Saturday, January 29, 2011


The last few days were a bit hectic.  My computer completely crashed.  I had been having issues with it for months and it began to blue screen on me.  I opted to attempt to re-format the whole thing and it did not work.  It would not even load windows.

Since my Real Estate business is entirely online, I was in a position that I needed to have a working computer with a quickness.  After some fighting to try to get the old one back up, I submitted and bought a new one.  Nothing fancy, just a new computer.

At the jobby job, we are opening some new products so we have several corporate people in the building.  They seem nice enough but I need to watch myself.  I have always been the first person to let the emperor know he is not wearing any clothes.  It should make for an interesting weekend.

During all of this confusion, I have not had much time to make new recipes.  I did however, make a nice fajita.  It came out really nice and was a great comforting meal.

I also got the chance to make some nice potato salad to take to work with me on these long weekend days.  Figures, it is cold for a few weeks in the south and as soon as it gets nice, I spend all day at the jobby job.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Jobby job, fries, weddings.

I got home from my full work week at the jobby job on Tuesday night.  I was so relieved and relaxed to be done for a few days.  It will give me plenty of time to do some Real Estate prospecting and enjoy some time off.

As a reward to myself for getting it through another week at work, I made myself some unhealthy food to enjoy while watching a game.  Pre-packaged soy chicken and homemade zesty fries were on the menu.  It was a relaxing evening at home.

I have had several people ask me what I do at the jobby job.  As mysterious as it sounds, I can not actually say.  My company has a policy that we are not allowed to disclose our employer in a media venue.  It is silly really.  I do not to anything glamorous or even socially meaningful at all.  I am a manager.  It is a job.

I got a chance to have a nice conversation with my good friend Jonny yesterday.  He is getting married later this year, which blows my mind.  I agreed to be in the wedding, which shocks even myself.  The short story here is that I will be making a long trip back up to Maine late this summer.  It will be a good time and very interesting.

Monday, January 24, 2011


Just another Monday.  That may be disappointing for many but for me it is a relaxing feeling. I will soon enough have a couple days off from the jobby job to get some Real Estate work done and relax.  It has been a much easier weekend than I had anticipated due to my slight schedule shift.  I feel more awake and have much more energy.

Over the weekend I made a few dishes to eat at home and take to work.  I made a great salad with a homemade strawberry vinaigrette dressing.  It was light enough to remind me of warm summer days in the heart of winter.

I also made a fried rice dish that has been a staple for years.  I was able to make enough for me to take a few services to work for my 16 hour day yesterday.  It was nice to have.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cookie calvary via my mailbox

Coincidentally enough, as I have been struggling to refine (read: discover) my baking skills via the basic chocolate chip cookie, I get a gift in the mail.  A pretty great gift I might add.

During Vegan MoFo I entered several give-aways, several of which I won.  One give away giver (Kuntrageous Vegan), got side tracked with life.  No big deal but the follow through was amazing!  I was so thrilled today to discover a bulging mailbox filled with 2 great cookbooks and an issue of Vegetarian Times magazine.  One of the books was the acclaimed (and much needed right now in my house) "Vegan Cookies invade your cookie jar".  Well, I do not have a cookie jar and cookie do not last long in my house since all of my teeth are sweet but this book will open me up!  I can feel it.

There is nothing like a great and unexpected gift.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fighting with cookies

I have been trying to bake some cookies.  I have an older chocolate chip cookie recipe that I want to update.  It has been a difficult experience but I am getting close.  Maybe I should have learned to follow directions better when I was a child.

This attempt left them slightly cake-like but nice and soft.  I have a few ideas that I can get this right.  Do not hold your breathe for this new recipe but it will be coming.

In the meantime, I went with an old classic to boost my bruised baking ego.  Blueberry muffins!  These are always a tasty treat.  I made such just last week but I guess I was not done.

I have been taking so much food to work with me to avoid eating out at the jobby job that I have not had to make a store run since the middle of October.  I looked through my account and it seems I have saved nearly $300 simply by taking food (that is better for me) to work!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Again with the enchiladas?

I consistently try to avoid wasting things, particularly food items.  A few weeks ago, I made enchiladas for the first time in a long time.  When I lived with Jamie, this was something we had relatively often and was something that she often made for us.  Since then, I have not made them often.

While at the store, I picked up some enchilada sauce as a just in case.  I used it that night however, I only used 2/3 of the sauce.  In a desire not to waste, I was forced to make more and get another helping on sauce.  That left another 2/3 of the 2nd jar of sauce left.  It was a vicious cycle that finally ended last night.  Enchilada night! (number 3)

To go with the entree, I made some really nice lettuce wraps.  I used some soy chicken and some fresh fruits and veggies.  They came out very good and today, I am happy to have some leftovers.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

So much food...not one new recipe.

I am going through a few schedule adjustments at the jobby job.  In the long run it will be good and should make me less exhausted by the weekend.  Which will hopefully give me more time and motivation for Real Estate and cooking.

Over the last week or so I have been dabbling in a few dishes that are staples in my house.  Nothing new per se just some older classics.


salsa pizza

I was able to get some sprouts growing in my new sprouter.  It is nice to have fresh sprouts in the house.  It really tops a sandwich off well.  I added them to a leftover chic pea burger that I had made earlier in the week and it was still, awesome!

Although the image got overlooked for posting, during my week of Real Estate class, Ashley made me a great meal.  Lasagna.  I have never made it in my life.  In fact, as a kid, I did not like it and it was rarely made.  I was never a big cheese person.  However, due to the greatness of Ashley's lasagna, I will be trying my hand at it.  It was pretty damn good and there were even some leftovers for me to take to my class the following day.

Monday, January 17, 2011


This was awesome!

While brainstorming about dinner after Ashley and I made a plan to eat together Saturday night, she opted for some sort of chic pea burger.  This was completely inspired by a burger she made last spring.

This version held up very well.  I have found that many bean burgers get a bit mushy in the middle as you eat it.  The wheat gluten solidifies this perfectly.  If garbanzo bean flour is not available, unbleached wheat flour can be used.

Chic Pea Burgers

the burger

5 cloves of garlic (chopped)
25 oz of chic peas
3/4 cup of wheat gluten
1/2 cup of vegetable broth
1/4 cup of fresh cilantro (chopped)
1 tablespoon of cumin
1 tablespoon of garbanzo bean flour
1 tablespoon of oil
1 tablespoon of onion (chopped)
1 tablespoon of salt
2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons of jalapeno pepper (chopped)
1 teaspoon of black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a pot, bring the vegetable broth to a boil.  Using an "un-chicken" broth works very well.

In a large mixing bowl, mash the chic peas.  Do not need to make smooth, some chunk is nice for the texture.  Then add the jalapeno pepper, garlic, onion, cilantro, and hot broth and mix well.  Add the wheat gluten and garbanzo bean flour and mix well.  This will begin to thicken quickly.  Add the cumin, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper and mix thoroughly.  It may be necessary to mix with your hands at this point.

It should have almost a dough like texture at this point.  Kneed it out into a 1/2 inch slab and cut into patties.  Place the patties in a baking pan with a light layer of oil and bake for 10 minutes.  Flip and bake for an additional 10 minutes.  This will make them nice and firm.  Set aside and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

the breading

1 cup of garbanzo bean flour
1 cup of vegetable broth
1/2 cup of vegan chicken broth powder
1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon of parsley
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of onion powder

Set out two separate bowls.  In one, pour the vegetable broth.  In the other, combine all other ingredients.  Take 4 tablespoons of the flour mixture and add it to the broth.  Mix well.

the frying

1/2 cup of oil

Heat the oil in a skillet on low heat.  Take a chic pea patty and dip it in the broth mixture.  Then dip it in the flour mixture and cover both sides.  Add the patty to the oil and fry for 3 minutes, flip and fry for an additional 3 minutes.  Remove the patty from the oil and set on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.  Repeat the process for each patty.  This recipe should make about 6 patties.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Southern Candied Sweet Potaotes

Growing up in the north, I had never had sweet potatoes like are typically found here in the dirty south.  When I first had them, I was very skeptical and it took me awhile to come around.  Now, more than 6 years later, I really enjoy these southern comfort foods.  I added my own little touch here with the pecans for some added crunch.  I actually tossed a few walnuts in as well since I had them.

This was such a tasty and rice dish that my sweet tooth forced me to eat all of this over the course of the day.  Needless to say, occasionally, my belly does not like my tooth.

Southern Candied Sweet Potatoes

2 large sweet potatoes
1 1/2 cups of water
1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup pecans
1/3 cup of white sugar
1/4 cup of vegan margarine
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
1/2 tablespoon of corn starch

1 teaspoon of vanilla

Peel the potatoes and cube into 1 inch pieces.

In a large sauce pan, bring the water, margarine, brown sugar, white sugar, maple syrup, and cinnamon to a simmer.  Add the sweet potatoes and allow to simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.  Once the potatoes are tender, add the corn starch, vanilla, and pecans and remove from heat. Gently fold pecans into the broth and allow 15 minutes to set.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Disaster or Vacation?

The Atlanta weather has forced the city to shut down for nearly a week at this point.  Most schools and business have completely closed and the roads have a coating of ice due to overnight freezes.  Many people have felt trapped but I have actually enjoyed my time off.  Three days in a row in not common for me so it was a nice break.

I got a couple of rooms primed (despite spilling paint on the carpet), baked some muffins, and cookies.  Of course I made some french fries, had some soy chicken lathered in my mustard sauce.  Made some nice enchiladas with my secret recipe guacamole (it will be in the book), overall I felt good with my time away from the jobby job.

Ashley was stir crazy at her house (as many people in the city were) so I took my Maine winter driving experience across town and picked her up.  We had some food and watched a movie.  Driving was interesting with very few cars on the road and several abandoned on the side of the road, it felt like I was in Dawn of the Dead.

The snow did make for some unique photo opportunities that are very rare in the Atlanta area.  I found a dead bird on my front porch!  I am scared of birds, even dead ones, and it took some courage to get rid of it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mulligatawny Soup

The Saturday night Mulligatawny Soup came out amazing.  It was the all-star of the meal for sure.  Certainly better than the disaster of a cake Ashley and I tried to make later.

Mulligatawny Soup

2 bay leaves
6 cloves of garlic (chopped)
4 cups of vegetable broth
1 cup of red lentils
1/2 cup of onion (chopped)
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 tablespoon of cumin seeds
2 teaspoons of turmeric
2 teaspoons of garam masala
2 teaspoons of lemon juic
2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of coriander
1 teaspoon of jalapeno pepper (chopped)

In a pot, combine the oil, garlic, jalapeno pepper, onion and cumin seeds and heat on low-med heat until aromatic.  Add the lentils, turmeric, tomato paste, bay leaves, and vegetable broth.  Bring to a simmer for 25 minutes or until lentils are soft.

Once lentils are soft, add the lemon juice, salt, coriander, and garam masala.  Allow to simmer for another 5 minutes.  Carefully, remove the bay leaves and set aside.  Add the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth.  Return to the pot and return the bay leaves.  Allow it to simmer for another 5 minutes and remove the bay leaves again and serve.  Top with cilantro or lemon wedges.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Channa Masala

I spent Saturday afternoon looking at an investment property for myself and thrift store shopping in a neighboring town.  I am in the dead hunt for some tacky picture frames to add to my collection.  No luck.

That night, Ashley came over for dinner and I made some Channa Masala and Mulligatawny Soup.  It turned out great and was a nice evening of dinner and a dvd.

Channa Masala

6 cloves of garlic (chopped)
30 oz of chippeas
1 cup of coconut milk
1/2 cup of onion (chopped)
1/2 cup of vegetable broth
3 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 tablespoons of cilantro (chopped)
2 tablespoons of oil
1 tablespoon of cumin seeds
1 tablespoon of cumin powder
1/2 tablespoon of garam malasa
2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of turmeric
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of curry powder
1 teaspoon of jalapeno pepper (chopped)

In a large skillet, bring the oil to low-med heat.  Once the oil is up to temperature, add the jalapeno, garlic, onion and cumin seeds.  Let fry for about 4 minutes until it become aromatic.  Add the chicpeas, turmeric and stir well, it should have a nice yellow color now.  Fry for 5 minutes, then add the tomato paste and vegetable broth.

Let cook for another 5 minutes stir frequently.  Add the coconut milk, curry powder, salt, black pepper, garam masala, cumin powder, and reduce heat to low.  Heat for about 15-20 minutes but do not allow to simmer.  It will begin to thicken.  Add the cilantro, remove from heat, stir, and serve topped with the additional cilantro.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A little catch up

Today, I fully intended to share a recent dinner with the blog world.  When I awoke, I opted to save it for another day.

Early in the hours of the morning I received a text from my boss at the jobby job.  He said that we would not be open today due to weather.  Living in Atlanta, I have never seen the city shut down due to snow.  Growing up in Maine, the 6 inches of snow we got would barely be mentioned on the news.  Here, all hell has broken loose.  Highways are closed, businesses are vacant, and cars are sitting idly in driveways covered in snow.

This type of day makes me miss Maine.  As a kid, I used to love to make complex snow forts in the yard and jump off the deck into large snow piles.  There will be no snow forts for leaps off my deck today however, I wanted to share this significant day here in Georgia.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Dinner and a strike

My class has been exhausting but filled with good information.  It has resulted in long day and tomorrow will be the exam followed by a 12 hour shift at work.  It will be beat by the day off on Sat.

The other night I had some guests over and forced myself to make dinner despite my exhaustion.  It was pretty good if not basic.  I cheated a bit and picked up some soy chicken on the way home and had some pita chips at the house.

The results?  Black Cherry Soy Chicken, Cilantro Hummus, and Steamed Broccoli.  For desert?  I made a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and vegan marshmallows folded in.  Needless to say, it was a delicious meal.

I also wanted to give people a quick update on the prison strike that has been going on here in Georgia.  I actually received some unpleasant responses from some readers, a few questions and a little support.  Overall I am still glad that I brought it to the readers attention.

The update is sadly, not surprising.  It has been reported by an investigating team of the NAACP that 3 prisoners were assaulted by guards at the directive of the wardens.  One of the prisoners was rushed to the hospital in critical condition with serve head trauma.  These prisoners need the support of people on the outside.  There are so many ways to get involved, look them up or email me and I can help.  Please act now!

actual photo

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Busy Boy!

Despite good intentions, I have not had much time to cook or blog so far this week.  I logged over 40 hours in the first 4 work days this week to get the following 3 off.  However, during those 3, I am attending a continued education class for my Real Estate career.

Also during the week, I have been trying to find time to show some property to a few new clients and follow up with the painting of my house.  I hope to get a few hours to catch up on some home cooking, at the very least in time to have leftovers to take to work for the upcoming weekend.

In the meantime, I have settled on a little mashed potatoes, green beans, and a soy chicken sandwich.  The sandwich came out really awesome and it will be on the menu again when I am strapped for time.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Obligatory wrap up

I am not exactly sure what to say about 2010.  In some ways, many things have changed and are heading in the direction I want.  While others feel stagnant and like I have completed a full circle and am right back where I started, which almost feels like I never left.

One of the things I know for sure is that this blog has been a life saver and a great foundation for my life.  Not only did I cross the 340 post mark this year but I posted more in the first six months of 2010 than I had in the previous two years combined.  I hope to continue the consistent posting into 2011.

The last several days were spend at work, both showing houses (which I really enjoy) or at the jobby job.  When I left work this evening, I tried to find some cupcakes at the store to have and share but there was none.  Sadly, I settled on a cookie, seeing a good face for a few minutes, and a thoughtful drive home.  Once I finally got home, I forced my will upon my lack of motivation and made some enchiladas for dinner.  I made sure I made enough to bring to my 17 hour work day tomorrow.

I have some classes coming up this week and it should be a good opportunity for some evenings in the kitchen.