Monday, September 27, 2010

Do be a dahl...

Hello good and faithful readers!
Despite my lack of posting for FIVE DAYS, I truly appreciate you showing up and reading.


Here's the thing... I'm at San Jose Airport flying to Phoenix this morning (woo hoo!) and my camera - and SD card with the pictures for this post- are in the apartment. Boo. If you were keeping track, that's plus one point for an amaze-balls recipe and minus one point for going to bed too late before getting up to fly.


(The X Files episode we watched was a dud - a second episode was totally necessary to remedy the situation. Midnight 'smidnight! I can sleep on the plane! wait.... I'm flying a crap airline and I refuse to pay $6 to select an aisle seat... never mind. Coffee it is.)

So. Without further ado and without actual pictures... Here it is!

***

Indian food makes me swoon. Love. Love. Love. the stuff... can't, however, afford to spend the dollars on the dahl, right now so I made my own! Super easy, super cheap "set it and forget it!" meal. We stuck to brown rice as my bread making skills are currently restricted to my bread maker, but you can buy whole wheat naan for dipping at Trader Joes on the cheap!

Green Lentil Dahl

based on this recipe

Shopping List:

2 cups green lentils
1 bay leaf
3 garlic cloves
3 pieces raw ginger, peeled (about 1" each. Keep your ginger in the freezer and use as needed. peels and grates beautifully and it won't go bad!)
1 teaspoon tumeric
5 thin slices of lemon
1/2 tsp salt
5 grinds black pepper
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne (I'm a pansy and started with 1/8 tsp. Rule of thumb: you can always add but a seared tongue takes forever to heal.)
1/2 tsp garam masala
3 T butter or ghee
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cumin
2 c cooked brown rice (again... rice cooker: set 'er up and move on with your life. luv.)

To Do List

Wash lentils & drain. Combine with 6 cups water, garlic cloves, ginger slices & turmeric. Bring to a boil, lower heat & simmer for 40 minutes, until your lentils are tender and the water had reduced by about 1/3. I go for sludgy texture with Dahl... you can always go for a more 'defined' lentil if that's your bowl of beans.

Add lemon, salt, black pepper, cayenne and garam masala. Simmer for a further 5-10 minutes. (again... i love dahl sludge, so I cooked mine for good 10 min longer) Melt butter in a separate pan, add garlic and cumin, and let 'er go until your butter is nearly browned. (If you're using ghee, just heat until warm.) Pour over top of dahl & serve over brown rice!

A few quick nutrition notes:

1. Remember the balanced macro nutrients we talked about? This has 'em. Your legumes and brown rice together make up a nice complete protein with all those yummy, essential amino acids. Yay!

2. Don't fear butter. The small amount of fat this adds to each serving will help with satiety... just don't use that logic with your movie popcorn and we're good.

3. Adding a veggie (which we admittedly didn't do here...) gives you a really well balanced meal! Steam some cauliflower in 1/2" water in a sautee pan and toss in a 1/2 tsp of good curry powder. Cruciferous, cancer-fighting curry bliss.

(photo source)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Get Ready to Salsa!!!

After an incredibly frustrating on Saturday morning (thanks to an airline that shall remain un-named lest they put me on their "extra special search" list for my commentary)....

Brian and I headed to Redwood City for the 3rd Annual Salsa Festival. And was there ever SALSA! Throngs of people dancing to live salsa bands, couples doing the samba in the street, chilis in the air, and tequila! Smoky, spicy, sunny goodness.

B stared longingly at the manymany meat products...


And decided on a funnel cake!


I stared longingly at the tequila...



and opted for a microbrew tasting!


There was music...


and puppies...


and peppers...


and potatoes...

and lots and lots of skeletons!


(am I the only one that thinks these things are adorable?)

SUPER bummed because the by the time we had sipped beer and watched our fill of salsa dancing, the salsa tasting was over! They were tearing down the tents just as we were warming up our taste buds. :( I could still smell the chilis and tortilla chips in the air... *sigh*

Otherwise - a great afternoon! Dropped B and the 'Rolla off in Menlo Park for a festival o' the geeks... ahem... "educational seminar" and took Caltrain back to Mountain View. 1.75 mile walk + 20 minutes of BOSU abs took care of that beer right quick!

Headed back to Sweet Home Arizona on Thursday for Kate the Great's wedding!! Planning on lots of lentils, lots of hiking and lots of sister time.

(I swear I'm sharing my news soon! Just biding my time.... *hint* it's very Zen)

Friday, September 24, 2010

So this vegetarian married a meat eater...

I've had a few people ask me how I manage to eat veggie and feed a carnivore when we don't eat out much (OK. We don't eat out ever. See my last post about risking bodily harm to be served fajitas...) and have a kitchen the size of an airplane galley.

In a word: preparation. Eating vegetarian the "right way" takes some thought in a meat-centric society. I see a lot of people eschew meat and end up eating more crap than they started with because a cheese pizza is a heck-a lot faster than brown rice casserole. Fail. Get your macros in check. And if you DO eat meat... for the love of the MONKEY, quit buying the cheap stuff. (I think I'm bleeding into another posting topic here... we'll come back to that.)

ANY-HOO.

I spend about an hour to two hours each weekend making lists, shopping, and doing food prep so I don't end up spending too much or eating crap because I didn't plan.

Here's this week's list for dinners:

  • Wild Rice Stuffed Peppers w/ Goat Cheese + Salad
  • Lentil Dahl/Tandoori Chicken + Brown Rice
  • Baked Wild Caught Rockfish "Fish Sticks" + Green Beans
  • Grass Fed Beef/Black Bean Burgers + Baked Sweet Potato Fries
  • Chicken Casserole/Stuffed Squash
  • Frutti di Mare + Salad
  • Bean Soup
Most nights, there are two options, but since I eat some sea food, there are a few meals we can agree on. Or I just sneak in meatless meals when he's not looking... (see: stuffed peppers and bean soup)

I hit up the Sunnyvale Farmer's Market on Saturday as they better prices on organic produce than most stores. $1.00/lb organic apples, $4.00/qt organic strawberries and $1.50/lb pesticide-free peaches are no joke. (Plus, there's a guy that plays the guitar the whole time, so there's that.) I get all my produce there (minus our smoothie bananas) and usually come out around $25.00.

My list for this week:

  • Apples x 6 sm.
  • Peaches x 6 lg.
  • Strawberries x 2
  • Bell Peppers x3
  • Onions (Red and Yellow)
  • Green Beans x 2 lbs
  • Potatoes (Sweet and White)
  • Carrots x 1
  • Kale x 2
  • Green Beans
  • Broccoli x 2
  • Tomatoes x 2
  • Cucumber x 1
Then I'll hit up Sprouts for dry goods and dairy since I'm in the shopping mood and it's a mere 2 min drive away from the Farmer's Market. (Have I mentioned I love living here?) Made the monthly Costco run this week (chicken breast, milk, Wholly Guacamole, dried figs ... the essentials) and I'm making my own Almond Milk, so this one's short:
  • Chickpeas (bulk + canned)
  • Red Beans (bulk + canned)
  • Tumeric
  • Whole Wheat Spaghetti
  • Whole Wheat Bread Crumbs
  • Butter
  • Vanilla Ice Cream*
  • Dark Chocolate chips
  • Organic Turbinado Sugar
  • Ginger
  • White Wine*
(Disclaimer: the ice cream is for B and the white wine is totally in the recipe for the Frutti di Mare.)

I buy my beans in bulk and soak/cook/use them in recipes, but I keep a can of each on hand for "oh my god. i forgot to make dinner and B is demanding flesh..." nights. It's about $0.20 cheaper per pound and much more earth-friendly to buy in bulk!!

I'm a mad multi-tasker and am currently not gainfully employed, so cooking two meals at once isn't such a huge pain, but if you don't have 4 hands/hate cooking/have a life - the slow cooker is your BEST.FRIEND. When I was working full time... B ate a lot of stew, pulled pork and lettuce wraps.



So that's it, in a nutshell! Comment with questions or send me an email! Also...



WHEAT MONKEY!! Thanks, Lara!!!

This little piece of delightfulness showed up in the mail this week. Hooray!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

we have a couch!

This week has been SO. eventful! So far I have:

1. Done 3 hikes, one of which made me question my professed level of fitness. One more on the docket for tomorrow. Bam.

2. Dropped a 200 lb. television on the floor of my apartment. BAM. (it survived. i almost didn't.)

3. Wedged a couch through our narrow apartment door, torn the cellophane and weird fabric wrappy stuff off like a 5 year old at Christmas, then flopped myself down on it for a nap. BUM.

Seriously, kids, not having a couch makes you suddenly insanely grateful for a large squashy object upon which to place one rear end.

In fact, as proof of how much I love this couch, I spent 15 min finding a vector image of a couch and drawing myself sitting on it, rather than leave the couch to find the camera.

(What? I already exercised today. Twice, thank you.)


In other news:

1. Wholly Guacamole has 15 avocados worth of guacamole goodness per 3-pack at Costco for $7.50 and yet, a bag of 5 avocados apparently will cost me $6.

2. I will be attending The Redwood City Salsa Festival on Saturday. Holy guacamole, indeed!

3. In keeping with the random avocado and mexican food news: I would give my left arm to have a plate of vegetarian fajitas delivered to my table by someone paid to bring me food. Must. Start. Making. Money.

4. I will be home in 1 week! Hanging with these gals for a few days, then a wedding in Camp Weirdo! (Camp Verde to those unfamiliar with local geography... or familiar with local geography and unfamiliar with local vernacular.)

Recipes and workout moves tomorrow! We're moving toward legitimately useful postings slowly... I promise.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The fish so nice, they named it twice.

*disclaimer: I am neither a food stylist nor a food photographer.
It will pretty much always taste better than I make it look.
So far I have had two requests:

1. Recipes
2. More More More! (love you, amy)

I aim to please...

***

Chili Lime Mahi with Avocado Corn Salsa and Cilantro Lime Rice
adapted from the mess going on in my noggin' most days

The Shopping List:

Mahi
  • 4 Mahi Filets - 3 oz or so each (or whatever flaky white fish toots your horn)
  • 1/2 medium lime
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Salsa
  • 1/2 c sweet corn kernels
  • 1/2 large avocado, diced
  • 1/2 large yellow or red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 c diced tomato
  • 1/4 c finely diced red onion
  • 1/4 medium lime, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1 T fresh cilantro, chopped
  • pinch of salt

Rice
  • 1/2 c long grain brown rice
  • (used white jasmine this time as B isn't a big brown rice fan and he's been a real trooper about eating it anyway lately)
  • 2 T butter (yes, the real stuff)
  • 1/4 medium lime, juiced
  • 1 T fresh cilantro, chopped

The To Do List:

Rice
  1. Cook rice according to package while you work. (I threw it in the rice cooker and moved on with life...)
  2. When rice is finished, mix in the butter, cilantro and lime juice.
While your rice is cooking...
Fish
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Place fish filets on the foil and spritz cooking spray or brush with olive oil, then rub pepper and chili powder on filets. Wash gross fishy smell from hands.
  3. Squeeze juice from 1/2 lime over fish and bake for 20 min or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
While your fish is cooking...

Salsa
  1. In a stoneware bowl (don't use metal for citrus fruit, kids), combine red onion, bell pepper, avocado, corn and tomato.
  2. Squeeze in lime juice and add chili powder, cumin, cilantro and salt.
  3. Pop 'er in the fridge and let 'er sit and soak up the flavah while your fish and rice finish up.
Serve it all together and enjoy!


Thanks to the lovely folks at our Sunnyvale Farmer's Market and the support staff at Trader Joe's... I think this meal cost a grand total of about $7.00 and made about 4 servings.
Cheap and Easy! Sounds like good time...

It's Settled.

I think we can call ourselves officially 'settled in' as yesterday, I unpacked the last of the boxes (not counting the boxes of Brian's miscellaneous electronics and "tech stock" which were unceremoniously stacked in the loft closet)... Starting over: I unpacked the last of the boxes of books, home goods and things that make sense to me.

Our books are on shelves.



My fall decor has been rescued from storage.



The things that make me happiest are hanging on the walls.



Really, our only outstanding items are a TV for watching reruns of the X Files on NetFlix.

theoretically being procured from my good friend Craig and his List tonight

And a couch upon which to curl myself up while watching said episodes, reading Jack Kerouac and writing to all of you lovelies.


theoretically being picked up at Discount Furniture Extravaganza of Wonder Store this week

In other news:

  • I have a new favie blog with which to distract myself from all things productive: Lessons of Love. Read and pee pants. Simple, really.

  • I woke up this morning at 11:02 (what!?) after sleeping for 1o.5 hours (seriously... who am I?) The last week has been exhausting. I have some pretty amazing news to share in the upcoming weeks, and the work load to has been more than I anticipated.

  • Once we managed to get moving, B and I hiked the Rancho San Antonio Wildcat Trail Loop today for time. It's about 4 miles to the trail and around the loop with a pretty steep jump in elevation at from about mile 2-3 and rolling hills from there. Housed it in 1.1 hours.

A new development I can share is that starting in October, I will be leading a series of cardio hikes around the Silicon Valley on Saturday mornings. I am so stoked to get back into the business of making people sweat! This was a "prep hike" for that series and these people are in for a workout. Which I'm sure all my former DC clients will find a huge shock...

All that and a shower accomplished today... here is the rest of my evening:

organic whole grain bread, olive oil + balsamic,
blob of organic homemade pesto, glass of cab courtesy of Meg and Misty,
Beatnik literature. heaven on a tiny table.

***


PS: Amy has almost 40 followers. I have 13. Ok. So life threatening swims in jungle rivers are more exciting than my glass of wine... but as we settle in to our new life and things aren't nearly as entertaining in these parts, what would you all like to see?

Recipes? My workouts? B's stupid quotes?

Por ejemplo: Exchange of the night last night as we walked to Mountain View to stare longingly at people who can afford to eat out --

Me:
So, can I discount our romantic* life from our taxes if I start my own business?
B: I think the IRS would say that my romance* isn't worth much.
Me: How would they know?
B:
The IRS has been f*ing me for years.
Ba dun, dun....

*language changed to keep the blog PG

But seriously, loyal readers. What would you like to read more of?

Off to read and booze and make merry before the work (heh) week starts!


Friday, September 17, 2010

attempt at socialization thwarted again.


The Award for Wierdest MeetUp Goes To......


*drumroll*

The South Bay Underwater Hockey Group!


I cannot make this stuff up.

Our local hockey rink is nick-named the 'Shark Tank.'

Prior to further investigation,
I assumed this group's name to be a pun.

Wrong on all counts.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bureaucratically-Induced Donner Party Incident ... OR... the California DMV

The California DMV, as other bloggers have noted, is probably the closest thing to purgatory that can be experienced while yet residing in the human body. After 30 minutes of waiting you get a ticket... to wait. And wait I did. For 3.5 more hours.

Three and a half hours of my life that I will never get back, spent small talking and commiserating. Despite wanting to read my book, the searing headache brought on by a distinct drop in blood sugar and an even more distinct lack of caffeine kept Jack Kerouac's Wake Up out of the picture.

But I digress... and complain. SO. After 4 hours of waiting and 6.2 minutes of submitting paper work, having a photo taken and taking a written test (NAIL BITER of a line to have that thing graded, btw!) ... I emerged triumphant!

We have gone from



to



(ain't she got a cute butt?!)

+ I passed the written test (only missed one, thank you! apparently, so long as the bed of my truck is higher than 24 inches, my buddies can ride in the back. huh.) and am now a licensed CA driver!

So. What does a gal like me do after surviving what was nearly a bureaucratically-induced Donner party incident?

Makes cookies!



Vegan Oatmeal Fig-Almond Cookies, to be exact.
(adapted from Cooking Light Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies)


Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup regular oats
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup organic turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 cup raw organic agave nectar
  • 1/3 cup organic almond butter, softened (peanut butter, cashew butter, whatever.)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 "flax egg"* (or 1 egg)
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup chopped organic dried, unsulfured figs

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt), stirring with a whisk; set aside.

Place sugar, agave nectar and almond butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. I used a wooden spoon and counted it as part of my upper body workout

Add vanilla and flax egg; beat until blended. Gradually add flour mixture, beating at low speed just until combined. Stir in almonds and figs. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until edges of cookies are lightly browned. Cool on pans 2 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks.
*Flax Egg: Combine 1 Tablespoon Ground Flax Meal with 3 Tablespoons Warm Water and allow it to sit until it slightly 'sets' and the flax absorbs the water. It's my Go-To vegan egg replacer for baking!

In other exciting news, my basil is still alive! Looking a bit surly after the transplant... but the patient is showing signs of improvement. Keep him in your thoughts...


May or may not accomplish anything else today. Seriously considering an evening of writing, sketching, reading and perhaps a few X Files. Apparently, sitting around with the disgruntled masses is quite taxing.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

over the hump

it's a sign that things have slowed down when i have nothing more exciting to blog about for a few days than the fact that a large member of the gourd family spattered its innards all over my microwave.

clearly, we're past the hump.

in addition to killing vegetables in horrific ways and unpacking the last few boxes i have:

  • had great meetings to talk about fitness and opportunities
  • done two (count them, TWO!) social lunch and/or happy hour MeetUps
  • plundered the sunnyvale library
  • refrained from plundering the san jose municipal rose garden
  • found my workout groove
  • written. a lot. of... um... well. i've written. let's leave it there for my pride's sake
  • read too many blogs
  • received pro photos on CD from the photographer (who was so kind when i emailed to ask where it was when i had never given him our new address after asking him to wait for it...) and WILL have them available by the end of the week. promise. by friday. cross my heart and kiss my elbow. (Breakfast at Tiffany's reference #2 if you're counting)
  • slept. a lot. it is a beautiful thing.

(source)

more exciting things to come. starting with the California DMV tomorrow. Eek!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

It's 9:45 p.m.

Do you know where your spaghetti squash is?

Squashes who do not received proper amounts of attention and nurturing have been known to exhibit explosive violence...


Emotional Outbursts...


And breakdowns in boundaries...


So have family dinner with your spaghetti squash regularly and listen when you hear it scream.

That scream may be followed by a pop.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Rancho San Antonio Take II

When I finally got B out of bed at a time that will not be mentioned we (I) bounded around getting ready for the hike that we (I) had our (my) heart set on last night!

We did the PG&E Trail at the Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve when we were here apartment hunting and saw lots of other trails we wanted to try. Today was the day!

We did the Wildcat Loop and Upper Wildcat Canyon + Deer Valley Farm for a total of about 2.2 hours. One thing I can't say enough about here is the weather!


Seventy-Five Degrees and Sunny. Again. Ho Hum. :)


After going on to do the Upper Wildcat Canyon, we stopped at the Deer Valley Farm to glance at the gardens and glare at the goats. (and sheep and pigs and cows, but alliteration is adorable, agreed?!)




The farm had an orchard and a little 'honor system' fruit stand with fresh-off-the-tree apples for 50 cents! They tasted like an intense burst of Fall.

Had good intentions for Hot Yoga today, but got sucked into ACE Certification studying, dinner making, biography reading and continued nesting. Tomorrow morning at 8 am will make a nice complement to today's hike, though.

*

SO. Now that we're here (albeit still couch-less)... what the heck are we doing? B is busy studying away and soaking up the local engineering culture via Meet Up groups and workshops.

Me? I taking a sabbatical. I'm taking a few months to write, read and pray, with a few good down dogs thrown in for good measure. It's been a long road, for those of you who know my story, and I'm stopping at this little Vista Point to grab a drink, sit on the bench and take it all in.

Scary? Yup.

But remember: "Future is as Future Does." Do it.