetarian and vegan foods. I know I’ve talked about this before and you’re probably getting a little tired of it.

It’s officially November and that means Thanksgiving, cold weather, and comfort food. Well… scratch the cold weather part. It’s 71 and sunny today. And I have to work. Of course. (I’d rather be reading by the lake). But, a few weeks ago we did have our normal dip and it did get down to the mid 40s/low 50s. I had been racking my brain on what to make for the week, and kept coming up empty. But then I remembered I had some rice noodles and a large box of coconut milk, and thought of a curry soup. (Yes, I know my last few posts were about curry, it’s good). I also had some asparagus and other veggies, and a soup was born.

I love soups, most of the time I prefer really creamy soups, but the right broth can make any soup delicious. On top of that, soups are actually very easy because making them involves flavor development, down time, and you can throw anything you have into the pot. They can be as healthy or unhealthy as you like, as carnivorous or vegan as you like.

This soup is very easy. Since there’s no meat, cooking time is cut down, but not too much because flavor development is important.

Cumin Spiced Coconut Curry Soup

Most of the things I had laying around, but if you don’t, here’s what to get from the store:

Boxed coconut milk (32 oz)
Baby bella mushrooms
Mini sweet peppers
Fresh Basil
Rice Noodles
Seasame seeds
Miso paste

Cumin Spiced Coconut Curry Soup

5 cloves garlic, diced
5 baby bella mushrooms, sliced
Handful of asparagus diced
3 mini peppers, diced and deseeded
2 carrots, diced
1 tbsp. sesame seeds
32 oz coconut milk
1 serving rice noodles, soaked in hot water
2 tbsp. miso paste
Salt, pepper, turmeric , cumin, sriracha, lemon juice, fresh basil

  1. Sauté the garlic until fragrant. Add asparagus, carrots,  mushrooms and peppers, cooking until asparagus is bright green Make sure to season with salt, pepper, turmeric and cumin at each addition.
  2. Add the sesame seeds to toast.
  3. Add the miso paste to coat, then the coconut milk.
  4. Bring to a simmer, add sriracha and lemon juice; taste to adjust seasoning.
  5. Lower the tempter and let cook for about 10-15 minutes. Taste one more time.
  6. In a large bowl, place the soaked rice noodles and top with the broth and fresh diced basil

The closer real winter gets the more I’m fearing it; this has been very mild fall and that means January and February are not going to be fun. Being a Midwestern girl I’m completely used to the cold weather, but my recent weight loss over the past 4-5 years has made me extra susceptible to cold. Even though my metabolism is higher, there is not as much padding as there used to be. Expect me to be making a lot more warming things over the next few months.

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What do you eat, anyway?

Posted on September 29, 2016. Filed under: Main Course, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

I talk about food at work a lot. It’s an easy thing to talk about and it really gets quiet customers talking. (And I get tired of talking about the weather all the time). I was telling someone about vegan food and he said “what is a vegan meal anyway?” It can be a  valid question, while I do know a lot of people who eat vegan and vegetarian, a wide part of the population doesn’t and I’m sure they don’t realize how good vegan food can be. On top of that, it’s really easy to make.

The weather finally turned and it’s been raining all day today. I walked down to a liquor store and Walgreens and had to giggle to myself. I had on sweatshirt with my hood up, and I passed a few people wearing winter coats.  I sometimes forget that not everyone in the city grew up here. I also forget that while I’m cold right now, some people are WAY colder.

Cold means soup, at least for me. The last time mom and dad came up they brought me some frozen green beans and heirloom tomatoes from their garden. I’m sad I didn’t get any fresh ones (work and moving kind of put a damper on that) but that meant I had to come up with up with something to make with frozen veggies. Soup seemed the best route, specially since the frozen heirlooms have extra water in them to help make a broth.

This recipe is super easy, it does take some time because I used raw chickpeas instead of canned (you can use canned, Aldi didn’t have them the last time I went) and the tomatoes do need to stew down a little bit. Not only is it easy, it’s also vegan and 100% good for you.


Here’s what to get from the store (if you don’t have fresh veggies)

6 heirloom tomatoes
Green beans

Vegetable Soup

6 Heirloom tomatoes, cooked and peeled in their water
1 cup uncooked chickpeas (or 1 can)
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, diced
2 cobs of corn, corn cut off
1 cup green beans
1 cup asparagus, diced
4 cups water
Salt, pepper, paprika, basil, oregano, red pepper flake

  1. If you already have stewed tomatoes, you can skip this step. If you don’t, quarter the tomatoes, boil them until soft, them remove the skin and set aside.
  2. If you have raw chickpeas, soak a cup of them over night .
  3. In a large saucepan, sweat the onion, carrots and garlic. Once they are translucent, add the tomatoes and their extra water. Stir, season, and squish the tomatoes. Bring to a boil and add the uncooked chickpeas. Let simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the fluid is reduced by half. Add the water, season again and let cook until the chickpeas are cooked.
  4. Add the asparagus, corn, and beans. Simmer until the vegetables are cooked. Serve topped with fresh basil.

I’m glad I’ve found yoga, it’s helped me stay focused, and even in a better mood when the weather gets crappy. I’m going to try to not tan this winter, it was my crutch last winter thanks to the warmth. We’ll see how long it lasts.

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Rockin Ramen

Posted on January 8, 2016. Filed under: Main Course, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Tweet Tweet Tweet….anyone? No? Ok lol

So, before I start my post about the awesome food I just made, I would like to say, that after years of insecurities about my body image, I finally, love how I look. It took over a year of diet changes and almost a year of yoga, but I finally love how I look. My body is still a work in progress, but it’s a great progress. I’m saying all this mainly because I know so many people who are still where I was a year ago. None of this is instant. The love for your body will be gradual, and you really won’t notice the difference until you wake up one day and go “Wow, I look HOT”. Don’t give up.

Now, onto the food.

I don’t know why, but I felt I had to make some homemade Ramen. The only Ramen I had ever had before today was the cheap little packets college students live on.

That is not even close to the real stuff. This recipe is really good, but it does take a while. I started around 7 and didn’t eat till 8:30. I also couldn’t find all the correct ingredients (thanks to living in NWI) but I got as close as I could.

Vegetarian Ramen with Hoisen Glazed Tofu

Here’s what to get from the store: (big list)

Seasame Seeds
Seasame paste (or peanut butter)
Chili Oil
Soy Sauce
Dried mushrooms (I used cremini, this recipe uses porchini)
Veggie Broth
Ginger Root
Canned Bamboo
Seasame Oil
Extra Firm Tofu
Green Onion
Baby Bok Choy (I used regular cabbage, couldn’t find bok choy)
Ramen noodles
Bean Sprouts

Vegetarian Ramen
(From A Side of Sweet)

For the Sesame Tare:

1 c. sesame seeds, toasted
2 T. of soy sauce or tamari
¼ c. sugar
⅓ c. chili oil
½ c. sesame paste or peanut butter
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 spring onion, thinly sliced

For the Broth:

8 c. boiling water
1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
1 T. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 T. of miso (I used red)
2 T. soy sauce or tamari
2 c. vegetable broth
3 cloves garlic, minced
1½ inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced

For the bamboo

200g canned and drained bamboo
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 T. soy sauce
2½ tsp. sugar
Pinch or two of chili flakes, to taste

For the tofu:

8 oz. extra-firm tofu, thinly sliced
1 T. sesame oil

For the fixings:

8 ounces ramen noodles (in a pinch, you can buy the easy Maruchan kind and discard the spice packet)
4 large eggs, soft boiled and gently peeled
3-4 green onions, thinly sliced
Handful of bean sprouts, blanched
4-6 baby bok choy, sliced in half and blanched

  1. Make the sesame tare (a seasoning base for the mushroom broth)
  2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.
Make the Broth:
  1. In large bowl, combine the boiling water and the dried mushrooms and let soak 15 minutes. Strain the mushrooms through a sieve. Reserve both the soaking water and the porcini, slice once cool.
  2. In a large saucepan or Dutch over, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot, sauté 2 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the miso and soy sauce (or tamari if you’re gluten free).
  4. Add the miso mixture, mushroom liquid, veggie broth, garlic, and ginger to your veggies and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Strain the broth over a bowl to remove the solids and discard them. Return to pain over medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat.
Make the bamboo
  1. In a skillet, heat 1 tsp. sesame oil over medium and stir-fry the bamboo until dry. Add the soy sauce, sugar and chili flakes and cook until dry. Watch carefully as they will burn quickly!
Make the tofu:
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and cook until crispy and golden. Flip to ensure even cooking, about 5-8 minutes total.
Assemble the ramen:
  1. Before you begin, have everything laid out so you can work quickly. Have the pot of broth warm on the stove.
  2. Heat a large pot of water to boiling and cook the ramen according to package direction or until tender (about 8 minutes). Drain and remove from heat.
  3. Divy up broth between your serving bowls and equally divide the sesame tare between them. Whisk to combine. Add the cooked ramen. Top each bowl with mushrooms, soft-boiled eggs, bamboo shoots, tofu, and green onions.

Normally I say the personal stuff here, but I already did.

I rock.

And I’m hot.

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Squash the soup!

Posted on October 30, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Ok, that one wasn’t to great, but it’s hard with squash soup?

So, as I said yesterday, I got the day off. I literally laid around and did a bunch of nothing, added to some cooking. It was great. I left the apartment once, and that was because my Cartwheel app had 40% off boots and…well I had to get new snow boots.

I had been wanting to make a butternut squash soup ever since I had a version at work. It was good, but too thin and WAY to sweet. Yes, I know butternut squash is sweet, but this was almost dessert soup. I started my plan to just to regular soup, then I decided to add cauliflower and sweet potato, because, why not? And good soup needs good bread, so I found a recipe for a no knead bread online. And then I decided I wanted to make some bread pudding out of the banana bread I had in my freezer. This is what happens when I have time to cook. I invited Shawn over because I know she likes a lot of the same flavors I do..and I still have a lot. I’ll be bringing some in to trade for some chili with some of my regulars.

The bread recipe is beyond easy (I actually woke up in the middle of the night wondering what the yeast would eat because there’s no sugar), the soup is just slightly time consuming, and the bread pudding is also super easy.

Butternut Squash Soup with No Knead Bread Banana Bread Pudding

Here’s what to get from the store:

Butternut Squash
Sweet Potato
Vegetable Stock
Banana Bread (Homemade is the best though)

No Knead Crusty Bread
(From Jo Cooks)

3 cups all purpose flour
1¾ tsp salt
½ tsp active dry yeast
1½ cups water (room temperature)

  1. In a big bowl mix flour, salt and yeast together. Pour water into the bowl and using a spatula mix it until it’s all incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit on your counter for 12 to 18 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 F degrees. Add your cast iron pot to the oven and heat it as well until it’s at 450 F degrees.
  3. Remove pot from oven and remove the lid from it.
  4. Flour your work surface really well and make sure you flour your hands really well. With your floured hands gently remove the dough from the bowl and roughly shape it into a ball. Take the ball of dough and drop it into the pot. Cover the pot with the lid and place it back in the oven.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on, after which remove the lid and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Cauliflower

1 Butternut squash, halved
1 sweet potato, cubed
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tbsp chopped onion
Salt, pepper, cumin, turmeric, coriander, cinnamon
Red Curry Paste
Olive Oil
1 quart Vegetable Broth

  1. Coat the potato, garlic and squash in olive oil and spices. Roast in a 350 degree oven until soft. Pull from the oven and scoop out the squash from the skin. Separate the garlic cloves.
  2. In a large pot, saute the onions until fragrant. Add the garlic and smash a little.
  3. Add the squash and potato mixture with the vegetable broth. Use an immersion blender to blend smooth. Add spices and simmer.
  4. While the soup is simmering, roast the cauliflower in a 350 degree oven covered in olive oil and the same spices as the other. Add to the soup.
  5. Taste the soup, and add more seasonings if needed. Serve with some crusty bread.

Banana Bread Pudding

1 loaf banana bread, cubbed
2 cups milk
4 eggs
Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

  1. Whisk the eggs, milk and seasonings together. Add the cubbed bread and walnuts and mix to coat. Let soak for about 20 minutes.
  2. Spoon into large, greased cupcake pans. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until cooked through. Serve warm.

Not taking time for myself for the past few months made me go a little crazy. Sure, I had a few hours here and there for myself, but they weren’t enough. I was always doing work, or helping other people, or talking about work; I couldn’t get a break. It’s ok to be selfish every once in a while, in fact, it’s healthy. Don’t get too caught up in the other things to forget about yourself. Be sure to work on yourself before you start giving it away to other people.

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Soup-er Spicy Day

Posted on October 2, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

I was at my parents’ last night and pretty much all of today. My Sable has been having issues and the Saturn had a frozen engine. My dad has been letting me drive his Suburban for about a week now, but he needed it to go to the junk yard to pull a new engine.

I also didn’t go grocery shopping this week, and was *slightly* worried about what I was going to eat. We went to Tomato Bar for lunch so I half of that pizza, but I was going to break down and go shopping. I was, until my mom showed me the entire SHELF in their fridge that was filled with tomatoes from their garden. On top of that, the broccoli plants they have are still producing broccoli (when do they stop?).

I took a bunch of both, but I wasn’t sure what to do with them outside of some pasta. Then, on the way home, it hit me. Soup. Perfect, warm, creamy, soup. It’s getting cold out, and whenever the temperature changes that quickly, I can’t get warm. Soup, hot tea and coffee are the best ways.

Not going to lie, I accidentally put WAY to much red pepper flake in this soup, so it ended up being a bit more spicy than I wanted. It was actually going to be vegan until the extra spice, but I added some Greek yogurt to dull the heat. This recipe is super easy, just some prep work and cooking time. Thanks to the fresh tomatoes, you don’t actually have to add any extra liquid until the almond milk near the end.

Roasted broccoli, Garlic and Tomato Soup with Jalepeno Honey Aioli and Quesadilla Croutons

Here’s what to get from the store (If you didn’t get free veggies)

Fresh Broccoli
Almond Milk
Chiplote in Can
Honey Mustard
Cheddar Cheese
Goat Cheese
Mozzarella Cheese

Roasted Broccoli, Garlic and Tomato Soup

6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 large head broccoli, chopped
Olive Oil
Lemon Juice
Salt, pepper
7 tomatoes, quartered
2 celery stalks, diced
2 tbsp red onion, diced
2 small chiplote
Red pepper flake, tumeric, curry powder
2 cups almond milk
1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
Jalapeno Aioli (recipe Below)

  1. Toss the broccoli and garlic in olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Roast in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, turning half way through. Remove from the oven, let cool and dice the broccoli into smaller pieces.
  2. In a large pot or dutch oven, saute the onion and celery until the onion is fragrant. Add the tomatoes with salt and pepper. Stir and let the tomatoes cook down. Add the rest of the spices.
  3. Once the tomatoes are mostly cooked down, add the broccoli and garlic. Blend with an immersion blender or in a stand blender. Add the milk and yogurt. Bring to a boil and then let simmer.
  4. Garnish with quesadilla croutons and Jalapeno Aioli.

Jalapeno Aioli

1 Jalapeno
1 egg
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp honey mustard
1 clove garlic, smashed
Salt, pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

  1. Roast the jalapeno over an open flame until the skin is charred. Let cool or dice right away, make sure to get mot of the seeds out.
  2. Put the egg, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, pepper and seasonings into a blender. Blend until smooth. Slowly drizzle the oil in while blending to create an immersion. Store in the fridge.

Quesadilla Croutons

Cheddar Cheese
Goat Cheese
Mozzarella Cheese
Corn Tortillas

  1. Put the cheese in between the tortillas and toast in a pan until brown on both sides. Cut into cubes and put on the soup.

I’ve added a few different plank poses to my yoga practice, and surprisingly the one that gets my temperature up the most is the one where I’m on my elbows. While the side plank with my leg and arm up is hard, and the plank that is basically holding a push up half way down are hard, I don’t feel it as much as I do on my elbow plank. Thanks to all of these, along with the rest of my yoga practice, my flexibility is way up, and I can feel my muscles move when I move. My legs don’t jiggle anymore; my thighs are finally looking cool; I can see abs. Today I did a forward bend while almost in a split and my forehead touched the ground. I am amazed at what my body can do. I can’t wait to see what else it will be able to do.

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Posted on September 10, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

It’s about 70 degrees outside and I made Pho for dinner. Why? Cause I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I’d never made it before, so, why not?

I was first introduced to Pho by Shawn who found a Vietnamese noodle place in Merriville called Saigon Noodle House. I became addicted right away. Pho is such a great food because it is really customizable. You’re brought the bowl with your choice of protein, the broth and noodles. On the side you’re given Thai Basil, lime, bean sprouts, chili sauce and Hosien sauce (If you’ve never had Hosien, go get some now and put it on all the things). After that, you can make it as spicy as you like. I like mine pretty spicy.

I had originally planned to make a meat version of it, but making the broth includes beef marrow bones, and you weren’t going to find me going to Beef Mart just for that. So, I found this vegetarian version from The Kitchen and decided to give it a try. It was actually really easy to make, and only took about an hour from start to finish.

This was my largest shopping list to date, because I had to buy some spices I didn’t have. I discovered that the International aisle of my store had cheaper spices than the McCormick brand, so I probably saved myself about $10 just on spices. I had to substitute Udon noodles for the Pho noodles because my store just didn’t have any, along with the star anise, I looked and I looked, but there was none to be found. I used anise seeds instead.

Vegetarian Pho with Pan Fried Tofu

Here’s what to get from the store:

Pho Noodles
White Onion
Vegetable Broth
Star Anise
Cinnamon Sticks
Ginger Root
Whole Cloves
Soy Sauce
Hoisen Sauce
Red Chili Sauce
Bean Sprouts

Vegetarian Pho
(From The Kitchen)

For the broth:
1 large onion, peeled and halved
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and halved lengthwise
3-inch cinnamon stick, preferably Vietnamese cassia-cinnamon
1 star anise
2 whole cloves
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
4 cups unsalted vegetable stock or broth
2 teaspoons soy sauce
4 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped

For the noodles:
1/2 pound dried flat rice noodles (known as bánh phở;)

For the Crispy Tofu:

1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Cornmeal
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, curry powder, tumeric

For the toppings (choose a few):
Crispy Tofu
Vegetables such as bok choy, napa cabbage, or broccoli

For the garnishes (choose a few):
1/2 large onion, very thinly sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 chile pepper (Thai bird, serrano, or jalapeño), sliced
1 lime, cut into wedges
1/2 cup bean sprouts
Large handful of herbs: cilantro, Thai basil,
Hoisin sauce, Sriracha, Red Chili Sauce

  1. To make the broth, char the onion and ginger over an open flame (holding with tongs) or directly under a broiler until slightly blackened, about 5 minutes on each side. Rinse with water.
  2. In a large pot, dry-roast cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and coriander over medium-low heat, stirring to prevent burning. When you can smell the aroma of the roasted spices, add vegetable stock, soy sauce, carrots, and charred onion and ginger.
  3. Bring broth to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Strain and keep hot until ready to serve.
  4. Make the noodles while the broth simmers. Place the noodles in a large bowl and cover with hot water. Let stand for 20 to 30 minutes or until tender but still chewy. Drain. (If soaking does not soften the noodles enough, blanch them in a pot of boiling water for a few seconds.)
  5. Prepare the toppings as desired – slice and cook tofu, lightly steam or blanch vegetables, and so on. Toppings should be unseasoned or only lightly seasoned so as not to interfere with the flavor of the broth.
  6. To serve, divide the noodles between two bowls. Arrange toppings over noodles. Ladle the broth between the two bowls. Serve with garnishes on the side, which diners should add to taste.

I purged a bunch of stuff from my place this week, 2 garbage bags of just garbage and almost 4 bags of clothes. It felt really good. I could probably get rid of some more things, but right now I want to make my place feel bigger. I’ve been trying to keep myself busy while at home because it’s become increasingly obvious most of my friends live in the city, so nights off turn out pretty boring if I can’t go up there. I can’t wait to be able to move up there.

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Baby it’s….March…but..there’s…snow….?

Posted on March 24, 2015. Filed under: Main Course | Tags: , , , , |

The thing about the midwest is that when you think the snow is gone…it’s really not. Last week at this time it was 70 degrees. I took a walk, my windows were open. Today? There was a foot of snow on my car and it’s about 25 degrees. Tomorrow it’s supposed to be 50. Yea, makes no sense, but we deal with it.

Not going to lie, I had planned on making a soup today no matter what, I found it on pinterest and had to try it. The stupid weather just added to my need for good soup. That, and I’m a little congested and whenever I’m not feeling 100%, I want potato soup. But, this is not any normal potato soup, it’s sweet potato soup.

Sweet potatoes are hard to see as a savory vegetable because they are just so sweet. The recipe I found only added paprika and hot sauce to the soup, but it wasn’t enough. I ended up adding a bit of Indian spices and they work very well in this soup. I also went slightly (only slightly) overboard and decided to make home made cheezeit’s instead of croutons the original recipe suggested. What’s better than a crispy cheese cracker on top of a thick soup?

This soup feel very unhealthy because it is so creamy and decadent. But, it’s not that bad. The only bad thing for you is half and half, but there’s only a small amount in this recipe. The rest is vegetables; sweet potatoes and carrots are full of beta carotene which is great for you. I added kale and my siracha yogurt cream for fiber and protein.

The only problem I had with this recipe is that I don’t have a full blender so blending everything took a while. But, everything went quick besides that. It makes quite a lot so it’s good for throwing in the freezer for the actual winter.

Sweet Poato Soup with Kale, Siracha Yogurt and Homemade Cheezits

Here’s what to get from the store:

Sweet potatoes
Vegetable broth
Half and half
Sharp Cheddar

Roasted Sweet Potato Soup
(Based off a recipe from: A Southern Soul)

3-4 sweet potatoes – scrubbed and sliced
2 carrots – scrubbed and cut into chunks
2 garlic cloves – peeled
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon paprika
Cumin, Cayenne, Tumeric, Mustard powder,
1 cup half & half

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place sweet potatoes, carrots & garlic on a sheet tray.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss to coat.
  3. Roast vegetables in oven approximated 25 minutes or until golden brown and fork tender.
  4. Place roasted vegetables in blender along with chicken stock, paprika adding a dash or two of hot sauce.
  5. Blend until very smooth – you can also use a blender, immersion blender or food processor – whatever you have.
  6. Pour into a medium size stock pot and place on medium low heat setting.
  7. Add half & half as soup warms.  Taste and adjust seasonings.
  8. Serve with home made cheezeits, kale and siracha cream.

Homemade Cheezits
(From Brown Eyed Baker)

8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 to 3 tablespoons ice water

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the cheese, butter, and salt on low speed until combined. Add the flour and mix on low until pebbly. Slowly add 2 tablespoons of the water and mix as the dough forms a ball. If needed, add the additional tablespoon of water a little at a time until the dough forms. Pat the dough into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough into two pieces and roll each into a very thin 10×12-inch rectangle (the dough should be no more than ⅛-inch high). Using a fluted pastry wheel, cut the rectangles into 1-inch squares, then transfer them to the baking sheets.

3. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until puffed and browning at the edges. Immediately move the crackers to wire racks to cool completely, then store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

There’s nothing wrong with taking time for yourself. If I get Monday off, that day is just for me, I do what I want. Spoiling yourself (or just doing what you need to do) is a healthy thing if done every once in a while. Who knows what will happen to your confidence.

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