Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Oh yeah baby, it's strawberry time!

Oh, happy day! The CSA had strawberries today! I almost caved last week and bought a $7 pound of the jewel-toned fruit at Jimbo's, but I settled for the organic Chilean blueberries later on at Joe's.

But if I hadn't bought the blueberries, I wouldn't have this lovely picture of my baby!

That's not a gunshot wound, it's a blueberry stain. Here's to the next few months of abundant, local, and of course, organic, strawberry goodness!!!

This fave fruit also ties in nicely with February being the month of love. Strawberries even look like hearts. (Picture me all starry-eyed***) For the happiness project, this month I am supposed to focus on:

  • Not nagging. Poo, I love to nag
  • Not expect praise or appreciation. Dang, I love for others to sing my praises, and there are just so darn many to sing
  • No dumping. Is there another way to greet your loved one after a long day at the office besides unloading all your many issues from the day?
  • Give proofs of love. Man, I love these kids and my handsome man. Can't imagine telling them even more how much I love them. Guess I could try to show them by not nagging, expecting praise or dumping...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Hoppin' John

It's well into the first week of the new year, but not too late for Hoppin' John. Mmm beans and rice. It's supposed to be good luck to eat this dish on New Years, but we've established that I'm a procrastinator. I'm happy that I cooked the beans before they got too old and hard to cook. I'm so happy to try a new dish, have it turn out delicious &amps even use an older unused pantry item (the black eyed peas).
I made an amalgamation of Joy of Cooking & Vegan Soul Food recipes. Most directions from Joy, seasonings from VSF. In addition, I never have parsley on hand so I regularly omit it. However last week I got a huge bunch of the curly stuff in the CSA box. It really added some lovely color to a very beige dish.
Hoppin' John, in the pot

  1. Put 1 1/4 cup dried black eyed peas in saucepan with enough water to cover by 1"
  2. Bring to a boil, allow to boil rapidly for 1 minute
  3. Cover and remove from heat. Allow to sit for 1 1/2 hours before draining and rinsing.
  4. Over medium heat in dutch oven, cook 1 1/2 cups chopped onion and 2 chopped celery ribs in 1 T. olive oil, just until translucent.
  5. Add spices and cook until the veggies start to brown: 1/2 t. onion powder, 1/2 t. garlic powder, 1/2 t. paprika, 1/2 t. chili powder, 1/4 t. cayenne, 1/2 t. dried thyme,
    1/2 t. dried oregano
  6. Add beans and 4 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil then simmer until beans are tender, about 30 minutes to an hour.
  7. Reserve cooking liquid when drain beans. Drain beans ;)
  8. Preheat oven to 325, with rack in center of oven.
  9. Cook 1 cup white rice in 2 T butter (or alternative) and 1 t salt until well-coated, 3-4 minutes. Add scant 2 cups of bean cooking liquid (try to leave sediment behind). Add extra water as needed to get 2 cups total.
  10. Bring rice and liquid up to a simmer, stir and cover and put in the oven.
  11. Bake 20 minutes or until rice has absorbed all the liquid. Sprinkle the beans over the top and return to the oven for 3 minutes.
  12. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup minced parsley, toss to combine.
  13. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes before serving.
My CSA items: celery and parsley.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hilarious kids and staying on track

Ok, first the fun; this may only be funny to me and my husband.
On our way out of my daughter's preschool classroom...
4 yr old boy #1 is waving a babydoll at me: "I'm Police baby here to arrest you"
Followed by 4 yr old boy #2 hitting me with something brown: "look out for police challah ready to arrest you"
Man, every time I thought of this I had to laugh.
So, I haven't gotten up before 8 am once this week. Last night I was up with the girls from 1-2:30 am. Then an OWL kept me awake for another half hour. What the heck was an owl doing outside my window? And we had Mexican takeout last night instead of healthy home cookin'. BUT I did a bunch of paperwork and other small officey tasks I've been procrastinating in forever. Yeah! Most notable,I did 4 months of bank statements in Quicken. Next is to tackle a year's worth of goodwill donations for taxes. Ick ick ick.
I defitnely felt happy about accomplishing those things. and I'll be happier still when that 3-tiered inbox on our desk is EMPTY.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Is it 5:30 or 8:30?

To continue with my resolve to follow my resolutions (happiness project); I planned for a 6 am yoga class routine. I would exercise and be home before my husband left for work. Nice trick, if you wake up at 5:30 am as planned. And definitely not by waking at 8:30 am. I did have a rough night's sleep and was coming off a very lovely holiday break, but 3 hours late? How does that even happen?!?!?
Well, apparently there is a bug in the apple network or whatever and my iphone alarm really didn't go off this morning. And I'm sure I'm not the only one to end up with that excuse. Also, I grabbed my mat to bring in the house for tv yoga and YIKES it smelled terrible. Two back-to-back trips in the washing machine terrible. That would've been beyond miserable at 6am. So I caught a break today and I did still follow along with the tv yoga. It was pretty good, too. I still look forward to the real class for the invaluable input from the yoga teacher.
There was a speedbump, but I kept my resolve. For one more day;)
I am also happy to announce I made a delicious dinner enjoyed by all and did not cave to my desire for a tasty delivered pizza.
I made fettuccini with corn, red peppers (CSA) herbs and fresh arugula (CSA). When I make it again I'll post a pic and recipe. I also served a fresh green salad (getting more lettuce from the CSA tomorrow, better eat it before it takes over the fridge!)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happiness and Procratination

Last month my book group read the happiness project. I really enjoyed the book and am looking forward to implementing some ideas into my own life.
So I begin my quest for self-improvement and being happier, coinciding nicely with the start of a new year.
Here are a few of my resolutions: (in no special order)
Stand up straight
Eat healthier
Start exercising
Stay on top of messes...keep kitchen table clean

I am so proud of myself in this 1st day of 2011. I apparently love to procrastinate since I do it so frequently. However, today I took down and carefully packed up all of my holiday decorations including all the ornaments off the tree. I really wanted to be lazy and at least put it off until Sunday, but I didn't! And it already looks more decluttered in here. 2 resolutions in 1! I also did some hard-core branch pruning & sawing for an hour so there's my exercise. I'm shooting for starting back at the gym for Monday. It shouldn't be too crowded ;)
Now off to clean off the kitchen table...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Asparagus Pasta and Asian Pear Tempeh Salad

I was wary of asparagus at the market, since it is early November, but according to the CA Asparagus Commission, California asparagus growers harvest a small crop in September/October. I guess early November isn't that far off. Oh, and it was really inexpensive, so it must have been "in season". I learned recently that seasonal produce is usually cheaper since it doesn't have to travel far, or something like that.

Well, anyways, underneath all that freshly grated Parmesan cheese is one tasty pile 'o pasta.

jamie’s italian’s asparagus fettuccine
Courtesy of Jamie Oliver's website, I followed his recipe almost exactly. My only alterations were to omit the leeks (didn't have any) and used a tablespoon of dried basil in lieu of the fresh. Oh, and I didn't garnish with pea shoots. Um, what? I'm guessing they aren't readily available at Trader Joe's or Henry's. I'll look next time I'm shopping.

I served the lovely green sauce over Buitoni fresh fettuccine, which was very tender & a reasonable substitute for homemade. My husband had 2 servings, a good sign that he liked it. It also made it into his lunch this morning, so that is definitely a seal of approval. He doesn't wax poetic about food (unlike me, ha ha ha) so it's hard to figure out what he likes a lot of the time. It was a very quick recipe and we'll be making it again. The girls were too hungry to wait for the sauce, though and just had plain fettuccine with asparagus and parm. I did have to call the asparagus tips pinecones so my little squirrels would eat them. They ate all of them, so we weren't able to garnish our plates with them ;)

Asian Pear & Tempeh Salad with Wasabi Dressing

Another winner from Veganomicon. Man, this is one of my favorite things to eat. I don't know why I don't make it weekly. The baby pestered me all throughout my lunch wanting more and more tastes. This was after her own giant lunch. She saw my leftovers in the fridge later and wanted some, but by then the wasabi had gotten more spicy and she spit it right out!

CSA items used: zucchini, white onion

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"weird" stuff in my pantry

These items from my pantry are at least 6 months old because a.)I haven't figured out what to cook, b.) I'm intimidated by the ingredient, and/or c.) lazy
  • Hijiki. I was off seaweed for awhile because this type seems so, um, fishy.
  • Canned lychee. They just look so unappealing from their picture on the can. Why did I buy them?
  • Jarred hearts of palm. I never seem to have a coordinating ingredient to actually make a recipe.
  • Some sort of jarred thai soup base. The ingredients are in english, but there are no directions so I'm afraid to try to make something.
  • Tiny jar of pimentos. The idea of pimento cheese sounded good before I OD'd on cheese in Switzerland. Other ideas?
  • Kidney beans. The girls hate them. Maybe make chili for the grownups?
  • Wild rice. Super long cooking time.
  • Lots of dribs and drabs of miscellaneous dried pasta
I challenge myself to use these ingredients by the end of the month!

Last night we had green salad, homemade mac and cheese, sauteed zucchini and leftover squash.

CSA items used in last nights dinner: lettuce, yellow bell pepper, grape tomatoes, butternut squash, zucchini