Monday, December 10, 2012

New Blog...

I was so happy when we got "Things We Ate."  How, I wondered, could still be free.

Because I saw "Things We Ate."  But if you rearrange the spaces, you also get "Thing Sweat E."  And  now that I know that, I can't unknow that.

So I let the blog die.

But I like blogging.

If you like my blogging, come see Matt and me at our new site, Vegging Out in Sac Town.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chickpea Crepes with Black Eyed Peas and Spinach

I like an easy dinner. I guess everybody does.

I like chickpea crepes because they are basically two ingredients:
chickpea flour (or gram flour, or besan), and water. Stir together about two parts water to three parts chickpea flour, and let it sit for about fifteen minutes. You are looking for a batter the consistency of, uh, of crepe batter.

Liz likes chickpea crepes with dark greens like kale, and soyrizo. Well. I didn't have any of the usual fixin's, but this is a versatile philosophy, the crepe, so I made do.

I had some potatoes, and a couple heads of broccoli, and some spinach. I found a can of black eyed peas in the cupboard, - hey, that sounds good.

Some oven fries and broccoli florets went into the oven to roast with a splash of olive oil and salt and pepper.

Some fresh spinach, sauteed with garlic and chili flakes, with black eyed peas and a little secret splash of barbecue sauce.

When it's dinner time, get a nonstick pan over medium-high heat, spray it with nonstick spray, and dollop in about a half-cup of crepe batter. Swirl in the pan. When the top is set, run a spatula around the edge and bottom.

Gather all of the courage in your heart, steel yourself, and holding the handle of your pan firmly, like a tennis racket, flip the crepe over.

Take a single, deep, calming breath. That bitter taste in your mouth is adrenaline.

Two cups of chickpea flour makes about five crepes, and we had about just enough filling for four crepes, so that meant that I had to make a fifth, unfilled crepe, and just eat it hot, out of the pan, like a wild animal.

Serve up some some oven fries and ketchup on the side of your plate and tuck in!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Lemonade Syrup

Because we live a charmed life in northern California, people are always giving us too much fresh, organic produce. This is a real problem you guys, stop laughing.

Liz has a coworker who lives in a fantasy cartoon citrus grove, and so she just came home from work one day with a big bag of lemons. What am I going to do with all these fresh juicy lemons? There are too many to eat before they start to go bad.

Okay, well, I recall some traditional advice about this exact scenario, you know?

First, cut up all your lemons, I had ten of them.

I juiced them all on the totally boss citrus-juicer attachment on the MiniPrep, which is grossly underutilized in my day-to-day existence.

After extracting two whole workbowlsful, I ran the juice through a strainer and set in on the stove to simmer in a saucepan.

I threw open the cupboards to examine the sugar situation. A had a little white sugar, a little brown sugar, and a little honey. For about four cups of lemon juice, I ended up with about a cup and a half, total, of sugary goodness. I felt like basically any combination was going to produce some rad lemonade, so I just sort of followed my heart.

Shh! Fingers to lips: I also tipped in a half-jigger of vodka when it was really rolling and boiling, and let it go for a couple minutes.

This fills up a quart jar with just enough left over in the pan for you to reward yourself right away for your hard work.

We've been drinking lemonade all week. Tip about a quarter-cup into about a half-liter of water. Maybe some ice cubes, maybe a little more vodka, if you're ready for a summery evening.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Menu Monday

This week should be a pretty quiet week.  I have today off, so we're heading to the coast for the day.  I'm working the rest of the week, and we really don't have a lot going on, so we decided it would be a good opportunity to try out some recipes I found on Pinterest.

If you haven't used Pinterest yet, it's worth checking out - it's basically an online corkboard for collecting links and images from around the internet.  I've been building a few different boards, and have found that it's a pretty helpful weight loss tool, since it helps me organize all the recipes I've found so I can plan ahead and not get bored.  I've also built an inspiration board to look at when I need the kick in the butt to either stop eating or start moving.

So without further ado, here is the weekly menu and activity schedule:

  • Monday:
    • Will stop on the way home from the beach, will probably order a salad or soup
    • Activity: Hiking
  • Tuesday:
  • Wednesday:
    • White Bean Salad
    • Activity: Walk or Wii Fit free steps
  • Thursday (Heading to a game night straight from work)
    • Leftover lentil soup with kale (eat at work before leaving)
    • Activity: Wii Fit Yoga/Strength
  • Friday:
I still haven't gotten menu planning for breakfast or lunch down yet. I have almost the same thing for breakfast and snacks during the week.  For lunch, I'll either have leftovers or a sandwich.  Since I have to pack my lunch, the daytime isn't really where I go off plan, so I've decided I need to get the hang of menu-planning for dinner before I tackle breakfast and lunch.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Recipe Review: Sweet Potato Bread

I've never been much of a cook - Matt is definitely the expert in that area.  But I've always enjoyed baking. Although it's been a remarkably mild winter here in Sacramento, it still gets a little chilly, and when it's cold, nothing warms the kitchen better with baking bread.

So when I found this recipe for Sweet Potato Mini-Loaves with Orange Cinnamon Honey Butter from the blog Lauren's Latest, I imagined my apartment filled with warmth and the sweet scent of baking dessert bread. I decided to adapt the recipe slightly - my version is egg- and dairy-free, and since I don't have mini-loaf pans, I made one big loaf.

1 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon sugar
2/3 cup mashed sweet potato (I used about 1/2 of a large sweet potato - I boiled the sweet potato until soft, then mashed it with a potato masher.)

Substitution for 1 egg - 1 tbsp water, 1 tbsp vegetable oil, 2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup vegan margarine - I use Smart Balance with Flaxseed Oil, but Earth Balance is another good option
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger (the recipe called for nutmeg, but I didn't have that on hand)
4 cups bread flour

Follow the direction on Lauren's Latest Blog.  When you get ready to bake the dough, instead of dividing it up  into mini-loaves, flatten it into a rectangle.  It should be about as wide as the length of the pan.  Roll the rectangle into a loaf shape and seal the seams.  Place in an oiled loaf pan with the seam facing the bottom.  Cover it and let it rise for another hour in the loaf pan.

When it's time to bake, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Slice the top of the loaf with a paring knife to give the crust space to expand.  Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. It will appear golden brown, but since the color starts off pretty orange, that turned out not to be the best indicator - I left it in for 40 minutes, and it probably could have used another 5.

Let the loaf cool for about 20 minutes before slicing.

We have a batch of honey that Matt's aunt and uncle sent us for Christmas, so we kept it simple by toasting it and enjoying with some Smart Balance and a tablespoon of honey.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pasta with White Beans and Kale

The holidays are an indulgent time, and when we made it back, weary from our travels, we wanted something for dinner that:

  1. Had a lot of dense, green vegetable content, and
  2. was only going to take, like, two minutes to make, because we were pretty tired.

Well, let's get some kale. And let's make some fettuccine with white beans and kale.

This is easy stuff: cook you up some long noodles, and, while the noodles cook, wilt up a whole mess of chopped kale.

Throw a pinch of chili flakes and a couple cloves of chopped garlic into some oil in a big pan, like a wok. I just used a wok.

After the garlic is just fragrant, heap up a mound of kale and stir a little, just so the garlic doesn't burn. Keep adding kale as your pile wilts down. When it's all dark and dense and cooked, tip in a can of cannellini beans and a splash of olive oil and toss with your pasta.

Serve it with some hard Italian cheese or a sprinkle of nutritional yeast.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Weekly Check-In

Weekly Loss: -2.2
Total Loss: -32
Yearly Loss: -2.2
Last Week's Activity: Worked out 5 times, earned a total of 20 activity points

I'm not sure if I was crazy to re-commit last week, but it worked.  A 2.2 loss in spite of New Years Eve, New Years Day, and a day of travel, was hard work.  I used all of my weekly points and activity points this week, which had me a little nervous.  But I tracked absolutely everything.  When I went into the red, I didn't say "forget it" and stop tracking altogether, I got off my butt and worked out until I was back in black.

I'm excited about next week, but a little nervous.  I'm switching meetings, to a 7 am Wednesday meeting.  I love my Saturday morning leader, but getting to my 8 am meeting on my one day a week to sleep in was making me resent meeting, and resent WW as a whole.  Getting to a 7 am meeting is going to be a challenge too, but I have to get up on Wednesdays anyway.  And if worse comes to worse, the center has open hours all morning.  If I miss the meeting, I can still weigh in on my way to work, and come back for the evening meeting.

The rest of week is going to be challenging too.  My birthday is Wednesday, and Matt has a big romantic dinner planned for that, and I have friend in town Thursday night, so we'll be going out.  Matt and I went to the farmers' market this week, so we've got plenty of fresh produce.  We'll post a full menu later today or tomorrow, but the highlights I'm looking forward to making are Chocolate-Covered Pomegranate Seeds and Sweet Potato Bread (wish me luck on veganizing my first baking recipe!).