Monthly Archives: January 2011

She Made Me Do It!

My plan after posting yesterday was to dig into the basement and get some sorting/packing/throwing done.  But I get a text from my sister Ele and where does she want to go…Barnes & Noble !

The culprit…

Look at that innocent face…she’s mean…when she says I have to go…I HAVE TO GO!!

So off we went.  We browsed around for a while…

I WANT one!! :-)

It was actually a rather short visit for us, but enjoyable never the less.

We both had their new flavor of latte, cinnamon dolce…yum…

Very tasty, not too sweet.  I got mine fat-free so I didn’t feel so bad about that “tiny” bit of whipped cream on top!  (I don’t actually like whipped cream much and usually asked for it to be left off.)

I was proud of myself because I only bought 2 magazines…

I’m allowed…I consider them research tools!

I read through both of them while watching the Screen Actors Guild Awards last night. There were some great recipes in them plus lots of informative articles.  I’m enjoying really getting into this whole thing and I’m doing more cooking in the process.  I don’t think my stove has seen this much service in the entire 20 some years that I’ve lived in this house! ;-)  It’s probably helping me to stay on track with Weight Watchers as well.  Besides that…it’s fun!

So today, I actually have to accomplish some things. 

Thank goodness…certain people have to work today!

At least I’m safe for a while!

Rather Lazy Saturday

I got to my Weight Watchers meeting to find out good news…I lost 2 pounds! :-) I did try hard all week and I truly think that the extra exercise at night made a big difference.  I spoke with my friend Kristen and she told me she was going to my sister Ele’s house to learn to make scones…I decided to crash the party!

Kristen had been taking photos of the step by step process.

But then Ele made her dig right in there and actually get her hands dirty, so I took over the camera duties…

Mmmmm….scones with chocolate chips…

Almost there…

Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of the finished product…Kristen had taken over by then but you can check her blog for the full story! Ele had taught me to make the scones during the holidays and I’m going to give them a try soon, so I’ll be sharing the recipe then.

Kristen and I shared one and it was delicious! Good Job, Kristen!  We hung out for a few more hours, then I went home to accomplish something for the day, but that just didn’t happen…the slug has returned.

We had planned to come back to Ele’s house in the evening, Patrick and Carrie our nephew and niece were coming to visit.  Ele had said we’d be ordering pizza and I have not had pizza in SO long, I had been thinking about it for days.  I think it may have been one of the reasons I stayed on track this week…I knew there was pizza in my future! :-)

You know how sometimes you wait and look forward to something and it’s not as good as you expected?  Well, fortunately that did not happen this time.  We ordered from Picasso’s in National Park.  I had never had pizza from there and it was terrific!

They have lots of choices for toppings, but we just got one pepperoni for the meaty folks and a plain one.

I was so excited that I couldn’t wait to take a picture, I had to take a taste first!

I must confess that I ate 3 pieces there and then one more later that Ele had sent home with us.  It was SO good! 

I need to get the day started.  I just got a text from Ele, she wants me to go to Barnes & Noble with her…she’s always annoying me to do that, I don’t know why she’d think I’d want to go there!  ;-) That’s a lame joke between us…if I ask her to go to B&N, she complains….if she asks me, I complain.  It’s fun…well, WE think it’s fun! ;-)

Boy, B&N and the Screen Actors Guild Awards tonight…big day for me.  We’ll see what other fun I can squeeze in!

Soup’s On!

It feels like it took me forever, but I finally got my bean soup made.  I’m happy to say it was worth the wait!

I started with the usual suspects-onion, carrots and celery…

They cooked up for a while and started to look like this…

It cooked for a while longer and looked like this…

I’m not very specific when I’m making soup unless I’m working from a recipe.  This time I pretty much made it up as I went along.  Included in the cast of characters:

Carrots

Celery

Onion

Vegetable broth (1 quart plus 1 14 1/2 oz can-plus water)

Cabbage

Cooked Navy Beans -you remember them!! ;-)

Cumin

Chili Powder

Cayenne Pepper

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I had the opportunity to experiment with the seasonings because I’ll be eating all of this since Ralph is still working on the turkey soup (you remember the turkey soup!!) I probably started with about a teaspoon each of the Chili powder, cayenne and cumin and then added more to taste.  It all depends on how much you like.  I like a lot so I kept adding. :-)

The pot looked like this after all the cooking…

Those beans didn’t want to have their photo taken so I had to get some assistance from the spoon…

It smelled SO good and I had a hard time waiting until supper time to actually eat it.  When I finally did I had a REALLY big bowl and smothered it with the ever popular “stinky feet” cheese, Locatelli Parmesan cheese…

Yummmmm…..

It was soooooo  good, I can’t wait to eat it again tomorrow!

Even if we have another snow storm, I’m set.  Getting this soup made has been a project, but fortunately it was worth the wait…that’s not always true with all of my recipes, but today, I won the prize…I AM the Queen of Beans! ;-)

Get Me Out Of Here!

I haven’t been out of the house in two days and I’m going a little crazy.  I’m going to head out to the grocery store to get my supplies to finally make this bean soup!  :-)After I do that, I think I’ll be in because I hear there may be more snow.  So this will be my one chance for escape.

Yesterday’s lunch was great fun. When I went to Trader Joe’s (2 weeks ago?) I got two packages of baked tofu.  I had never tried it before and it looked good.  I had put it in the butter keeper on the door of my frig and there it has been because I forgot about it! I found it and used it for lunch yesterday. I’ll probably do the same for today! ;-)

Although it doesn’t look it, the tortilla wrap is one of the Ole spinach wraps (yum!!)  I spread it with Dijon mustard, added Romaine lettuce, a few grape tomatoes and the tofu.  It was delicious!

Looked pretty too! 

I have been working hard on finishing all of the produce we got last Saturday at the produce place.  Last night’s dinner looked a lot like my last several dinners because I’ve been using the same basics, Portobello mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, red bell peppers, garlic and olive oil.  I did make a batch of Basmati rice last night.  I haven’t had that in a while and I really enjoyed it. I cooked it in veggie broth with black pepper and Mrs. Dash (my new best friend!) There was a new addition though last night.  When I had gone to TJ’s I also got a package of something called Soycatash.  It’s corn and edamame. (clever name)  I added that to the stir fry and it was delicious!  It was really filling too which is important to me because I have such a problem with night-time snacking.  The only snack I had later was a navel orange.  :-)

I’m so proud of myself because I’m notorious (to myself…) for buying produce and then not using it.  Great for the compost pile, but not very bright…

Out of all this, I only have one head of Romaine, some apples, some oranges, snow peas, 2 bananas and grape tomatoes.  They’re still all in good shape too.  I’m impressed that we finished the bananas because they almost always go bad.  I’m not a big banana fan, but I did my part on this big batch. 

So, now I’m off to the store.  There’s bean soup in my future!  I’m getting jealous of all the turkey soup Ralph is eating.  We can have a challenge tonight…I Love Soup! :-)

This is Getting Tiresome~

I know, I know…it’s PRETTY!

Lovely…

Like a painting…

Magical…

…A Wonderland…

It leaves me wondering if it will ever stop. :-(

The ONLY good thing is that I’m inside my house and not contemplating if I should try to get to work.  :-) They never sounded sincere when I would call in and say I was not coming because of the bad weather.  I don’t think anyone ever appreciated the fact that I drove 25 miles each way to work.  That’s one of the reasons I don’t do it anymore!! ;-)

Now although the sun is shining brightly in the East, the sky to the West looks like another storm on its way.  Alright, enough about the snow! :-)

I can’t really cook what I’d planned (BEAN SOUP!!) because I don’t have what I need and don’t expect to go out in this.  My plan for the day is sorting and packing and making huge quantities of trash to go out the door.  I’m not about to spend another winter here and with New Mexico waiting for me, the harder I work, the sooner I get there.  I need to get some breakfast…could it look like this…

…probably!

As tired as I am of snow, I am NOT tired of the thought of moving to NM and every box I sort or pack and every bag of trash I make, the closer I am to being there.

I’ll keep this in mind…

…and this…

…and this…

We’ll get through the winter and we have this to look forward to.  I have to keep this in mind.  Now I’ve got to dig into that basement!!

Why Does No One Listen…No More Snow!!!

Ok, so I hate to be a complainer…well Ok, I complain a lot!  But I’m pretty much over this whole snow thing!  I have things I need to do today and I don’t feel like doing them in the snow.  Ok, it IS pretty…

It even makes my funky back yard look like a wonderland!

I get it…it’s pretty…enough already!

I realize it seems like I’ve been food shopping a lot lately, but sadly my old brain forgets what I need.  I’ve decided my best bet with the ancient beans is to make soup, however, I need to get carrots, onions and celery to make it.  I went through my supply when I made Ralph’s turkey soup yesterday.  The whole process went well, but I decided I didn’t really need photos of chopped up turkey on a blog focused on vegetarian eating.  I talked enough about it the day I cooked the turkey.  It turns out that chopping up cooked turkey is less disgusting than preparing a raw turkey…ugh…did I just say that? :-( But it’s true and the fact that I saved all of the cooking juices makes a huge difference in the flavor of the soup. (I think! ) I had a momentary corn emergency yesterday morning when I thought I was out of it, but I found another bag lurking in the back of the freezer.  Ralph declared it…Delicious!  Good thing too because there’s a ton of it to be eaten!  He’s got a bad cold so soup is good for him…I realize it’s not chicken soup, but it’s close enough.  As my dear father in law used to say…”Chicken is nothing but a bird.”  Not sure what that meant but it makes me smile to remember it. :-)

Ok, enough bird talk here, let’s get to something wonderful that I love!  At the produce place over the weekend, I got a LOT of apples, because they would be good snacks and I thought I might bake them as a good healthy, low point dessert.  Yesterday I tried something I’d never done before: I cut up an apple and put it in my oatmeal.  I didn’t think I’d be so excited about it so I didn’t take any photos yesterday so I had to recreate the scene of the crime this morning. 

It’s my traditional mix up:

1/2 cup quick oats

1 Tbsp of chia seeds

1 Tbsp of ground flax seeds

1 & 1/4 cups of water (I used to just use 1 cup but I’ve found when using the chia seeds, they like to suck it up, so I now add extra.)

Lots o’ cinnamon

Used my trusty apple corer thingy to cut the apple.  Since this is just the re-creation of the scene, I’m not going to chop it yet because I’m not ready to eat and I don’t want it to get all brown and icky! ;-)

Now we’re back live to yesterday’s actual oatmeal…

Yummy….

I added Splenda and 1/2 cup Almond Breeze (which I continue to LOVE!)

I microwave my oatmeal and I give it 1 minute 3 times.  I do that because I’ve found that my particular microwave will sometimes bubble over if you do it for the full time to start.  The neat thing is that in the microwaving, the apples retained a little of their crunchiness but were also creamy.  Sometimes, my experiments actually turn out well! :-)

It looks like it might have stopped snowing.  I guess I need to get myself up and going if I’m ever going to get what I need for that darned bean soup!  Film at Eleven!

And the Nominees are…

I’m up and waiting for the Oscar nominations to be announced this morning.  It’s one perk of not working at the moment, I get to watch it live! :-)  I always had to hear about it later, but I’m ready today!!

I used my marinated ancient beans yesterday for lunch.  Basically leftover salad with the beans and some added balsamic because as I thought, the warm beans absorbed all of the balsamic I originally added.

I was actually proud of myself for making a good food decision. I hadn’t eaten breakfast because of doing things around the house-not a good decision.  :-(

I was on my way to go grocery shopping and I decided it would be good to eat lunch BEFORE shopping so that I wasn’t starved after.  I’ve never been a person that goes crazy at the store because I haven’t eaten, it just made sense to do it then.  It’s a good thing I did.  I had picked up some things for my friend Gail, whose Mom just got out of the hospital.  When I got to Gail’s house I didn’t leave!  I was there for almost 2 hours!  If I’d waited to eat, I would have been eating her couch ( like that lady on My Strange Addiction…what?…I don’t WATCH it, I just saw the commercials, ahem…ahem…no really…

We actually had a good time, we all sat around and watched Oprah’s big family secret reveal…I don’t usually do THAT either.  Oh, well, new year, new habits.

Speaking of strange addictions, at the grocery store I picked up these little devils…

I’ve been seeing pumpkin seeds on several of the blogs I read and thought I’d give them a try.  My intention to use them on salads and I’ve seen some people use them in their oatmeal.  Fire roasted sounded tasty.  They’re salted which I wasn’t looking for, but sadly they are TOO tasty!  I’m really going to have to control myself with them.  I just went into to the kitchen to take the photo and I was ready to dip my fingers into the pot…yikes!  I’ll have to be diligent and just use them on my salads.

For dinner I used some of my goodies from my trip to the produce place on Saturday…

…red bell pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, snow peas and Portobello mushrooms, ground black pepper and Mrs. Dash…yum!

Sautéed up with olive oil, garlic and some vegetable broth…

I’ve never cooked with Portobello mushrooms before, but they taste so GOOD!  

It’s almost time for the nominations to come on.  I’ve got my coffee and I’ll be marching in place as I watch to add some steps to my day.  I need to get some breakfast and then…I get to make turkey soup! 

Well, the nominations have been announced, I didn’t get one…I wait every year and nothing happens. :-( But maybe I’ll get a nomination for Best Turkey Soup by a Vegetarian…hmmm…sounds like one I could win! ;-)

Some Girls Get Diamonds…I Get Beans…

As I mentioned yesterday, the beans went into the crock pot at 7:30am on low.   That’s according to the instructions on the bag (which is still sitting next to my laptop!!) They should cook for 10 hours.  We were going to Ele’s for dinner at 2pm.  I made my salad, very large and I retrieved the leftovers for lunches this week-YAY! So I’m set. 

Here’s some of the preparation for the salad…

Shredded carrots…

Red Bell peppers..

Unfortunately my brain got away from me and I never took a photo of the finished product…ah well,, this IS a learning process…

Being a very conscientious bean cooker, I set the alarm on my cell phone to go off at 5:30-10 hours.  Fortunately, my sister only lives around the block, so I thought it wouldn’t be a problem if I just left the festivities for a few minutes, drove around the block (so sorry…WAY to cold to walk) :-(  and checked on my beans. 

I fished out a volunteer, popped it in my mouth and found as hard a bean as you’ll ever meet.  I decided to up the crock pot to high and went back to the fun.

We got home about 7pm, I checked the beans and there was definitely more activity in there.  I did a few things around the house and about 8:30, I could really smell the cooking goodness.  I checked my beauties.  They were soft and creamy!!

There were SO many, I was worried I didn’t have a container large enough.  I found one and got them all settled in…not without injury…to me not the beans.

Not sure if you can see it in the photo, but when I was pouring the beans into the strainer, some of the very hot bean water poured over my hand.  I was wearing insulated gloves that Ralph had gotten me so I don’t burn myself…well it was a lovely thought, but I am also the Queen of Klutz and so it goes. :-(

I have a blister on it this morning, but that just adds to the other battle scars on my hands from other kitchen adventures and the time I closed the car door on my hand in Driver’s Ed class in high school.  Actually, I just checked, the burn almost erased that scar…Yay! My hands have character!

I decided to get right to the project of coming up with things to do with my lovely batch o’ beans.

Many times I will marinate beans overnight and then use them as my protein on a salad…I have salad! (see paragraph 1)

They’re marinating right now in balsamic vinegar, dried basil and ground black pepper.  I’ve never done this with warm beans before so I’m thinking I’ll need to add more balsamic when it’s time to eat because what I used last night has probably been absorbed.  But that’s ok, there are no points in balsamic vinegar.  One of the reasons I love it! 

I forgot to mention that when I tested the beans (I did remember to blow on them to cool them off!)  They tasted great!  Now I just need to figure out what to do with them!  Gee…wonder if Ralph would like some beans in his turkey soup…hmmm..

So that’s the saga of the ancient beans…coming next week to a theatre near you…The Secret of the Ancient Lentils…I’d go to see it! ;-)

Sunday Morning Wake Up

It’s so nice to wake up to a beautiful sky…

I braved the cold to take this photo~

~and this one…

~and this one…

Almost, but not quite as nice as the New Mexico sunrises. Beautiful, but it’s DARNED cold out there again.  Comcast tells me it’s 19 degrees which is up from yesterday’s 16. (We’re having a heat wave…)  I had planned to go grocery shopping, but I just don’t feel like going out in it just yet.

In the continuing saga of the ancient beans…they’re in the crock pot

and waiting for the magic to happen.  I should probably spend my day scouring cookbooks to find navy bean recipes…this is going to be a LOT of beans.  The pot is fuller than it was with a whole bag of black beans…not sure if I’ll be able to finish these babies in a week.  It’s going to take dedication!

I have to get going on making a salad from all of that wonderful produce I got yesterday…

We’re going to dinner at Ele’s today, our good friends Ginny, John and Stephanie are coming and as usual, the vegetarian gets to bring the salad!  I actually love getting asked to bring a salad, especially to Ele’s house…she always sends me home with the leftovers so I end up with pre-made salad for the week.  That’s good, it’ll give me someplace to put all of those beans!! ;-)

Two Questions…

First…why didn’t anyone ever tell me about that teeny tiny little yellow thing on the side of the memory card for my camera?  The little one that if it’s pushed in the wrong direction will NOT allow me to take a photo!  How stupid did I feel at lunch when I was going to take a photo of my salad and nothing happened. :-(  I get enough weird looks from Ralph when I try to take photos and then it won’t work.  He was very calm…all he said was, “why don’t you put your camera away and eat your salad?”  So sadly I did that.  I had a tasty plate of Caesar salad, with very little dressing, Perfect! and marinated garbanzo beans and calamata olives.  Yum.  Also had what is called a Monte Carlo wrap.  It’s a grilled veggie wrap with cheddar cheese.  Sadly, you’ll never know what it looks like (unless we go back to the same diner…by the way, it was the Brooklawn Diner…where…in Brooklawn, NJ.)

So in answer to my own question, if you just move the teeny tiny plastic thingy from “lock” to “unlock” the camera works just fine!

After lunch we went to a local year round produce store.  Since I’m trying to be thrifty, I thought a stop there would be a good idea.  I know their prices are better than my grocery store.  I came home with this wonderful haul…

Romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes, navel oranges, red peppers, snow peas, red delicious  and Fuji apples and slice Portobello mushrooms.  The tomatoes were 2 boxes for $1.50.  At the grocery store they were 2 for $5.00!!  I think it’s worth driving in the opposite direction to go to the produce stand!

Second question…is there a statute of limitations on beans?  Don’t laugh…this is a serious question.  I realized that I had a plastic container of navy beans that has been in my pantry closet for…let’s just say several years at least.  I really can’t tell you how old they are.  They looked ok, they smelled ok.  They are now soaking in a pot on my stove…

Notice the opposite color theme from last week.  Last week, black beans in white pot…scrubbing required.  This week, white beans in black pot…I think I’ve saved myself some work.  There is a crock pot in their future tomorrow.  I’m becoming completely obsessed with this, but in a good way. 

Funny thing is, when I took the navy beans out of the pantry closet, behind them was an identical plastic container with lentils in it!  They’re the same age as the navy beans.  I remember when I got them.  They’re old too.  Holy cow…what’ll I do with them?!?  Some kind of soup or salad, I’m sure.

I’ll just look at this as a wonderful step in the direction of clearing things out in preparation for our move.  Gee, I just had a thought…looking around the room…at all of the boxes of stuff both packed and awaiting packing…maybe I could just eat it?! ;-)