Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Hodgepodge

Late last week we had a hodgepodge food night.  I never really use Filo dough, it has always been tricky for me and I never bothered to mess with it.  However, I got the curiosity bug and grabbed some at the store.

A few days later, I made some filling with chicpeas, green peas, zucchini, summer squash, kale, and some fresh herbs.  The filling was nice and tasty and I tired to use the flaky papery dough.


They actually came out decent but not very ascetically pleasing.  The dough got nice and flaky golden brown as it should but the shapes were a little wonky and there were a few small holes leaking delicious their innards.


They were still a fun eat and we enjoyed them.  After dinner I decided to make some chocolate chip cookies.  My chocolate chip cookies do not last long in the house, I can make a dozen or so and they are typically gone the following day.  After starting the recipe, I realized the horror of having very few chocolate chip left!  I had to improvise!

Hodgepodge number two of the evening.  I threw the few chips I had into the batter along with some shredded coconut, dried cranberries, pecans, and almond slices.  Added a touch of cocoa powder and some extra brown sugar and crossed my fingers!


They were excellent!  Granted, it is hard to mess up a cookie but these were quite good!  I am not sure I can make either of these dishes again as I was largely just throwing things together but it made for a great night of food!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Soup orders going out!



Since launching the new private chef menu for our company, Squashed, we have been busy filling orders!  Our first slew of soup orders went out this week!  We wanted to take the opportunity to share with you what an order of our most popular, Butternut Squash Soup looks like before it goes out!


This is between 2 and three servings of soup.  If you are eating the soup as a main meal, it is likely only two servings.  If you are adding a sandwich or other such food with the soup, folks will get about 3 servings from this $10 jar of soup!  Local folks, send us your orders!


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Coconut Rice!

Ashley recently got me a rice cooker.  I have wanted a rice cooker for a long time as I just find rice to be a pain to cook on occasion.  It meant that I often did not use rice as much as I wanted as a result.

Since getting a rice cooker, I have been cooking rice several times a week.  It has been a great appliance.  Last night I tried to cook coconut rice with it!

It was a little awkward but I got it to work well enough.  The rice might have been a little less creamy then when I do it on the stove top but I could not tell after smothering it with green peppers, tempeh, and a coconut lime sauce!


Anyone else made coconut rice in a rice cooker?  Any tips?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Cooking with Kaleigh! Roasted Red Pepper Soup!

A few weeks back, we filmed episode # 19, which was falafel.  It was a great video.  In my amateur video editing, I somehow deleted the entire thing before it saved anywhere!

Needless to say, Kaleigh was not happy.  She actually said she would not film another video but I worked some magic to get her back on board!

This video is one of her favorite soups!  Roasted Red Pepper Soup.  This was a fun video to do because she loves to roast peppers.


With the soup we had some paninis.  I smeared some walnut pesto on both slices of bread and layered in roasted eggplant, and a summer squash and zucchini (both fresh from our garden!).  The soup and sandwich combo made for a great Monday night dinner!



Monday, July 27, 2015

Wild Maine Blueberry Muffins!

While living in Atlanta, I made muffins on occasion.  They were a big hit with some folks at the jobby job.  I love to pack them full of fruit!

However, for whatever reason, since being in Maine, I had forgotten about muffins!  Shame.  I noticed that Ashley had gotten a container of wild Maine blueberries.  They were slightly past their prime for simply eating but perfect for muffins!


I jumped onto the task and an hour later, the girls and I, we snacking on freshly baked warm wild Maine blueberry muffins!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A year later

It has been a year since my life took a dramatic change.  Nearly one year ago today I quit my job.  I had worked the same job for over 10 years and for at least the last 5-7 years I hated it.  It was killing me inside.  I was depressed, angry, hateful, and broken.  I was desperate for a change but fear of the unknown kept me spinning in destructive circles.  I felt helpless and there was no end in sight.


There were times I wanted to die and many others when I wanted to kill.  I was embarrassed with who I had become.  Feeling of shame engulfed me when I saw how bad things had gotten and yet I still felt I could not change it.  I felt hopeless.


The last couple of years at the job were the worst.  I was on a downward spiral into nihilism and misanthropy.  I treated everyone badly, especially the people I cared about.  I was mean, lashing out at strangers and loved ones alike.  I was dying.

Shortly into 2014, Ashley and I began tossing around the idea of moving out of state.  We immediately explored Maine as our first option.  It was familiar for me and we still had family connections so it might not feel as drastic.

By this time last year, we closed on a house with over 5 acres of land in rural Maine.  The house was a mess.  In the past year we added a new roof, new siding, new septic, new windows, new drywall, new insulation, new heating, created a space for punk shows, and much more.  We live with a dog, a cat, a hive of bees, and we have seen both moose and fox in our yard.  We have cleared out about 4 acres of land.  We started a large garden, planted fruit trees and berry bushes.  We have a new life.

Thanks to smart investments, wise money management and Ashley's loving support, I have not returned to work (although I have the privilege of starting my own vegan food business).  I am a kept man.  I take care of the house and Kaleigh.  I make dinner each night, pack lunches for the girls the following day and maintain the property.


I feel like I am a new person.  I am happier, more patient, more understanding and far more relaxed.  To say I feel nicer would be an understatement.  The last couple of years in Atlanta I would lash out at strangers with fury for just trying to make small talk in a grocery line.  I rarely have those feelings anymore.


While I still have a lot to work on with myself and we have a lot to work on with our new house and land project, as well as my new vegan food business, this life change may have saved me from myself.  I have Ashley, Kaleigh, my Maine family and smart decisions to thank for it all.  This past year, despite the hurdles, has been one of the best years in a long time.


Here, Ashley and I get to watch Kaleigh grow in a safer environment, better schools, explore her imagination, and we have even found that she has a natural affinity and love for karate.  Ashley, while still working, has 3 days a week off which allows us to have some great family time and she still is home in time for dinner each night.  Ashley loves the home projects like the garden and the bees and it thrills her to see the progress.  We can all just get up and go to the beach or on a hike or swim in the lake nearly anytime we want.


We have many more amazing things to experience here in Maine and with our new lives and in our new home.  I can not wait to see what is next.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wordless Wednesday!

BBQ seitan chickun nuggets

Nachos

Buffalo seitan

Jambalaya

Pizza

Channa masala

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The bean catastrophe!

Generally, I prefer to make my beans and rice Brazilian style, with black beans.  I went to the pantry last night to get the black beans to only find one can!  Unreal!  I thought I would lose my vegan club card for only having a single can of black beans in the house!

Begrudgingly, I grabbed the only can of blacks as well as a can of pintos for dinner.  I started some rice and then the beans, adding in loads of veggies.  I even went to the garden to grab some fresh kale for the veggies.


I garnished the dish with some sugar fried peaches, red peppers and cilantro.  Despite the near bean catastrophe, it was a great dish!  Leftovers for lunch!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Strawberry Picking!

In Maine, the strawberry season starts later than in Georgia and is much shorter.  Ashley, Kaleigh and I were planning to pick a lot of berries this year to use for jams and the season nearly got away from us!


We got in on the last day that the berry farm was open!  We picked a ton of fresh berries!  A huge flat.  It was nice to be able to pick berries without being covered in sweat from the Georgia heat.


Due to the berries being at the end of the season, we had to act quickly to can them.  They were going to go bad if we did not act fast!


Kaleigh and I got right on it.  We canned 12 jars of strawberry jam (including 2 large jars) and we also did 4 jars of strawberry cherry jam!  They are so good that I doubt they will last us the entire year but we will see what we can do!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Farro and salad from our garden!

I have been wanting to make Farro recently.  Interestingly, I had a hard time finding the grain, it took weeks.  I was finally able to find it and last night, made it!

I used a risotto style cooking to make the dish.  I used a lot of mushrooms and then added the broth cup by cup until it was tender.  It was a really good rich creamy dish.


While I was cooking, Kaleigh went into the garden and picked a big bowl full of lettuce, kale, broccoli greens, and a few carrots that needed thinning.  We topped the salad off with fresh strawberries that were also planted this year.


One the side we thinned some red onions that we fried up with some freshly cut garlic scapes!  This added some a great texture to the farro.  It was a great meal and we were all really proud to eat a nice salad right from out garden!