Monday, July 30, 2012

Back on it.

I go through phases with my popcorn eating habits.  For years I have made a signature popcorn that has been a favorite of nearly everyone who has tried it.  I have gone through periods of months where I have not eaten any but recently I have been on it again.  Popcorn.

Over the last few months, I have been brainstorming about a new style of popcorn.  It is not perfect yet but it is improving.  I will share more about the masterpiece when I get there.  Until then the blog world will have to settle for images of mouthwatering delicious popcorn.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Hosting the Cracks

In a rare Friday night occurrence, I invited Adrienne and Nate (of crack the plates fame) over for dinner.  I have been neglecting my duties as a host for some time.  I often site feeling too busy when in reality I am probably feeling too anti-social.  I gave in, and hosted dinner!

When Adrienne and I were making the plans, I asked her what she would like.  She said seitan and famous fries.  Who am I do disappoint?

I decided to make a chili like dish with seitan, black beans, and veggies.  It came out very good and I used my traditional methods of making seitan.  I am not ready to share these experimental versions yet.  It was topped with fresh cilantro and sliced mango.  The dish came out well and it was quite hearty.

The fries nearly got left out.  I scrambled at the last moment to get them in the oven.  They made it and were barely ready by the time the Cracks arrived.  Fries are always a favorite.

For desert I offered up a few of the cookies I made the other day.  I have been show some self control and still have a few left.

After dinner we talked about music and shared bands and stories together.  It was a relaxing night with good food, good friends, and good conversation.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Stacks on Deck

Late last night, on my day off, I got the urge for cookies.  I took advantage and whipped up a batch of my chocolate chip.  It has been awhile since I have made them but they were just as tasty as always.

I am slowly becoming a better baker.  The only change I have really made is paying a bit more attention to the measurements.  Despite all the cooking I do, my kitchen is pretty minimalist.  I have two 1 cup measuring cups, and one 2/3 measuring cup.  That is it.  I generally eyeball it.  I think my eyeball is getting more acute.

Doubling the batch in my gluttonous craving for a bedtime snack, I ate a whole plate full and went to bed with a belly ache.  When I woke up, I grabbed another cookie and felt much better.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I do not know what it is other than delicious!

My hectic week at the jobby job is finally over.  Yesterday was my Thursday and my Friday, I worked 16 hours after only leaving 8 hours prior.  I made it and am finally done.

In preparation of my long grind at the jobby job, I made myself a treat.  I am not sure what to call it, Taco Casserole?  Refried Bean Bake?  Tex Mex Something-or-Other?

Whatever it is called, it was fantastic.  I soaked, boiled, and fried some pinto beans.  Cook some random veggies down.  I then too the beans and spread them over the bottom of a baking pan, covered with a layer of the veggies, another layer of beans, a layer of crushed corn chips, and topped with cilantro.  In the oven it went.  Fabulous!

This is something I will certainly make again.  When I do, I will be sure to write out a recipe to share with the blog world.  This is a dish I was very happy with and it was an excellent meal to tote to the jobby job for my lunches.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Seitan is Motivation

The motivation is starting to come back now.  I recently tried my hand at some seitan ribs.  Since my return from Spain, I have been putting in a lot of effort to re-create some lentil based seitan.  It has not gone as smoothly as I liked and has been somewhat frustrating.  This time I just went with what I knew and made some classic seitan, ribs style.

They were decent, nothing special but they certainly were better with some rosemary fries!  As this work week winds down, I really hope to get some great things done.  I need to keep myself on top of it.  Atlanta summer is rough.

Friday, July 20, 2012

It Is Pouring...

It has been a vicious week or so.  I was without air conditioning for about 6 days.  It sounds petty but this is Atlanta and when the AC goes out, the humidity fulls the house.  Although it never got much above 85 degrees in the house, the humidity made me constantly sticky.  It was lots of cold showers just to get the sweat off and cool down.  Once the needed part came in the AC was fixed and the temperature began to come back to a liveable level.  It really was draining to my motivation.  Fortunately, it was the new motor that blew out and was still covered under my warranty so all I needed to pay was labor.

The day the air conditioning was fixed, I was crushed with some other wrecking ball news.  Additionally, we are heading into one of the busiest weeks at my job.  Yesterday I worked a 17 hour shift.  When it rains it pours.

Needless to say, my motivation has been sapped in the kitchen.  Mostly quick foods.  I am hoping to make something nice today, a lone day off in the storm of a hectic upcoming week.  There will be light at the end of the tunnel soon though.  I am sure of it.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Tasters; Pizza and Cookies

Breaking away from the summer foods like burritos and chicpea chicken salad, Ashley, Kaleigh and I opted to make pizza!  As a throw back to my trip to Spain, we actually made a Bar B Que chickin pizza.  It is a big thing here in the south and it is fantastic.

Kaleigh, at 5 years old, is often picky about eating some of the foods I make.  I think they are a bit out of her comfort zone.  She will occasionally tell me that her "tasters" like a particular food though.  When she and Ashley come to visit, I have been trying to make things that she might be more familiar with but add some new items into her diet, slowly.  That is where we came up with the pizza idea.

I had the soy chickin and Bar B Que under the vegan cheese, then I topped it with fried zucchini and after we pulled it out of the oven, added sliced avocado.  She actually liked it a lot and ate a couple of slices.  It is always nice when it is a winner.

After dinner, we baked some S'mores Cookies.  Always a treat!  These are certainly a favorite around the house, with everyone.  So rich, so delicious.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Morbid Vegan...

The Air Conditioning units have been the bane of me for a few months.  I have had to do work on the at the rental unit, more than once and yesterday, the one at my house went out.  I went to my crawl space to see what the issue might be.  As I turned the light on and looked down, I saw a large dead squirrel about an inch from my feet.  Startled, I stepped back and continued with the AC issues.

I got up this morning with the intention of getting rid of the squirrel.  After a brief discussion with Jamie we agreed that throwing it into the woods was the best option.  I decided to take my shovel and rake and scoop the dead animal up, march into the woods and catapult it as far as I could.

All was going as planned, the scoop was flawless, get out of the crawl place with it was relatively smooth as was the walk to the wooded back yard.  Then the catapult, it had a high arc and I felt done, until, it got stuck in the tree.  Now, I had a dead squirrel stuck in the branches of a tree in my back yard.  I used the rake to knock it down, which took several tries.  The second catapult had similar results.  I finally ended up just setting it on the ground just into the edge of the woods line.

It was quite a morbidly comedic event.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sweet! Burritos!

As the summer is in full swing, I tend to eat a lot of burritos.  I often blame it on Ashley, as it is typically one of her requested meal choices, however this year the burritos have been at the top of my list.  They are versatile, refreshing, and easy to take an extra to work.

I really like adding some sweet flavor to my burritos.  In the past I have added mangoes, pineapples, and the often used corn.  This time I went for the sweet potato.  It added a really nice flavor to the wrap.  The sweetness was perfect, subtle yet noticeable.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy Veganiversary!

I can recall the first couple days into making the choice to go vegan, sitting in the middle of the local grocery store surrounded my products I generally consumed with my book listing animal ingredients.  I sat for hours while the rural Maine culture pushed shopping carts past me with sceptically looks.  I was only 18 and I did not care what anyone else though.  I was an anarchist punk with an attitude and now I was vegan.

After hours at the store, I liberated the products I wanted and was off to start a rarely expressed political diet.  It was 1998 and being vegan was not even something people were aware existed.  You were fortunate if you could find some veggie hot dogs at the store.  It was a world of pasta and rice with vegetables and I was off to recruit all my other punk friends to join me!

Now, 14 years later, I am still vegan but it seems so much easier to eat on the run.  While it is convenient, I am not always sure it is such a good thing as I feel I might have ate healthier back when I was forced to eat more vegetables just to get enough on my plate.  I feel like we vegans are spoiled now.  It has been a long journey, a road I never look back on.  Not many things about me as an 18 year old punk kids have changed and the veganism still rings though.

To celebrate, I made an old popular dish that I ate often as an young, angry, vegan: Bar B Que Tempeh.  I added some nice roasted eggplant and zucchini.  Coupled with a piece of my chocolate cake and I felt old school.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Ants on a Log and Chicpea Chickin Salad!

A week or so ago, I was able to spend the day with Ashley and Kaleigh.  We got some random errand type things done and had a great day.  Since the summer has arrived, Ashley has been looking forward to my chicpea chickin salad.  It is a favorite among most folks who have tried it.

I was making the chicpea from scratch (well, I didnt grow them), so everyone was beginning to get hungry as I was boiling them.  To tide the famished over, I made something I had never had before, Ants on a Log!  I have never been a fan of celery so I think I just avoid these but as I was putting them together, I tried one.  To my surprise, they were pretty tasty, even if I did not actually have raisins and was using currants.  The ladies in the house (Jamie included) gobbled these up.

In the meantime, I was diligently working on the chickin salad.  Once it was finally finished, we made some great wraps as well as having some on crackers.  It was coupled with as nice salad.

After dinner, Ashley, Kaleigh and I went to the park to watch the sunset.  We got mildly harassed by a cop who was trying to clear the park because it was dusk. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Just one Crack...

The past game night was canceled.  Nate let me know the night before but asked if I wanted tot have dinner at the Cracks instead.  I agreed and the following day, I headed over.

To my surprise, when I arrived, Adrienne, the matron crack, was gone to another dinner party.  It was going to be a boys night.  Prior to leaving, Adrienne prepared some lasagna and roasted cauliflower.  It was fantastic.  Nate fulled together a quick salad and we sat down to eat.  We talked some politics as usually, then plays some games with just the two of us.  It was a relaxing night!  One Crack is better than none!