Baking Win

12 Dec

It’s sad to think that my first Christmas baking project may also be my last.  I just hadn’t gotten around to making any goodies until today and I’m leaving town in a week so I can’t make any promises about there being more to come.  Plus, I always feel like I should be putting my time and resources into healthier cooking projects.  Today’s baking was a bit of a compromise.  I have been dying to make my favorite Chocolate Crinkle cookies but I also needed to make a gift for someone who specifically requested “no chocolate”.  Apparently she just can’t control herself around the stuff :)  So I made biscotti, not what I’d consider a health food but it is low fat and packed with nutritious dried fruit and nuts.  The recipe come from Leite’s Culinaria website and was recently featured in The Kitchn’s fig recipe roundup (which has lots of other amazing ideas, btw).  The biscotti turned out beautifully and really weren’t that hard to make.  Also, they were so good that I’ve been completely spoiling my dinner with them since they came out of the oven.  I need to remember to save some for gift-giving!

School’s Out

11 Dec

I have successfully completed my final prerequisite course for nursing school!  Chemistry was so hard for me in high school but for some reason, between then and now, my brain decided that it all made sense and so this class that I’ve been dreading turned out to be a breeze.  I got up early to take my exam and the celebrated with a hot shower and a green smoothie.  The ingredients only cost me $4.17 and I have plenty for 2 smoothies:

Today’s smoothie was really good!  The granny smith apple made it nice and tart and the ginger added an extra layer of complexity.  Also, since all the ingredients were either green or neutral-colored, the final product was gorgeous.

Smoothie of the Day

- 2 collard leaves

- a generous handful of spinach

- a little bit of fresh ginger

- 1 banana

- 1 granny smith apple

- water and ice

 

Going for Broke

11 Dec

It’s that time of year again.  The time of holiday travel airfare, Christmas gift shopping, and realizing that you don’t have enough money in your daily budget buy any groceries.  Which means that it is also pantry cleaning time!  I had plans to make some appetizing and healthy smoothies and appetizing and unhealthy cookies to share this weekend, but I’m putting all that off until my bank account has a chance to recover from the joys of Christmas.  Dinner tonight is Tuna Mac.  A can of tuna and a box of mac prepared according to the directions (I used sour cream instead of butter because I was out) yields one dinner and leftovers.

9 Dec

Smoothie of the Day

- a leaf of kale

- a stalk of celery

- 5 baby carrots

- 1 banana

- 1/3 c blueberries

- soymilk

- 2 Tbs hemp protein

 

Hummus

- 1 can chickpeas, drained

- 2 Tbs tahini (or sesame seeds)

- 1 small clove of garlic

- 1 Tbs olive oil

- 1 Tbs lemon juice

- 1/4 tsp salt, or to taste

- 1/2 tsp cumin

- a pinch of cayenne

Put all ingredients in the blender and blend until creamy.  For me, it worked best to let the blender run slowly for a few minutes, rather than cranking up the speed to high.

8 Dec

I’ve been struggling a lot recently (or maybe chronically?) with how to make the most of my time.  On one hand, I have an inner voice telling me that I need to always be on the go – crossing things off my to-do list, cooking, exercising, applying for school, cleaning – because if I’m not I will probably look back on a life miserably wasted.  On the other hand, I am a wonderful procrastinator and with the internet always at hand I can usually find ways to put off productivity in the name of “research”.  You know…”I need to research a new green smoothie recipe”, “I wonder if I should bother with acai berries”, “What is the best brunch restaurant in my neighborhood?”  These two habits of mine (feeling my worth is directly tied to what I get done and always finding new ways to sabotage my own productivity) cause me a lot of anxiety.  I wonder how I can change this?  Perhaps designating an “internet free” time each day where I can work on other projects without getting sucked into the vortex?

Christmas Shopping

7 Dec

I have to take a moment to congratulate myself here…I successfully completed shopping for my family’s Chrismas presents today!  For a girl who usually waits until December 23rd to pick some gifts and then hastily wraps them in whatever tissue paper she can find on Christmas morning, this is pretty darn impressive.  I have to admit that part of the reason I’m being so good this year is that I won’t get to spend the holidays with my family and I’ll have to make sure to get the gifts in the mail within the next few days.  Nonetheless, I’m feeling pretty smug here with the results of my morning shopping laid out before me.  Here’s what I got:

for Dad – 2 good pairs of REI hiking socks and some good jam

for Mom – 4 cute little bottles of different fancy salts along with information and cooking recommendations for each.  The salesgirl at The Meadow was very helpful for picking these out and I ended up with Sel Gris de Guarande, Marlbourough Flakey, Pinot Noir salt, and Lemon Flake salt.

for Sis – 2 great-looking cookbooks for beginners/people who just don’t have a lot of time or money to spend on dinner.  The are The Vegetarian Student Cookbook and Mollie Katzen’s Get Cooking.  I am jealous.

Vegetarian Chili

Ingredients:

- 1 Tbs oil

- 1 small onion, chopped

- 1 Tbs oregano

- 1 tsp cumin

- 1 tsp salt

- 2 stalks celery, chopped

- 1 green pepper, chopped

- 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes

- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

- 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

- 2 Tbs chili powder

- 1 cup frozen corn, thawed

- sour cream (optional)

Heat oil in a large pot and stir in onions, cumin, oregano, and salt.  Once the onions have softened, add the celery and peppers and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes, beans, and  chili powder and simmer for 45 minutes.  About 10 minutes before it’s done, add the corn.  Top with sour cream in serving bowls, if desired.

Restaurant Review: Equinox

5 Dec

Portland is a brunch-obsessed city.  I often see people standing out in the cold for up to an hour for the privilege of being served scrambled eggs at their neighborhood brunch hot-spots.  Sometimes I’m one of them.  Usually, though, Jeremy and I go to our regular place in the Mississippi District, Equinox.  I really don’t know why this place doesn’t get the same crowds as other brunch restaurants of similar quality.  Perhaps it’s just because it’s half a block away from the main drag of Mississippi Street.  Regardless, our wait time is usually minimal, the service is good, and the food is consistently delicious.  Their menu consists of classic scrambles and benedicts alongside more unusual dishes like the Chilaquiles.  We’ve gone there for brunch perhaps a dozen times and I’ve always left happy.  Today I had the tofu scramble, which included spinach, roasted garlic, and avocado.  The tofu wasn’t as soft and was a bit more fried that I would normally like for a scramble, but the vegetables more than made up for it.  They serve Stumptown coffee and whether you prefer a side salad or their brunch potatoes, you can’t go wrong.  Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that they have a gorgeous (dog-friendly) patio for the summer months.  Here is a copy of their brunch menu, which they offer on the weekends.

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