Monday, February 28, 2011

Red Pepper Cream Pasta with Baked Sweet Potatoes

Tonights dinner was just okay.  A little underwhelming.  I think I may have hyped it up too much and now I'm disappointed.  You can find the recipe here.  I pretty much followed it to the T.  The only sub I made was using jarred roasted red peppers instead of fresh.  That cut down on a lot of time and work.  Which I'm glad I did since I wasn't that impressed.  I think I made a few mistakes with this one.  I ran out of my bow tie noodles so I used the rest of my vermicelli noodles.  Not a good choice of noodles when you need it to pick up the sauce.  I also think I might not have cooked enough noodles.  There was not only too much sauce but it was also too rich for me, I barely finished a 1/4 of my bowl and had enough.  It wasn't that it tasted bad just missing something that I couldn't put my finger on.  For seasoning I used salt/pepper, red pepper flakes and a little paprika. 

The sweet potatoes were great.  I wish I cubed them a little bigger and didn't bake as long because they were a little too soft and I was looking for something a litte tougher but they were still good.  I chopped them up, sprinkled cinnamon, sugar and chili powder drizzled with olive oil and baked in the oven.  I had this with a side of good bread.  So all in all the bread was good, potatoes were great, won't make it again. 

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Veggie Chow Mein and Fresh Squeezed Orange Lemonade

Old pictures of Bella being a princess
 I hope my mom is wrong when she told me bad things happen in 3's but it seems to me that my life is heading that direction.  Bella has always been a princess in my book but now I think it's true...shes a REAL princess.  Other dogs get into bark, even but not Bella.  She gets into bedazzled jewels.  Last night we got home around midnight.  We left bella in the bedroom for a second and when I came back in she was looking at me with some sort of jewel stuck to the cornea of her eye.  You couldn't miss it.  I think she just really wanted to be fancy.  After the whole ordeal I figured out where the jewel came from.  An old shirt of mine I got in New Orleans has the word NOLA covered with these jewels.  I had put the shirt on my bed that morning for just a minute and back to the closet it went.  One of those jewels must have fallen off and found it's way to Bella's eye.  Of all places...Bella's eye. 

Too bad I didn't get a picture of the jewel.  Here's just a picture of Bella being cute!
  Luckily UC Davis Vet Clinic is open 24 hours for emergencies.  We got over there within 30 minutes of it happening and they were able to get the jewel off of her eye.  Luckily it didn't have prongs or anything that punctured her eye.  It was just on the surface.  She now has an ulcer where the jewel was but it should heal fine with some drops they gave us.  Crisis averted!! 

On happier news I went shopping with my mom and sister yesterday and got a WOK!!  I've been wanting one and it was super cheap at Ikea.  Only $5!  I also got two jars for my homemade dressing and some cute dishes!  I love dandelions!   I know I said I was going to stay away from the kitchen until the house was back to normal but I just couldn't help myself.  Not only did I get a wok but I got a whole bag of lemons from my friend Ashley who has a tree in her backyard.

 I figured a simple stir fry or "chow mein" and some fresh squeezed lemonade would be simple enough.  I found the chow mein recipe here.  I made a few adjustments so see below for my version:

2 T olive oil
2 teaspoons of hot chili sesame oil
1 small onion chopped
1 celery stalk sliced
handful of baby carrots sliced
2 cloves of garlic chopped
2-3 cups of frozen stir fry veggies (mine was a mixture of broccoli, water chestnuts, baby corn, snap peas, mushrooms, carrots, red peppers)
5 ounces of veggie broth
3 T soy sauce
3 T Apple cider vinegar
1 T agave nectar
1 T cornstarch mixed with just a little bit of water
Cooked vermicelli noodles (I didn't really measure just took a few handfuls and cooked them)

1.  Heat both oils in the wok over medium heat
2.  Add the oninos, carrots and celery stir fry for a minute or so
3.  Add in the frozen stir fry medley
4.  Stir fry until heated through add the garlic and stir fry another minute
5.  Add the broth, soy sauce, vinegar, agave and cornstarch.  Cook until the liquid starts to boil and thicken
6.  Add in the cooked noodles and mix well until all is incorporated and heated through (I started cooking the noodles around step 1-2)

I LOVE lemonade.  It's one of my all time favorite drinks.  So when one has an abundance of lemons...well duh I'm going to make lemonade! 

I have an old juicer my mom found at a garage sale awhile ago.  Perfect excuse to put it to use.  I also had some oranges we got at the farmers market last weekend so I figured we'd spice up normal lemonade with some added orange juice. 

Juice from 4 lemons
Juice from 3 oranges
4 Cups of water
3/4 Cup of agave nectar

Mix all together in a pitcher, chill in the fridge and serve with ice cubes.  Perfection!!

After everything the past week this meal made it all seem to go away.  =)  An hour in the kitchen does that to me.  The recipe I've been wanting to make since the farmers market last weekend is back on schedule.  Can't wait!  Creamy red pepper pasta with baked yams.  I got a tasty loaf of bread and bottle of moscato to go with it!  Stay tuned!! 

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My kitchen is missing me

No meals to post.  I've been out of the kitchen and eating out the past few nights (Thanks Steph for the Chipotle coupon!!).  I'm sure I could manage to cook something in my pathetic of a house but I just can't find the energy.  We now have 4 machines in the house to dry everything and they are so loud that I can't stand being in the room for more than an hour at a time.  I don't know if it's the noise or the recycled air being blown around, or both, but it makes me feel like i'm in an airplane.  I don't do well in airplanes, they always make me sick so needless to say it's not ideal for cooking.  Plus I need to get some groceries and I just don't think it's worth it if I can't put all my effort into the food.  Plus I don't want the food to go bad before I get a chance to cook it.  I'll just have a reunion once the apartment is back to normal and cook the most awesome meal EVER!!  Well that's what I'm telling myself at least.  I honestly hate eating out so much (who would have thought I would ever say that!).  It's not that I mind eating out, I enjoy the occasional treat from the local restaurant, but every night is lame.  I prefer my own home cooked meals.  I prefer spending my money that way.  At least I live in Davis with plenty of vegan options while eating out. 

It looks like we are being pushed back to put in new carpet.  The space between my floor and the ceiling with dry wall from down stairs isn't drying like it should.  They took down the false ceiling and insulation but are trying to salvage the piece of drywall so they don't have to take that down and replace it.  They came by today with more machines and techniques to get it to dry.  Cross your fingers.  In the meantime replacing the flooring and getting everything back to normal is put on hold.  It's just crazy that water...something we all can't live without....can do SOO much damage.  Such a shame.  =/  On a postitive note we got a new toilet!  Woot!  =)  The water doesn't run anymore which helps me sleep at night. 

Since I don't have any photos to look at I figured I'd post a video my boss put together the night of the incident.  I look absolutely horrified in the video...rightfully so.  They have a big sense of humor so this should make you laugh.  Just to clear my name it wasn't actually "poopie water" and the smell was just from the moisture soaking into the carpet/wood.  They just wanted to play it up and make fun.  Enjoy.  =)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The meal after the "incident" -- Fried Cabbage

You can really learn a lot about someone based on how they react to a crisis.  In general I freak OUT!  Instead of using the adrenaline to my advantage I let it do the opposite.  I usually can't even figure out basic things to do.  Typically standing in one place yelling.."RICH....OMG....what do we do?" sums up my reaction.  My husband on the other hand is the complete opposite.  He stays calm, evaluates the situation, figures out what the first move needs to be, then acts.  That is why we are so perfect for each other.  While I'm standing there ... well freaking out for lack of a synonym ... he gets stuff done and trys to calm me down.  What would I do without him?? 

Monday night we got to experience our reactions to crisis first hand.  Lucky us!!!  Our toilet overflowed without our knowledge, flooded our living room and hence flooded the office I work at downstairs.  We live in an old building and the toilet constantly runs water.  We can sometimes get it to stop by wiggling the handle a certain way but it doesn't always work and sometimes it starts again on it's own.  So when the toilet started running water we didn't think anything of it.  I finally got up to try and get it to stop and walked into a puddle of water in my living room.  You can imagine my horror!!!  Then I proceed to freak out, finally settle enough to go downstairs to see if it's gone through to my office and to walk by the window and see the ceiling tiles and insulation hanging by a thread.  More freaking out ensues.  All awhile my husband has turned off the water, started soaking up water with towels, took our pots and pans downstairs to catch some of the water (not that it helped) and continue to try and calm me down.  What a guy!  Eventually I calmed down enough to call my boss/landlord who got a restoration company out to start the clean up process.  Lucky us we have insurance.  =) 

Here's a shot of the apartment now with all the lovely machines cleaning up the mess.  The bathroom is to the left of that doorway and the floor must slant into the living room because the water came right in.  That wood was under the carpet and is now almost 100% dry.  Hopefully only another day of these machines (they are so noisy!), and new carpet on Saturday!  Of course I have to wait a few weeks before the restoration company cleans and returns all of my towels.  Luckily my mom is to the rescue with plenty of towels for us to use in the interim.  My apartment didn't get the worst of it though.  Pretty much just the carpet had to be torn up and the machines put in to dry everything up.  Downstairs in my office got the worst.  The carpet torn up, ceiling tiles and insulation ripped out, not to mention the desks, computers, files that got drenched.  Luckily some of it they can salvage some we have to replace.  What a nightmare!! 

So needless to say I haven't done any cooking.  My kitchen table which is normally where I do my prepping is in the living room with stuff piled high (as you can partially see) and I only have one pot to use for cooking since the rest are soiled with water filtered through the floor/ceiling, mixed with pieces of the drywall/insulation.  Not the ideal situation for making a meal.  Last night we had chipotle and tonight I just wasn't in the mood to go out for dinner.  I had food that needed to be eaten in the fridge.  I figured I could put something together with my one pot.  I had half a head of cabbage left over from the soup I made so I figured I'd make some pan fried cabbage over noodles.  Those yams I was telling you about are just going to have to wait.  =/

I started the cabbage and put my pasta in the microwave to cook...about 2 minutes later all the power in the apartment goes out.   Apprently my microwave triped the breakers because of all the machines they have going...Nice!!  So after about 10 minutes of not being able to find the breaker box (my husband isn't home mind you), calling my boss to come help me in the dark, him fixing it and getting the power back on, I try to be smarter than the system and move the microwave in my bedroom since I thought it was on a different breaker but proceeds to blow the breakers again.  I got the message loud and clear..NO pasta tonight!

I'm not going to let it get me down though...I took some left over rice and added it to the pot with the cooked cabbage and heated it up.  So now we have some fried cabbage with rice instead of pasta.  Here's what I came up with:

I heated about 1 Tablespoons of olive oil, along with about 2-3 T of butter in my pot, chopped one shallot and added it to the pot with 2 teaspoons of brown sugar.  Let that cook down a little.  Added the chopped cabbage (I used half of a small head) and let simmer until cooked.  Added the left over brown rice and heated through.  It didn't need anything extra, no salt, pepper or other spices.  I ate with a few slices of left over rosemary bread  that I got at the farmers market this weekend.

I have to say for a half kitchen, one pot and no microwave it was a pretty good dinner.  Although the night warranted half a bag of skittles for dessert.  =).  I'm off to bed early tonight.  I'm still trying to catch up from my lack of sleep on monday night/tuesday morning and honestly I can't handle much more drama tonight...I figured my bed is calling my name.  Here's to hoping the next few nights are uneventful.   Maybe I'll stick to eating out in the meantime.  =) 

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cure a Cold with Cabbage Soup

I know I just made soup but you can never have too much soup.  Plus it's cold and raining out.  I was feeling slightly under the weather and I can honestly say I felt better after eating this.  Okay so maybe it won't "cure" your cold but it definitely won't do you any harm. 

I went to the farmers market today and picked up a cabbage and it was just begging to be added to a soup.  It was really my pleasure to ablige.  I found the recipe by doing a quick google search.  I wanted something easy since I wasn't feeling all that great.  I made a few adjustments.

Added chopped baby carrots
Red pepper flakes
A few dashs of crystal hot sauce
italian seasoning
I used a can of diced tomatoes instead of italian roasted

I added the carrtos in with the onion/garlic.  When I added the broth I brought to a boil but didn't add the cabbage until the carrots were soft.  Added the cabbage and let cook for only about 2-3 minutes.  Added the tomatoes, red pepper flakes, hot sauce, and italian seasoning.  Let it cook for another 10-15 minutes. 

Perfect end to my saturday.  My wonderful parents came over and helped me unpack the last few boxes from when we moved last June.  We did some decorating and I feel like the apartment is finally becoming more like home.  I still have a few projects to do and things to get to make the finishing touches but that is really never ending job. 

I also picked up some yams at the farmers market.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them yet, but I can't wait to cook them.  Stay Tuned.  I hope everyone enjoys there three day weekend!

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Homemade Salsa Using Canned Tomatoes

So I know this goes against my last post about trying to be better about buying the right ingredients for the right season but I already had the tomatoes and I had a craving for salsa.  Ripe tomatoes in season would have tasted better but this was pretty darn good for canned tomatoes.  You can find the recipe here.  I didn't have fresh parsley so I just tossed in some dry (didn't measure).  I also didn't have a lime so I just threw in some lemon juice (didn't measure either).  Lime would have been ideal.  I also was out of jalapenos which never happens but I did have some of the juice left so I just threw some of that in there to add some spice. 

Since just using this for tortilla chips seemed like a waste of energy, I decided to make a burrito.  I used some left over rice from yesterday, melted cheddar daiya, salsa and some tapatio.  Voila!   Dinner just like that.  =)

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Italian "Wedding" Soup

So it's rainy and gloomy again.  It's looking more like winter then spring.  Oh how the earth loves to tease me.  Although I don't know much about agriculture but I'm sure the farmers are enjoying the rain.  I've been reading a book recommended by a friend "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" and it makes me feel a little guilty for wishing for the sun, because I know the earth needs the rain.  So as much as I LOVE the warm weather I will resist praying to the sun god to make the rain go away.  The book is a great read so far.  It's a true story of a family who "lives off the earth" for a year.  They decide to only eat/buy food that they grow themself, or comes locally to avoid food that travels across the world.  It's very eye opening.  It makes me think a lot more about not just the food I'm eating but WHEN I'm eating it and WHERE it's coming from.  Like I've said so many times I try my best to make the best choices when cooking but when I read something like this I know I still have so much to learn.  =) 

Yesterday I was inspired by Amy''s canned soup, Hearty Italian Soup.  The rain and cold makes me want to eat soup night and day.  So I decided to try my hand at an Italian Wedding Soup.  Typically made with meatballs, I veganized it.  I didn't follow a recipe for this, just through together what I thought would go well together.  I don't often "throw" something together.  I'm not the best at creating new meals.  I usually have to follow a recipe, so I'm VERY proud of this since I came up with it all by myself.  There are a few adjustments that I would make next time to perfect it, but this was really good and totally hit the spot.  Some of the measurements are estimated because I didn't really measure everything. 

Before I post the recipe, please enjoy my new garage sale find!!!  Don't you love my new vintage corningware!!  I got three all the same style but different sizes.  Love them!!!

Italian Wedding Soup

1/2 Cup Cooked Brown Rice *Optional
1 smal onion
4 garlic cloves (Next time I would use more, because I love garlic)
1/2 small shallot *optional, I threw this in there because it needed to be used before going bad
Tablespoon or so of olive oil
1 Can of chopped tomatoes
Tablespoon or two of chopped fresh basil
1 Tablespoon of Oregano
1 Can of white beans
4 Cups of veggie broth *I used no chicken broth for the first time but veggie broth would work fine
Vegan Meatballs
            1/2 "tube/roll" of Gimme Lean "beef"
            1/4 Cup or so (didn't measure) panko bread crumbs
            2-3 leaves of basil chopped
            A few dashs of onion/garlic powder
            Few dashs of oregano
            Red pepper flakes
Spinach (I had some left over stuffing from the raviolis so I just used that and added it at the end since it was already cooked) I'm not sure how much I used...
Salt and pepper

1.  Start the brown rice if using
2.  Chop the onions, garlic, shallot and basil
3.  Heat the olive oil, add the onions, garlic and shallot until soft
4.  Add the can of tomatoes, basil, oregano and a little salt and pepper.  Heat to saute for about 5 minutes or so. 
5.  Add the can of beans, stir, then add the broth.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes or so.  In the meantime put together the meatballs.  Mix all the ingredients together (it will be really sticky) and mold into small meatballs
6.  Add the meatballs and cook until heated through
7.  Add the cooked spinach until warm
8.  Season further with salt and pepper if needed. 

Didn't realize this was so blurry..sorry!


Before bringing to boil

All finished.  Aint it pretty!

I felt it needed more spice so I put a ton of crystal louisiana hot sauce which gave it the kick it needed.  Next time I would maybe add a few peppers or red pepper flakes?  I loved the meatballs I made the last time with spaghetti but this time they weren't my fav.  I might would leave them out next time.  When I ate Amy's soup she had garbanzo beans which reminded me of meatballs, not that they taste like them, but it might be good in this soup.  Anyhoo...I loved the soup and I think y'all will too.  I had with some left over foccacia with carmelized onions.  I then had some sorbet for dessert.  Is it wierd that I enjoy eating it in a martini glass now.  It's just so much more classy really....hmm...maybe I'll have a cinna bun to top it off??  Don't judge me...I don't like wasting food!!

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler! 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day!!!

Happy Valentines Day!!  I know I know...Hallmark Holiday that is pretty much a big corporate scheme to make money...all very true buuuttt I'm sure we all would agree that all this world needs is a little more LOVE and we'd all be a lot better off, so I'm definitely not opposed to a day to celebrate it!!!  So even if you do or don't have a "romantic" other to spend today with let's all spread the LOVE to all those that deserve it (if you're feeling extra spiffy go ahead and spread it to even those that don't deserve it...who knows it might just turn them around).  So this is me sending out my LOVE via cyber space.  Especailly to you readers and those little, or not so little, animals I love so dearly.  This blog is for you!

I had the pleasure of surprising my Husband with a wonderful (If I do say so myself) romantic dinner at home, just the two of us (or three with Bella) yesterday for V-day.  I started all of the planning/prepping on Saturday.  Let me tell you it was a lot of work, but honestly each dish wasn't all that "hard" pursey, just a lot of time and coordinating to make it all work.  Everything turned out yummy..I had a few uh oh moments that I thought I would lose a dish or two, but it all worked out (thanking the good lord for my wonderful V-day luck).  Even though he got home 30 MIN EARLY!!  At least everything was warm and ready to eat.  He just got to hang out in the bedroom for 30 minutes until I was ready for him.  =) 

We started the night with champagne and fresh raspberries....I saw this somewhere a long time ago and just had to have it.  Even though fresh raspberries are a little expensive for my beer budget.  =)  Oh and forgive me now for all the photos in today's posts.  I tried my best to take good photos but I was in such a rush and frenzy I wasn't paying that much attention and left my photos for much to be desired.  Plus certain areas in my house SUCK for lighting...soo...You get what you get..especially with my iPhone! 

Thanks Maw for the champagne glasses!! 

Next up was stuffed mushrooms for appetizers.  I found the recipe at a new blog I found.  I made these on Saturday at my moms and they were SUPER simple.  My mom loved the stuffing and was eating it by itself.  It's basically the stems of the mushrooms, bread crumbs, red onions, garlic, parsley, basil and a little salt/pepper...stuff them in the caps and bake.  I made them on Saturday, kept them in the fridge and baked on Sunday before we ate.  Sorry I didn't get a close up of the mushrooms.  They are in the right side of the picture.  As you can see my hectic small kitchen.  Like my balancing skills with the cookbook?  LoL.

Next up the main course.  I made home made ravioli from scratch shaped like HEARTS!!  How adorable is this!?!  I found the recipe here at another blog.  The instructions don't always make sense.  In the filling it calls for nutmeg, but in the instructions it doesn't list nutmeg and adds cayenne?  I used what it calls for nutmeg and mixed with the filling, and just added a little Tony Chacherie's seasoning since I didn't have any cayenne at my moms.  Since I figured the instructions were a little off, I didn't follow the filling recipe too closely.  I added more bread crumbs and adjusted to my taste on the other items.  Seemed to turn out fine.  The ravioli were pretty labor intensive.  A lot of rolling out dough that was pretty sticky, cutting the little hearts, stuffing, sealing, etc.  I made these at my mom's on Saturday and then put them in a container lined with parchment making sure none of them touched each other.  Preferrably if I was doind this again I would cook them same day.  They still stuck to the parchment, and were a pain to get un done.  Plus they got a little smooshed in transit and didn't look as pretty the next day.  Also they tasted good but were a little "chewy".  I'm not sure what that was from.  This was my first time making home made pasta so I'm definitely a novice.  I cooked them about a minute after they floated to the top thinking they didn't cook long enough?  Not sure.  They were still edible, just not ideal.  I also stuffed half of them with the left over stuffing that I used for the mushrooms so we had some variance.  Both were yummy.  I had a ton of spinach stuffing left over though. 

ravioli filling

Ravioli dough

Making heart shaped cute! ♥

Finished product!
All together!  The recipe actually made about 2 more than shown. 
 I just made a jar of spaghetti sauce, fixed it up with some extra onion, garlic and my fav spices and let simmer while I did everything else.  Everything else I cooked was made from scratch so the sauce got the short end of the stick.  I didn't want to stretch myself too thin.  =).  Crappiest photo award below.  Obviously some ravioli turned out better then others.  The spinach ones don't look as pretty cause you can see through them.  All in All I was happy with the dish.  It definetly needs some adjusting to make perfect, but GREAT first try.  I'm just glad everything was edible.  Plus Husband said I was being too hard on myself and they tasted awesome! 

I was going to make a vegetable side (like green beans) but kinda forgot, and didn't have anything good in the fridge to put together so I just stuck with this.  For additional starch I made home made from scratch foccacia bread with carmelized onions from The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen.  Perfect side to slop up the extra sauce.  This also was a little labor intensive.  You have to knead the dough for 10 minutes..which doesn't sound like long..but boy does it get tiring.  Other then that it was pretty easy.  I probably should have cooked the onions a little longer, but Husband was home and the bread wasn't done yet, the mushrooms still had to be baked and I was a little short on time.  It tasted fine, but next time I would cook them down more.  I also must have miss measured because the topping was a little salty.  None of this really took away from the bread just a few things to work on next time to make it even better!  It was DELISH.  I will definitely make it again.  Husband raved about it!  (On a side note, I'm going to take a part of the loaf and make croutons for my upcoming cesar salad..YAY!). 

Making bread..the old fashioned way!

Carmelizing onions, boiling water for pasta, and clow cooking the sauce!

All done! 
Next up DESSERT!! Since V-day is all about the dessert I made it a two parter.  Mainly because I couldn't make up my mind which too make.  I'm glad I made both.  I started with a home made Strawberry Champagne Sorbet.  OMG sooo good..and SOOO easy!!  Aside from waiting for it to freeze this takes no time at all.  You dissolve some sugar in water, add it to purred strawberries with 2 T of agave nectar (recipe called for corn syrup, I improvised), and champagne (recipe called for 2C I used 1C plus 1C of water) let freeze for 4-6 hours, mix with a blender or food processor, freeze again until firm.  I am definitely making this on a regular basis.  ESPECIALLY for summer time.  This is the perfect dessert.  Great to make for a party too...Just make sure to keep in the freezer until you are ready to serve.  I served in a martini glass which made it extra classy!! =)   You can easily omit the champagne if making for little ones. 

While we ate our sorbet I popped dessert course numero dos in the oven to cook.  CINNAMON ROLLS!!!  Oh how simple and awesome they were.   There were a few things I would have done differently this time around.  I made the cinnamon rolls on Saturday at my mom's.  Sunday I took them out of the fridge and a lot of the butter/cinnamon/sugar mixture had melted? and was sitting at the bottom of the pan.  Not ideal.  They still baked up well, I just had to cook them a little longer to absorb the liquid.  Mine don't look as pretty as hers either...I think that could have been fixed with more frosting.  You can never have too much frosting!!

Saturday after assembly, and before melting.

Just prior to devouring!!

So there you have it, a 100% vegan Valentines day dinner for two.  I tried to gear the menu around my husband.  He loves mushrooms, ravioli, spinach, bread, strawberries and cinnamon rolls.  I didn't want to use too much "fake" meats/cheeses.  He gets enough of that during the week.  I think any of these dishes would happily satisy a meat eater.  I'm glad I had an occasion to try so many new recipes all in one day.  I found some great ones that I might not have tried otherwise.  Here are some additonal photos of our table decor.  Not the best lighting.  We had the lights off for most of the night with just the candle light ( romantic!!) but we had to turn the lights on for the best photo.  My phone isn't so great at catching the right "mood".  Thanks to my mom for helping me with all of the decor ideas, letting me borrow most of her things, and making us the beautiful frame featured in the center!  Love you!!  I also had music playing to set the mood.  I found a GREAT pandora station for old 1950ish music.  Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong!!  Brilliant combo and the perfect music for a night like yesterday.  I hooked up our computer to the TV stereo.  Since the TV has to be on for it to work I found a heart photos and kept it up so we didn't have to look at the computer monitor.  =)   

Pre chaos.  The beautiful flower is from my moms house.  LOVE!

Pretty blurry

Mood set with candles

I hope you all are feeling as loved as I am feeling today (Husband is surprising me with a hot air balloon ride once the weather looks up and we both get a day off together...SOOO excited!!  I'll be sure to blog about the trip!).  Cheers to LOVE and many more years to celebrate it!  Now go out there and tell those you love that ...well LOVE them!!  ♥ ♥ ♥

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Swiss Chard Time!

For lunch I had left over mac n cheese.  I was going to saute some broccoli again but remembered I had the chard in the fridge.  I chopped the stems from the chard and sauted with some olive oil along with roughly cut garlic (about one clove).  I only used a few leaves of chard since I was just making it for me.  After the stems cooked down for a few minutes I added the leaves (that were also roughly chopped).  I let it cook down just a little and added some balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper and a dash of onion powder.  Let it cook down and added it to the mac n cheese.  It went really good together, plus the colors were FAB!  The red/purple chard died some of the macaroni.  I again added some hot sauce, and a little of parma this time around.  Perfection!!  It was quick and easy lunch. 

Stems cooking

Adding the leaves

Cooked down (I ate a few leaves already thats why it looks a little sparse)

All finished with mac n cheese!  Yum!

For dinner I wanted to finish off the rest of the chard, and enchiladas were back on the menu.  This time instead of jalapenos, some chili's in adobo sauce.  I loved the flavor it gave the chili I made awhile back and thought they would be great in some enchiladas.  I used the basic recipe I used last time see here.  This time I used sprouted wheat tortillas by ezekiel.  I love sprouted wheat bread so I figured these would be good too.  They were a little harder with folding, but worked out fine.  The fold doesn't have to be perfect.  Use the chili's sparingly because they are really spicy (I think I used mine too sparingly...should have known.  It didn't have enough kick for me, next time I would add more).  I used cheddar daiya this time.  Due to some technical malfunctions I stabbed my finger while cutting the chard and I left them in the oven a little too long.  They got a little too done, but were still good.  (don't worry, the thumb made it through, granted after I almost passed out, Husband fixed me up with some antibacterial ointment and band aids). For the side I found this recipe for some mexican chard.  I cut the recipe in half because I don't have that many mouths to feed and it still cooked a ton.  I did use jalapenos in this recipe.  But subbed crushed tomatoes for chopped, because that's what I had in the fridge.  I also cut the stemps off the chard and added them in with the onions to soften.  It was good and Husband liked it.  He loves his greens though.  Dark leafy greens aren't my absolute favorite, but when cooked right I like them.  Plus I know how good they are for me (especially being vegan) so I'm trying to incorporate them more in my meals.  Honestly if you cook them down a little and add them in a casserole, or baked dish you barely notice them (I need to take my own advice and do this more often!!). 

Making enchiladas!!

Swiss chard and potatoes

A little well done

Pretty plate!

Stay tuned, I'm making some cesar salad (with home made dressing), Home made foccacia bread with carmelized onions (some made into croutons), and chickpea cutlets soon!  Doesn't it sound yummy!  It might not be until this weekend because the bread takes a long time to cook. 

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!