Friday, November 2, 2012

Oh what a difference a year makes

I guess I really have to step up my blog game. It's been almost a year (to the day) since my last post. Many new changes (and recipes) have happened unbeknownst to my blog! I have taken my eating and cooking to the next level, transitioning from vegetarian to vegan, and trying to eat as local and fresh as possible! I have also traveled and moved, into a huge space with my new parents. So the kitchen space is a lot more limited than it used to be. I am also a college graduate BOOOYAH. With a full-time job. Oh yeah, and I started grad-school. So my schedule has been insane to say the least.

BUT I am looking to start cooking and recording my experiences again! The recipes will be a tad bit different, but I am excited all of the same! I have a feeling that most of my posts will be updated on Sunday, lasting for the week. Because of my crazy schedule.

I hope to post a little later on today seeing as though my internet is back and hurricane Sandy has given me the week off from work. My heart goes out to all of those affected by this storm.

Peace & Love
Steel-cut oat breakfast bowls for me and MA! Steel-cut oats, flaxseed, brown sugar, cinnamon, dried berries and nuts, blueberries and nanners! YUM

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Vegetarian Chili

My mom had recently given me this cute little spice catalog that had a million different recipe ideas, knowing that I suck at searching for fun meals.  There is the smartest/most dangerous book ever because it puts these beautiful pictures of cakes and pastas followed by the spices used and their price tags. Anyway, I flipped through some of the pictures and immediately stopped on this beautiful yellow bowl full of chili-looking goodness. I had just went grocery shopping, so I was hoping I wouldn't have to go out and get anything. The recipe calls for the following a can of black beans, garbanzo beans and red kidney beans, 4 0z diced green chilies (in a can) 1 c of water, ancho pepper (which I didn't use) 1/2 tsp of cumin and a pinch of crushed peppers (I used crushed rep pepper flakes). It included a few optional ingredients: sour creams, green onions and shredded cheddar--for garnish.  After going through the cabinets I found I had everything besides the ancho pepper and the red kidney beans. So I just nixed the two- I added a small can of white beans that I had to substitute and it was fine. I had some left over veggies from the night before, so I through them in too. The creator of the recipe mentioned added zucchini or carrots if around, so I kinda went with it. So pretty much the extent of the recipe is to through all the ingredients in a big pot and let everything come to a boil, once it does let it simmer for 30-45 minutes. And there ya go. Vegetable deliciousness.  I threw it over microwavable brown rice and melted a slice of vermont cheddar on top because I had it. I'm sure it would be good over or with anything as a side dish. Great dish to eat when its chilly out!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Fettucini Alfredo with Broccoli

The easiest recipe of all time. Late last night I was looking for a substantial meal, without the work. Something pasta-ie. Unfortunately my go-to pasta cookbook ("The Joy of Pasta") didn't have the recipe I was craving--anything Alfredo. So I turned, yet again, to my Pasta Queen mother.  She might have used 50 characters via text message when telling me how to prepare this meal which consisted of four true ingredients: pasta, heavy cream, parmesan cheese and Wondra.

  The first thing I did was put the water on to boil for the pasta. I didn't have any fettucini in the apartment, so I used a mix of regular and whole wheat linguini- just as good. Anything thinner, such as angel hair, would probably conflict with the texture of the sauce.

 Once the water came to a boil the pasta went in and I started on the sauce.  Now broccoli isn't in her original recipe.  I had a random memory of the first night my grandmother had come to stay with us this summer, we ate tortellini alfredo with broccoli and she loved it.  Interestingly enough my mother had used fat free half and half instead of heavy cream, which is ideal for people watching their figure.
I first put the frozen broccoli in water and microwaved it for about 7 minutes.  I was really feeling lazy last night.

Then in a sauce pan I put 3/4 C of Heavy Cream with Parmesan Cheese.  The flame should be very low, the light sauce burns very easily.  While watching and whisking every so often I created the second part to the sauce.  In  a separate bowl I added two tbsp of Wondra (this thickens the mixture) and a small amount of Heavy Cream just to make it pasty.  Once it was smooth I added it right to the Parmesan and HC. I only added more Parmesan and black pepper to taste. This left the sauce overall a little flavor-less when it was time to eat, but I think it was because the pasta to sauce ratio was wrong.  My mom had not told me until after I finished eating, naturally, that she usually adds onion and garlic powders.

Regardless, the texture was creamier than most I've eaten in restaurants. With a little salt and some onion powder that alfredo sauce has the potential to be the cheapest and easiest recipe I've tried yet.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mama's Penne a la Vodka

Today was my boyfriends birthday so I wanted to make a family style dinner for him and my roommates.  It had to be something relatively easy with few ingredients, but could feed six.  So naturally I called my mother, who thought that pasta would be appropriate given my requirements.  I was skeptical, but when she told me all I would need was a jar of tomato sauce, butter, parmesan cheese, garlic and onion powder, heavy cream and vodka--I was sold. She usually makes it in a frying pan so I wanted to follow every step she did. I first melted two tbsp of butter (I put a little extra) with onion and garlic powder in the frying pan.  The garlic powder and onion powder can be replaced with real chopped garlic and onion. My roommate doesn't like the onion texture so I chose the easier route. On a half simmer I then added the jar of Rinaldi's sauce (she said any type of regular sauce would be fine.) Into the sauce all i had to ad was 1/4 C of vodka and some parmesan cheese. I used Smirnoff triple distilled---convenient left overs from last night's birthday festivities. She had advised me to add a small mount of crushed red pepper, which I did, it really added to the flavor. Lastly, the heavy cream.  There are no measurements for this.  The lighter you want the sauce the more you put.  But start off with small amounts, a little cream goes a long way!  Once all the ingredients are mixed the sauce needs to simmer for 10-15 minutes and it's complete, after you top it with some more parmesan of course!  It was a hit tonight and will definitely be added to my recipe collection. So quick and easy. And cheap! Perfect for a college student.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Granny Smith's Apple Pie

The easy recipe was on that I obtained from my mother.  It is a recipe that she has been making forever. The taste cinnamon-y sweet goodness would cause one to think that this recipe was extremely complicated, but there are only a few short steps.  The first obviously is to get yourself a big bag of apples!  This pie could turn any Fall day into a day dedicated to apple-picking family fun! 
After getting the apples you will need to cut and skin them fully, no seeds to anything.---If you have a tool that cores and slices the apple, definitely use it, my hands were aching after all the slicing.--- The type of apple doesn't matter but my mother has found Macintosh apples allow for a sweeter pie (I used empire, still yummy!) Now for the apple filling sauce. I could not believe that there were only four ingredients: 1 cup of sugar, 1/3 C of milk, 1/3 of heavy cream (I used fat free half and half) and a teaspoon of cinnamon.  I put a little extra cinnamon which left a different texture.  I allowed the sugar, water and cinnamon to melt before I added the cream.  Once it is melted it is done! We both chose to use store bought crusts. You'll need two.  You place the cut up apples in one of the crusts and then drizzle the sauce on top of it.  Then all you need to do is put the other crust on top. (You can make an X in the middle to make it look authentic.)  Also, use a fork to mush together the outsides of the crusts.  It helps it to hold together and it looks home-made.  When the pie is put together you just throw it in the oven! (Preheated to 400 degrees) I advise putting some tin foil or a pan underneath the pie, all of the juices really cook the apples well and it may overflow into a cinnamon sugar volcano.  Let the pie cook for 45-50 minutes depending on your preference.  You can let it cool and enjoy, but i prefer to eat it right after taking it out of the oven. With a scoop of vanilla ice cream of course!  The recipe is easy but delectable.  For my boyfriend to eat two servings of something I made, it must be good!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Only Cure For Grief is Action.

I have never experienced a true mourning period before in my life. The feeling of not being able to function because of loss and sadness is new to me. I'm trying to take my grandmother's death, accept it and turn it into something positive because it seems as though others in my family cannot. I want to live. I want to learn new things. I want to do all of the things that my grandmother regretted not doing.

I'm making it a point to take care of myself, starting now! I've always been a relatively healthy person but there are times when I find myself turning to food to cope. This isn't the worst thing in the world---but I'm going to change the way I do so. I'm going to start cooking again! My grandmother always enjoyed peeking in the kitchen when she smelled something on the stove. I want to rekindle that feeling. I want to create meals! I think that re-starting a goal that she was alive to witness will help me feel her presence and at the same time help me move on from the thoughts of her death. Rest In Peace Grandma.

A fond memory with Tessie in the kitchen. :)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Life is What Happens When you're Busy Making Other Plans

This title seems appropriate for most goals I set out for myself. I'm going to have to change the concept of my blog seeing as though life has interrupted my plans. Between a new school year and the loss of my grandmother (who was an amazing taste-tester during a majority of my cooking experience) I have slowed down. The days are harder to work with and I myself am a little lazy. I will be back and cooking and learning, just not as consistently.