Friday, March 26, 2010

New Things

I love getting new things. There is something so refreshing about the look of something unfamiliar, and sometimes my daily routine needs a shot of color:
Crate & Barrel appetizer spoons

I like to use these little guys to eat my breakfast, because it helps me take smaller bites. Sometimes I bring them to class to eat lunch, but I always get an, "Are you eating with a baby spoon?" response from people. Combined with my tupperbear containers, makes me wonder about it myself.

My friend Sarah got me two of these mugs for my birthday from Anthropologie. (We both love that store so much, the only difference is that she can afford to shop there). I don't know if you can tell, but the mugs are a little off-kilter and look handmade with a lot of imperfections.  She also told me how to get the best foam for my lattes: the secret is getting the milk really, really hot. Then, I take my $1.99 Ikea Milk Frother and whip it up, moving from having the frother completely immersed in the milk and slowly moving it up to incorporate more air. Then I hold back the foam as I pour the milk in with a spoon, and dollop the foam on top. They taste amazing and I am getting the hang of my new french press. I just need to figure out how get fewer than 5 dishes dirty while making my coffee.

Before & After:
Our old table & chairs
Brighter table, new curtains, decorative cat
                 The pantry area before...                                                          and after

The stove & sink

Okay, I mostly just cleaned junk off the counter

Not bad for almost no investment besides turquoise paint. We sold our table on CraigsList and were able to buy the new table and new pantry with the money. I made the curtains with some Amy Butler fabric that I already had. I want to find some retro prints to replace the photos in the frames, so I am just keeping an eye out for now.
Best NEW thing in my life award goes to:
So what is it? Its ice cream. Well, its almost better than ice cream, actually. Its frozen bananas, blended into an ice creamish frenzy ,and topped with coconut, shaved dark chocolate and a few peanuts. This stuff is good on its own, too. I found the tutorial on In the Kitchen, so you can read the tutorial there. (Best part is, a really big banana is only 2 points).
Wheat Berries (thank you Whole Foods bulk section)

So, I bought a bag of uncooked wheatberries (labeled 'red hard winter wheat'), covered with water in a pot, and brought to a boil. Then I let them simmer for about 30 minutes and drained the extra water. You can cook them longer if you want them soft, but I like mine on the chewy side. I added them to my oatmeal this morning and plan on throwing them in my salad for lunch. They would make a great side at dinner, too. This huge pot probably only cost me $1 and will keep for 7-10 days in the fridge. (1/4 c.=1 point, like most grains). They really do add a great chewy feeling similar to dried fruit,  and I eat way too much dried fruit, so I am very happy to find a substitute. Gotta satisfy my sensory needs.

Other goodies that I got at Whole Foods are these 2 little artichokes that I plan to make into a recipe I found in Body & Soul magazine. Baked Artichokes with Breadcrumbs. I'll let you know how it turns out. This is my second favorite magazine, and I think I might just have to get a subscription.

And finally, I got these orange lentils (not sure what their real name is) to make into something from this article in CE. I'm always hearing about how lentils are crazy good for you like olive oil, salmon, ground flaxseeds, etc. They are so cheap, easy, and tasty, too, but I just always forget about them. 

Finally, I really recommend seeing the movie Food, Inc. I have to warn you that I haven't eaten much meat since I have watched it, but its not a vegetarian manifesto. I just want to make sure I know the animals were treated as well as Betty and Mr. Big Stuff. Eating organic/cage-free/hormone-free/ethically raised food is so expensive, but my plan is to eat more inexpensive foods like lentils, beans, bulk grains, eggs, and save the meat for once in a while. That way, I'm not actually spending more money, and I'm sure I'll be much healthier because of it.

Pad Thai

Tofu Pad Thai 

What you need: 
  • 8 oz brown rice noodles
  • 4 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1/9 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 egg white, whisked
  • 2 c. green cabbage, chopped
  • 1 c. bean sprouts
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 block of firm tofu, cubed
  • 1/4 c. cilantro (I always add more, I love cilantro)
  • 2 Tbsp peanuts, crushed
What you do:
  • Cook brown rice noodles according to package, set aside
  • Whisk together tomato paste, vinegar, honey, fish sauce, lime juice and cayenne, set aside
  • Heat large pan over med-high heat for a minute and mist with cooking spray. Cook egg white, remove from heat and chop up into small pieces.
  • Mist pan again, saute cabbage, bean sprouts, onions, and carrot over med-high heat for 2 mins.
  • Add tofu and cook for another 2 mins. Add cooked egg white, cilantro, sauteing for another 2 mins. Then stir in tomato paste mixture. Add cooked noodles. Stir & top with cilantro, and peanuts for garnish.
I like my tofu really firm, so put it in a saucepan and bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 20 mins or so (While the noodles and vegetables are cooking). Also, if you have rice wine vinegar, you can use that instead of the apple cider to be more authentic. You can add more carrots or really any other Asian-stir-fry-type veggies to this recipe to more veggie-centric.

Per 1 cup serving: 

  • Cal: 220
  • Fat: 4g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 11 g

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

March Eats & Other Events

So, March has been full of good food & lots of work. I tried out a new place for my birthday--well, it was the reincarnation of a restaurant, now called 'American Craft' in Brookline. The beer was good, but the food was just so-so.

After dinner, Tyler and I took a little trip to JP Licks. The hard yogurt at this place really is what I will miss most about Boston.

I got a medium with three flavors: peanut butter, oatmeal cookie, and Oreo. Mmmm...satisfying. So delishus!!

Okay, so some of the great things I've had over the past few weeks are:

Enchanted Broccoli Forrest

This recipe is adapted from Molly Katzen's cookbook, 'Enchanted Broccoli Forrest'. Its a vegetarian cookbook and I highly recommend it. The recipes are full of vegetables, healthy, and can easily be modified to be lighter. When I'm craving meat, I just add some. This is basically a casserole of rice, mushrooms, onion, and any other veggies. Then the broccoli is put on top to create the 'forrest'.
For breakfast, I've been eating a lot of Green Monsters lately:
-3/4 c. milk
-1 small frozen banana
-2 big handfuls of spinach
-1 scoop chocolate protein powder
Topped with 1/2 c. Fiber One and eaten with a spoon.
So good--I'm officially hooked.

This is Tofu Pad Thai that I made a few nights ago. Its from Clean Eating Mag and I make it a few times a month at least. Its made with chewy brown rice noodles, tofu, cabbage, carrots, cilantro, peanuts and home-made pad thai sauce. I think next time I'm going to add more vegetables to make it more filling, but Tyler always scarfs this down.

This is a Honey Almond Loaf that I made last week. Its made with quinoa flour and almond meal. Its ultra dense, so I ended up eating it too slow and it went bad before I thought to freeze it. I toasted it and topped it with just a little honey and it was so good. I got a breadmaker for my birthday, so I think I'll be making more bread in the future.

This kitchen scale is another gift that I got for my birthday (from myself). It was only $25 on Amazon and can weigh in oz, g, kg, or lb. It has a tare function so I can add things to a bowl or plate, too. I don't weigh all of my food by any means, but its a good tool to have for baking and when you want to very very precise.

Speaking of my kitchen, these are the before pictures. I've been working on making it a little nicer and brighter, and I'll have some 'after' pics up soon.

I thought I would put a little tutorial up about how to make the valentines that I sent out. The full instructions are here. First, I had a picture taken of me standing against  a blank wall. I printed a bunch out and inserted a Dum Dum in my hand, and added a very personal message: Happy Valentine's Day.

Hope this gave you some good ideas and something to look at. I leave you with this image of Zen: