Ice cream the size of my face and other musings…

Today, I ate an ice cream the size of my FACE. No. Really. It was. Don’t believe me?

you’re welcome.

Yep, now you do.

In all fairness, I did share with Vaccuum Vati. Thank heavens. It was enormous.

And then I took a nap. Seriously. I have never in all my life gone into that serious of a food coma… but I actually napped when I got home! With my kitty, love love love! And then… I did kitty yoga and went to the gym. A lovely day all around, I must say.

You see, I’ve been going to Fenton’s ever since I was a child, with my gram. So it brings back all kinds of nice memories, besides giving me the ability to stuff ┬ámy face with deliciousness. As a kid, I used to search the menu for the least painful, smallest lunch option possible, so I could go speedily onto dessert… and I realized today that I apparently still do that. Ice cream is infinitely superior to lunch. Duh. Everyone knows that.

phew. Healthy eye-relief.

Anyway. Getting back to the point of this blog, which is, after all, recipezzz… I made chickpea cakes! I’ve made them before and they’re fab… but was too lazy at the time to blog about them. Sooo you get them now! Do a happy dance, they’re amazing. They sort of taste like hummus in cake form. Winner winner, hummus dinner…

mmm, chickpeas!

Chickpea Cakes with Yogurt Drizzle

The recipe is ever so slightly adapted from Naturally Ella, here. These are delicious. Hummusyyy and with a nice texture. The yogurt drizzle gives them just the right amount of sauciness… and they’re particularly good with cucumber. I doubled the recipe to serve 3.

yum.

Chickpea Cakes

  • 2 c cooked chickpeas (I used canned)
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • sprinkle of garlic powder (I was out of for reals garlic, if you have it, use about one clove)
  • 2 tbsp Braggs Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce, whatever you prefer)
  • 1/2 c parmesan
  • 4 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 eggs
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • glug of olive oil

Yogurt Sauce

  • a few spoonfuls of plain yogurt of choice (mine was lowfat, not greek)
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • salt, pepper to taste
perfect antidote to ridiculous amounts of ice cream.

Muscle your food processor out of it’s hiding place/lair in the cupboard. Set up the whole shebang. Toss in chickpeas, tahini, Braggs, garlic powder (or normal garlic), and parmesan, and pulse until the mixture comes together and is a bit crumbly. Add in flour and eggs, and salt and pepper, and pulse to combine. Add a teeny bit more flour if it seems a little too thin—it should be like sticky batter consistency.

Heat olive oil in a nonstickish pan over medium heat. Once pan is hot, drop large spoonfuls of the batter into the pan. Let cook until you can easily flip them and the bottoms are done, then flip and cook until both sides are nicely browned, about 5ish minutes.

To make yogurt sauce, vigorously stir all ingredients together in a small bowl. Seriously. It’s that easy.

Stack prettily… drizzle… eat… repeat.

drizzle!!

Two for the price of one: Squashlets AND cookies!

coooookies!

There is an influx of baby squashlets in the garden! And not just zucchini, ohhh no.

So somehow we ended up growing acorn squash in our back garden…. which is odd considering we never planted anything of the sort. I’m guessing some little entrepreneurial seed got excited when we put it out in the compost and decided to become …a plant? Which is awesome, considering I just ate squash for dinner last night and lunch five seconds ago. TWO kinds of squash: acorn aaand zucchini, yesss. And if you’ve been following me for awhile (or at least since last fall), you’ll know that I am madly, head over heels in love with squash. You name it, I’ll eat it. Fact. I am still the Queen of Orange!

Which means that I got creative last night and invented another stuffed squash recipe (and actually did the same for lunch today, such an inspired idea). Both variations are easily adaptable to whatever you have, and are delicious.

squash-lunchlet

Anyway. So besides the squashy excitement, I also made cookies! Um. Why do you look so surprised?!

more adorable mushroom pottery

Because I love graham crackers. And vegan things. And cookies. And as I was searching for recipes, up popped one for vegan graham cracker cookies!! Whaaaat. This is what went through my brain: “cookies!! cookies cookies cookies hmm we haven’t had any cookies around here for the last day or so, clearly time to make more… these have graham crackers and cinnamon oooh”, at which point I was already preheating the oven and squashing the graham crackers into a pulp. Or rather crumbs, I suppose. Anyway. These cookies are fantastic: chewy (although be sure to store them in plastic if you want them to stay that way, not glass), graham-y, and full of cinnamon.

textural appreciation

 

And this way my dad and I don’t have to fight each other for the last few graham crackers, as SOMEONE likes to eat an entire sleeve with milk and call it lunch. Harumph. Vaccuum Vati strikes again. I, on the other hand, like to spread mine with peanut butter (oh really?! Surprise surprise) or mash it into ice cream. This way we can share the crackers aaand the cookies, like normal people. A perfect compromise, if you ask me.

balancing acts are fun with cookies

Vegan Graham Cracker Cookies

Very slightly adapted from Quiche-A-Week, here! This recipe is fab. Just do yourself a favor and make it, nowwww. I got about 20 cookies.

  • 9 sheets of graham crackers (I use Erewhorn Organics), divided
  • 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • scant 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • scant 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 c organic peanut butter (mine was creamy this time)
  • 1/3 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tbsp water
  • chocolate chippies, optional

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In ┬ásmall bowl, combine flaxseed and water and let sit. In a plastic baggie, mash 7 graham crackers into a fine powder (or use a food processor, but seriously–smashing them with a rolling pin is wwaaaay more fun). In a largeish bowl, sift together graham cracker crumbs, flour, salt, baking powder and soda, and cinnamon. Set aside. In a smaller bowl, cream together peanut butter and sugars. I opted to skip the electric mixer and get a bicep workout, but that part’s up to you. Add in flax ‘egg’ and mix. Toss in applesauce and vanilla. Mix again. Toss wet into dry, and mix again, until just incorporated. Break up the last two graham cracker sheets into smallish pieces, and stir into the batter. Add chocolate chippies if you want—I added them to about half the batch, by sticking them into the tops of the cookies.

While the oven is heating, stick the cookie sheet into the freezer—the dough is sticky, so this makes it easier to deal with. Drop cookies onto the cookie sheet by spoonful, flattening slightly. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until slightly firm to the touch. Cool for a few on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack.

Eat with a milk-type bev and pretend you’re a child. Works like a charm, every time.

mmm

Southwestern-ish Stuffed Acorn Squash

Recipe by… me! Serves 4. This makes enough filling for 3 squashes (squashi?), so I used the leftover half for lunch today, and stuffed it with zucchini, corn, and egg, topped with a teeny bit of parmesan. Also delicious, do what suits you!

lunch, when it ended up being almost better than dinner!
  • 2 acorn squashlets
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 zucchinis, ideally warm from the sun in your garden
  • a handful or two of frozen corn, defrosted
  • a bit of fresh spinach (this is terribly specific, I know…)
  • cinnamon and curry powder, to taste
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 c shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 1/3 c grated sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 425.

Wrestle the squashes to the ground and somehow attempt to cut them in half. I always seem to struggle with this… Once the squashlets are halved, brush the cut side with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place cut side down onto a cookie sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until the squash is fork-tender.

In a saute pan, heat a bit of olive oil and pepper. When hot, add zucchini and saute until tender. Add in black beans, corn, and spinach, and continue to saute. Toss in desired amount of cinnamon and curry powder, and stir to combine. When veggies are done, stir in monterey jack cheese before turning off the heat. Spoon the filling into the cut halves of the squash, and top with cheddar cheese. Eat whilst hot :)

Like I said above, this recipe is infinitely adaptable. Use whatever you have on hand—beans, eggs, any veggies, whatever cheese. Decidedly satisfying in any form!

this was dinner, hurriedly photographed when I decided it actually looked tasty

The ginormous dinner rut, and what to do about it.

easy pizza!

Okay, so I’m on a roll. Now that I’m not thesising, I have to come up with SOME way to entertain myself, right?! Heaven forbid I should be bored between now and graduation. Psssh..

Anyyywayyy. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve been in a dinner rut the size of the Grand Canyon. BUT. I’m slowly starting to scale the walls towards more variety! Huzzah! I mean, I do love my steamed veggie-protein-grain combo, but hey, let’s face it… that gets just a wee bit old after awhile. At least, I like to eat this combo in a variety of forms, say like a quinoa bowl, savory oats, or a quesadilla. All delicious, to be sure. But I was… bored. And still (until yesterday) thesising. Which meant that dinner kind of got the short end of the stick. I did, however, stumble upon a fast and tasty quesadilla alternative in my quest for variety… tortilla pizza! Genius idea, you’ll see. It’s like… insta pizza. Especially if you like the super thin crust variety.

That being said, today’s post isn’t really a recipe, per se, but is rather more of a suggestion. This recipe is great since it’s infinitely adaptable… all you really need is protein of some form, veggies, and whatever else you want… cheese is nice, of course. I plan to keep experimenting with topping variations, since this has become my new favorite quickie dinner!

/

Tortilla Pizza!

Dreamed up by my hungry thesis-brain. Serves one!

  • Tortilla of choice
  • veggie variety
  • protein? If you want it… chicken is good, and so is sausage.
  • grated cheese of some form, however much depending on personal preference.
up close and personal

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly de-stickify a cookie sheet (I used a light smear of coconut oil). Place your tortilla of choice on the prepped cookie sheet, and bake for 10 minutes. While the oven is heating/tortilla is baking, prep your toppings. For mine, I tend to steam a variety of veggies: usually mushrooms, bell peppers, and spinach, and use some form of animal protein, either chicken or chicken sausage. Cheese is up to you—I’ve used both cheddar and toscano, and both have been delicious.Top the pre-baked tortilla with toppings of choice, and bake for another 2 minutes, ish, until the cheese is melty and delicious. Slice and eat immediately while it’s gooey and warm. Mmmm.

The pizza in the photos was a combo of steamed veggies, Trader Joe’s chicken-apple sausage, and Syrah-soaked Toscano cheese. It was unbelievably delicious, which is what prompted me to share this. Before eating, I tossed on some cucumber for extra crunch.

Another fabby combo was steamed mushrooms, bell peppers, and spinach, Tillamook sharp cheddar, and chicken tossed with cinnamon and curry powder. That one was uglier though, so it didn’t get to star in the pictures… I fully intend on making a black bean version of this at some point in the very near future.

Yum yum yum :) Easy and delicious. And quick. Added bonus!

//

Boatloads of rain? Make mountains of curry!

mountains of curry in exchange for boatloads of rain!

The best way to combat boatloads of rain?

Make boatloads of curry!

Since Salem and the Willamette Valley are in the process of attempting to become the new Atlantis and submerge completely under water, we’ve had (by some estimates) about 6 inches of rain in the last 57 hours. Apparently the weather gods have gone completely nuts… there are creeks flooding all over the place, and according to the Statesman Journal, this is a once every hundred year occurrence, where the Willamette River rises about 30 feet. Excellent. At least I live on the second floor… Perhaps I should start constructing an ark? I’ve rather resigned myself to being damp for the foreseeable future. Forget about wet feet, I’ve been damp all over for about 4 days! Yeeesh.

Anyway, because I didn’t work today (the kiddies at Bush Elementary, where I work, got sent home due to extreme weather) I ended up with a strange amount of free time. And a headache. Which meant that I wanted nothing to do with my thesis. Consequently… baking/cooking explosion! Why would I spend the afternoon doing anything else when it’s beyond nasty outside? Right. That’s what I thought too.

Which means that mega dinner happened. Because boatloads of rain calls for boatloads of curry! And because curry is spicy, sweet, and warming all at the same time: a good thing to consume when it’s semi-monsooning outside. And then flatbreads. And cookies. I wasn’t just going to make curry, with no accoutrements, now was I?! How boring. I am now feeling quite productive and refreshed. And full. (I would perhaps like to digest just a wee bit faster… I want cookies!)

So. Without further babble, here is tonight’s din din! Deeeelicious. Go make yourself some. I would invite you over to eat some of mine (since Kira and I will now be eating curry for the next million years, hahah oops. I made a lot!), except you might have to locate a boat to come see me… maybe paddle upriver like a salmon?

curry isn't curry without a HUGE BLOB of chutney

Mega-ton of Chicken Coconut Curry, with Oregano-Yogurt Flatbread

Curry adapted from the blog Including Cake, here! Flatbread recipe adapted from here! This makes… a lot of curry. Which is a good thing! Helloooo, leftovers! And look how good it is for you! Lots of beta carotene from the sweet potatoes and orange pepper, and garbanzo beans are high in fiber, antioxidants, and minerals like molybdenum and manganese. Plus coconut is good for you on all levels :)

For the curry:

  • 1 large, 1 small (or 2 medium) sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 a large onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp Madras curry powder (only the best!)
  • 1 orange bell pepper, sliced (or whatever color you have)
  • 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 can of light coconut milk
  • cornstarch mixed with water, if needed to thicken
  • cooked chicken (if you want. I added a broiled chicken breast to mine for extra protein)
  • I would have added spinach, if I’d had any! Next time :)

Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Add onion, cooking for a few minutes until soft. Add curry powder, stirring to combine. Cook for a minute more. Toss in sweet potato chunks, bell pepper, chickpeas, and coconut milk! Simmer for about 15 minutes. At this point, add cornstarch if not thick enough for your taste. I tossed in my chicken pieces and let it simmer for about 5 more minutes. Serve hot, over flat bread, naan, or rice. And be sure to top it generously with shredded coconut (if you like that sort of thing), and mango chutney. I like me some spicyyyy curry!

Oregano Yogurt Flatbreads

I made half the recipe, which yielded 4 cute little breads. I would definitely make the whole recipe if not cooking this for just two people, so I’ll include the full measures here. I also used oregano tonight, but any spice is fine! It appealed to my olfactory sensibilities tonight :) AND it went well with the curry, bonus!

  • 1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2.5 tsp herbs of choice (I used oregano)
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 c yogurt (I used nonfat plain, not greek, as it was what I had on hand)
  • a bit of canola oil, for cooking

Whisk together flour, herb of choice, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Add in yogurt, and stir to combine. The dough will be shaggy-ish, so add a little yogurt if it looks to dry. Mine seemed fine with the amount given, but I might make it again, and see what happens with a bit more. I found my breads to have a nice consistency as is.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it holds together and is not sticky. Divide it into the number of breads you want, and roll it into balls. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick.

Swirl a bit of canola oil in the bottom of a nonstick skillet. When the oil is hot, plop the flattened dough into the pan, and cook until golden brown on each side. Serve hot, preferably with a mountain of curry!

Best dinner for a rainy day/week!