Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Smoothies for the cold months

In the winter months my smoothies usually consist of frozen fruits.  Frozen fruit is fine for a smoothie but it still pales in comparison to a fresh fruit smoothie.  Sadly, it can be difficult to find the fresh ripe fruits this time of the year.  Trying to think about some other types of smoothies I decided on a banana, chocolate and peanut butter concoction.

I used chocolate almond milk and chocolate flavored Vega, along with a tablespoon of peanut butter.  It is like drinking a peanut butter cup.  Delicious and nutritious.  This smoothie is much more cold weather friendly, it is hearty and I bet it would even be good heated!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Recipe: Roasted Garlic Hummus

I have been on a chicpea kick recently.  After making my bbq chicpeas  last week,  I have been trying all sorts of different ideas.  Using dry chicpeas and cooking them myself has been a great experience.  I really appreciate having as much control over my foods and what I put in my body as I can.

Needing to make some food for the jobby job hours, I decided hummus would be perfect.  I generally reserve hummus for the summer months but I thought I would mix it up a bit.  It is perfect to pack into sandwiches and take them to work.  This time I thought it might be interesting if I roasted the chicpeas before making them into hummus.

Roasted Garlic Hummus

6 cloves of garlic
2 cups of cooked chicpeas
3 tablespoons of water
2 tablespoons of oil
1 tablespoon of jalapenos (chopped)
1 tablespoon of lemon juice

1 tablespoon of tahini
1/2 tablespoon of cilantro
2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
2 teaspoons of paprika
1 teaspoon of coriander

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Add the chicpeas, cumin seeds, 1 tablespoon of oil, coriander, and paprika to a baking dish.  Mix the ingredients around so that the chicpeas are covered and look moist and bake for 10 minutes.  Then stir in the 3 cloves of garlic (chopped) and the jalapenos to the roasting chicpeas and bake for another 15 minutes.  Adding the jalapenos and garlic later prevents them from burning.

After 25 minutes in the oven, the chicpeas should be almost a golden color and be very aromatic.  In a blender, add the remaining 3 cloves of garlic, tahini, lemon juice, water, and oil and puree until the garlic is chopped.  Add the chicpeas mixture and cilantro and puree until smooth.

Dust with more paprika and serve as a dip or use as a sandwich spread.

Friday, February 22, 2013

A six year old made me dinner!

Kaleigh came for a visit again last night.  We went to see a movie and then back to my house where I thought we might make pizza.  She said she was not in the mood for pizza and wanted to make a salad.  I tossed out the idea that we could use the pizza dough to make bread sticks and have both.  She loved it and was thrilled that she got input on dinner.  In fact, she was so thrilled, she offered to make it!

First we made the breadstick. We decided to make another video of the process since she is really good at rolling out the dough.  She is too cute!

Then, I assisted in cutting them into bread sticks and she finished them off.  While they were baking, she made the entire salad herself.  She chopped (supervised) romaine lettuce, cucumber, carrots, and even tomatoes.  I told her I was not a big fan of tomatoes and that I did not need a lot of them in my bowl.  I got a scolding look and was told they were good for me as she heaped a handful in my bowl!  She even topped the salad with some currants she found in the cupboard.

She set the table while I pulled the bread sticks from the oven and took a few pictures.  She is one of the greatest kids in the world and I am happy we are buddies!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Stir Fry!

Over the weekend, I made another great stir fry.  Another excuse to use my tofu press and eat some great veggies.  Back in the later 90's when I started my journey into veganism, I can recall eating stir fry and feeling like I was the healthiest person in the entire state.  It is kind of funny to look back on my diet during those days and realize that most of what I ate was filler.  Stir fry might have been about the only thing I ate that had vegetables.

I also made some of my favorite BBQ chicpeas!  I thought they would be great to take to work and I was right.  They were perfect, either cold or re-heated, they hit the spot.

Late last week I also went to another hardcore show.  It was a good time and I am really starting to meet some nice folks.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Best Valentines Videos Ever! Must Watch!

I had a great Valentine's Day!  I got to pick up Kaleigh from school and make dinner with her.  When I picked her up, I brought her some flowers.  She was really excited and all the other kids were jealous.  It was pretty funny.

We made pasta and salad for dinner.  I actually did not cheat this time and made the sauce from scratch.  I took 8 or so tomatoes and went to town on them.  It was fun and felt much healthier then the store bought stuff.

After dinner, Kaleigh and I made some chocolate covered strawberries.  She did it almost all herself.  I told her how to make the chocolate and she added all the ingredients and did all the stirring.  She then did almost all of the dipping of strawberries too.

I started to take a couple of picture of her doing it when she said, "you know Vic, that camera can take videos too".  Chuckling I said, "you're right, I'll make a video".  This was the result:

This was one of the funniest things I have ever seen!  She is too cute!  She did this all in her own and aside from helping her recall the ingredients it was all her idea and all one take.  She might end up being an internet sensation!

Ashley came and picked her up after we watched a movie.  It was a great Valentines Day!  I am so lucky to have this little girl in my life.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Folk Punk Show!

Folk Punk Show!

For a few weeks I have been looking forward to seeing a band from Houston called Days N' Daze.  They pretty much encompass all I enjoy about the folk punk genre.  They have acoustic guitar playing punk riffs, they have unorthodox instruments and out of key vocals.  Totally into it and needless to say, I was pumped.  They rocked the whole place.  They danced around, yelped and laughed and did it all without needing to be plugged in!

I arrived and noticed that to my surprise, Butcher Boy, another band playing, was from Maine!  Strangely, I did not know the members nor had I heard of them.  We talked for a bit and was excited to find out there is some house shows going on in Portland Maine.  It sounds like these folks really have some great times back home.  I informed all of the old punk heads in Maine about them and they are excited to check them out.  When Butcher Boy started to play, everyone was blown away.  They were amazing.  Haunting in their mastery on the genre.  It was intense and beautiful.  Sometime it is strange to see punks play something to aesthetically pleasing.

The opening band was decent but not my style as much, more rock, less punk.  We Few, a local Atlanta folk punk unit also played.  I have heard their name mentioned a few times and was interested in seeing them.  They were a lot of fun and had some rocking lyrics too.

This was a really fun night and all the bands were great.  The folks from Days N Daze as well as Butcher Boy were really nice.  Its nice that folks take time to talk to the old guy in the sweater that keeps taking pictures.

Monday, February 11, 2013

More Greens!

Last week, a co-worker brought me a stir-fry they had made. he is vegan but is pretty separate from the vegan community, in fact, I may be the only other vegan he knows.  I occasionally share food that I bring to work with him and he brought me a great stir-fry.  He breaded some tofu and it had lots of greens.  As I was eating it I realized that i do not often have that many greens in my stir-fry and my stir-fry had become fairly standard.

Inspired by my co-worker to mix it up, I made a new stir-fry, with more greens!  It was not as hearty as some of the others I make but it had a certain appeal.  It even gave me yet another excuse to use my amazing tofu press!  It is nice to have a fresh take on a standard dish!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Slow cooker? I've got thyme!

I woke up this morning and realized that despite posting two blogs this week, I had not mentioned food in either one.  Fell guilt for depriving the blogworld of tasty goodness, I knew my only option was to make an emergency post now.  Dinner is served!

I used the slow cooker recently to make some soup to take to work with me.  I am not experienced enough with the slow cooker to realize how much food in makes.  This made 2 huge buckets of soup!  There is no way I will be able to eat all of this alone.  It is quite tasty though.  I took potatoes, red peppers, white beans, onion, garlic, carrots, celery, cabbage, and thyme and let them slow cook for about 7 hours.  They flavor is rich and hearty.  I think I will make a stove top version of this soup at some point to share a recipe. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Botanical Gardens in the winter of Atlanta

I have never thought much about going to a botanical gardens in the winter months.  It seemed like it would be a waste of time and money.  Recently, Ashley was offered some free admission for her, myself and Kaleigh.  We went and to my surprise there were some pretty unique things to the winter months.

Much of the botany was dead but it left some stark images behind.  Huge bushes with a single flower remaining or even just dead flowers that had not decayed.  It was also a fairly private walk through since most people do not visit the gardens in the winter either.

The three of us had a fun day, despite an abrupt ending.  We had a mostly fill reign of the place and saw very few other people.  It was a day of playing, talking about plants and Kaleigh and I even found a few opportunities to raise some mischief.

Monday, February 4, 2013

A tribe untouched...

Friday, I went to Wonderroot (an Atlanta spot I am really enjoying) for a hardcore show.  With being mostly out of the community for several years, I have been easing my way back in.  This was a show I had been looking forward to for some time.

As always, I was too early for the show.  When I arrived, it was me and a couple folks setting up.  I overheard them talking about the show and one said that they really liked some of the local bands playing that night but had never heard of Capitalist Casualties.  They must be old guys.  I chuckled, as I think I was an old guy at that point, since I did not know any of the local bands and was there to see the "old guys".

Paradox was the opener, it was their first show and they were quite a nice surprise.  I started thinking of the culture of punk and hardcore and age.  As I looked around the room I saw a lot of folks dressed like I used to dress, dancing like I used to dance, wearing clothes I used to wear, conversing like I used to converse.  It occurred to me how tribal the culture of punk is.

The generations of punk are shorter, about a decade apart, but the tribal elements are all there.  The traditions are passed down from generation to generation and people learn about the community from exposure.  It surprised me how rare this is is our society.  The punk community has done a good job of self-isolation as well has maintaining its identity.  It amazes me how much of the culture has escaped the corporate takeover of most musical cultures.  No one is making money off the scene, no one is paying for ad space, everyone is there because they feel at home.

While there are many issues I have with the community, many of which were the reasons I left so many years ago, I see a new appeal.  Perhaps it is the perspective of a generation removed.

Dead in the Dirt are a local vegan straight-edge grindcore band.  I am all about the vegan straight-edge but was concerned they might be slightly too metal for me, until they started playing.  They were incredible.  It was inspiring to see so much passion in their music.  It really reminded me of the early years of Tragedy or Drop Dead.  They blew me away.  They were not just playing songs they wrote, they were offering themselves into the community.

Then Capitalist Casualties played, true to form, West Coast Power Violence.  Due to a broken bass strap, they were unable to meet their goal of 25 songs in 30 minutes but it was close!  They played it fast, loud, and abrasive.  I am sure that those young kids will remember who those old guys are now.