Monthly Archives: December 2009

Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch

From one of my favorite ever New York Times Articles:

“Today the average American spends a mere 27 minutes a day on food preparation (another four minutes cleaning up); that’s less than half the time that we spent cooking and cleaning up when Julia arrived on our television screens. It’s also less than half the time it takes to watch a single episode of “Top Chef” or “Chopped” or “The Next Food Network Star.” What this suggests is that a great many Americans are spending considerably more time watching images of cooking on television than they are cooking themselves — an increasingly archaic activity they will tell you they no longer have the time for.”  (Full article here)

I read so many books, articles and blogs about food, food production, recipes and methods.  I fantasize about elaborate meals that I’ve never made.   Am I as equally as guilty as those who watch cooking shows all day long but never step into the kitchen?  Sometimes I feel that way.  It’s like cooking is a big daydream I can feel comfortable getting lost in.  I rarely bring those daydreams to fruition in an a kitchen that exists outside of my head.  Maybe that should be my New Years Resolution.  Cook, and cook without abandon.  Hmm, that’s an interesting idea.  I’ll think about it later.  For now, I have a book to get back to…

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Inglorious Brussels Sprouts

Tuesday was rather uneventful, after a short night of babysitting turned into a long night of cleaning out my closet.  Why these sort of things seem urgent at 11pm I’ll never know.  Woke up and decided to kick my day off with a whole lotta love yellow.  Naner boo and a Kashi bar.  Not in pictured: stale coffee with powdered creamer (yuck) in ugly office coffee mug.  Somtimes a lady gets a little desperate, y’all. 

I packed my lunch so I didn’t have another opportunity to totally fail and forget to snap a photo.  Enter my favorite microwaveable item ever, the Morningstar Spicy Black Bean Veggie Burger.  Ready in a minute and completely tasty eaten all by its lonesome.  To add some more color to my plate, some yellow peppers and carrots with what else?  Toasted Pine Nut Sabra for dipping.  Orange off to the side for some extra Vita-C, and three delicioso y poquito candy cane chocolate treats for dessert.  I may or may not have eaten all three at once. 

The rest of my day went by rather uneventfully…made it  home and was desperate for an after school snack.  Had not one but two of the closest thing to a candy bar that I eat:  The  Clif Mojo Bar.  It has chocolate, it has pretzels, it has peanut butter, it gets devoured in three bites.

And no, that’s not the big guy’s hand, it’s mine.  And no, I didn’t play basketball in high school.  Anyhow, after my 2x snacking, I got myself on down to the Rec and cranked out 4 miles on the treadmill.  My iPod recently decided to stop responding to my urgent button pressing, and so running on the treadmill has been more like chinese water torture than excercise.  Especially when the guy next to you lets out a loud grunt with every 5th left foot step.  For 45 minutes.  Luckily my big guy is a kind, caring soul and lent me his pod for the run, so I was among friends.  Time goes by much faster with Moby, Regina Spektor, Ryan Adams, and Silversun Pickups along for the jog. 

After the sweat session, it was back home to cook up some din-din.  But I was so ready to eat that I had to get my snackface on first.  Stacy’s, Sabra and a Tripple are such a perfect way to end the day.  My brew was only half gone when I was done munching, so it made the trip upstairs and joined me in the shower.  Yes, that’s right: Sometimes I drink beer in the shower.  That tradition started back in college when I needed to get ready to go out and was short on time to “pre-party”.  Funny enough, these days having the beer in the shower IS the party… 

But I digress…so let’s move on to dinner.  Here’s the lowdown:  Tofu sliced and lightly pan-fried with an impromptu Asian sauce (Hoisin, Soy & Siriacha) along with roasted brussels sprouts (rinse, trim dead leaves, slice in half and toss in olive oil, salt and pepper, roast on pan at 375, turning until desired crispiness is achieved) and a baked sweet potato with big globs of Smart Balance and Vindaloo spice from a local shop.

 

Yum yum yum yum yum.  Ate it all.  While watching Inglorious Basterds.  Love that movie!  Love most Tarantino movies, although I don’t always do well with the gory stuff.  I was explaining this to my mother and sister-in-law the other night, as they were talking about how they would never watch his movies because they are so violent, etc.  I chirped in: “But the violence is over the top on purpose! It’s supposed to be comedic!”  What I actually love about Tarantino is all of the women in his films are strong, brave and in every case I can think of, victorious. His female characters having the, ahem, cojones, to really stick it to the bad guys which leaves me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside despite the scalping, dismemberment, shotgun blasts, sword fights, fists down throats, strangling, and general bloody mayhem.

Snackday Sunday

My post-Christmas Sunday was spent lounging around the big guy’s house, watching the Manchester United-Hull game and snacking my face off.  I realized 3/4 of the way in to the delightful veggie wraps I prepared us for lunch that I’m never going to be much of a quasi-food blogger without pictures of what I eat.  As far as Sunday December 27th goes, I get an F.  So turn on your imaginations, amigos, for a quick trip through my tasty day.

Breakfast was Coffee (French Press with Hazlenut Splenda and Silk Creamer) and a huge Gala Apple and juicy Orange.   For lunch I made veg-tastic wraps.  Stuffed inside a whole wheat tortilla was sautéed ‘shrooms & spinach, Red Pepper Sabra, falafels,  and a drizzle of Siriacha (rooster) sauce.  On the side- Corazonas w/ a squeeze of lime and some chunky, spicy salsa.  Mmm que linda!

I got a super special treat in the afternoon by way of a text from my girl LG.  She was unexpectedly in town for an extra night and wanted to grab dinner.  Um, of course!  We ventured over to Houstons, the Dallas turned Cherry Creek hotspot for the yupster crowd.  Don’t mind the yupster stuff so much because the food is always good.  Under dimmed lights and live jazz music we shared some Spinach Dip and a few glasses of wine.  I did a cannonball into one of the best veggie burgers I have ever had.  The patty was made with brown rice, sautéed mushrooms and almonds for added crunch.  Topped with avo’s, lettuce, tomatoes this burger pretty much sent me into orbit.  Don’t miss the real thing a scosh when I find substituting foods this satisfying and hearty. 

Dropped miss L off after dinner and headed back to the big guy’s house to watch Food, Inc.  I didn’t enjoy watching some parts of this movie, particularly the slaughterhouse and mass-production of animals bits.  Outside of that, there wasn’t much in this documentary that I didn’t know already.  Non-organic foods are washed with pesticides- Duh.   There are no seasons in the American Supermarket- Duh.  Meats are dipped in chlorine to “clean” them before packaging and sending-Duh.   One particular part that kind of irked me was when the CEO of Stoneyfield Farm talked about how he thought his company was saving the world by putting organic foods into Wal-Mart.  I’m not rallying against Wal-Mart in any form, and really love that healthier choices are made available to consumers who shop at discount stores, but for him to try to spin that as anything but a profitable business decision was a bit ridiculous.

What’s the best movie you’ve seen lately?

Pumpkin Pancakes with Stars

Due to my heavy handed pouring of the vino on Christmas Night, I woke up the next morning with an el serioso need for some sustinance.  Enter the punkin pancakes!  Using Krusteaz Oat Bran instant pancake mix, some leftover pumpkin, water and cinnamon I quickly whipped up a delicious breakfast.  Drizzled some pecans and Agave nectar on top for an extra kick of flavor, and it was delish.  I think my diabetes-inducing Mrs Butterworth days are over.  Agave nectar is ah-mazing.  Here’s the lowdown in pictures:

Recipe: (1 c. mix, a little less than 2/3 c. water, 1/2 c. punkin & hearty shake of cinnamon)  Check out Mr. Potter making a cameo in the third photo…when at my parents he can always be trusted  to deliver my daily dose of caffeine.   I wish I had a HP mug at my own casa becasue then I’d have no use for all the others.  After breakfast I got all of my Christmas goodies together and I left my parents house and drove back to Denver.  When I got home I decided to go for a run on snow packed sidewalks in 20 degree weather.  A little ambitious, no?  Well I got about half a block away from my condo and thought eff this!  I promptly turned around and went back inside, stripped off my tights in favor of the best shorts ever, and hit my condo’s “gym”.  The word gym is in quotes because our pathetic little room is really anything but.  The machines are archaic and make horrible screeching noises.  The treadmill is stuck on a 3% incline and will make an angry mama pig noise if you dare to adjust it.  So how far did I run on the 3% squealing pig machine you ask?  A mere mile.  Lame-o…

Oh well, on to bigger and much more fun things.  Like going to see my former favorite hockey team play my current favorite hockey team!  I was a lucky duck and got 6 tickets in Row 3 so my entire family could go.  I definitely did NOT spend most of the game trying to get a picture of Mike Modano’s handsome hiney. 

Looking pretty good at 39, sir.  There are only about 24 more pictures where that came from…I think both my mama and I let out a little squeak of delight when he first buzzed by our seats during warmups.  You can take the girls out of Dallas but you can’t take Dallas out of the girls!  The Avs ended up winning 4-1 and the Blue Moons were a-flowin so everyone had a great time. 

J’adore, J’aime

Today was amazing.  Far and away the best Christmas I’ve had in recent years.  I had such a wonderful, relaxing time with my family, just hanging out, eating (delish spinach dip, scalloped potatoes, sweet potatoes, braided bread, etc), sharing and just having a good time.   I started my day in the best possible way:  Coffee con sugar-free vanilla syrup, fat-free half and half and whipped cream.  No, I don’t normally put whipped cream on my coffee, but this is a special occasion.  When I stay at my parents house, I drink coffee out of a Harry Potter mug and put whipped cream on it.  Heaven in a mug, I swear…

Outside of the coffee, I’m so excited about some of the gifts I’ve received.  Once my 7 glasses of wine hangover fades tomorrow, I will dive enthusiastically into the following:

Thank you thank you so much Carissa (she will surely get mentioned every day on this blog) for recommending this book to me.  I’m beyond over the moon excited about reading it.  I’m in a place in where I don’t really eat meat but am a scared to classify myself as a vegetarian.  My loving, creative, humorous friend thought enough to recommend this to me, and I’m so ready to read it.  Jonathan Safran Foer began the process for this book when he found out that his wife was pregnant, and wanted to really research how foods were made so he would be educated about what exactly he was feeding his kid.    Thank you mom, for buying this book for me even though you might be the runner-up for the world’s number one lover of beef (behind your husband…)  And thank you immeasurably to Carissa for being a better friend than I can ever put into words.

Secondly, I received this gem.  Again: THANK YOU MOM!

Oh dear sweet baby Jesus I’m so amped about baking from this book.  It’s vegan, gluten-free and mostly sugar-free. (Someone has made healthy cupcakes? Holy cow!!! Count me in, I’m a w-h-o-r-e for sweets)  Did I mention the recipes are for scones, muffins, bread, cookies, cupcakes and cakes?  I’m in angels-dancing-around-while-serving-ice-cream-HEAVEN.   I was salivating flipping through the pages, and am beyond beyond excited about baking the strawberry shortcake on page 41.  I will devote a post to this process, entirely, at a later date…I promise.  Just believe me when I tell you that I had a hard time not licking the pages of this book as all of the treats look THAT amazing…

Thirdly, I received a hand-crafted gift: my favorite kind.  A few years ago, I was teasing my mom for wearing granny panties.  While to this day she insists that they are “French Cut” and absolutely not granny panties, the debate remains.  During this argument, I drew a picture of what women should and should not wear to cover their lady parts.  Upon seeing this rudimentary sketch, my thoughtful, lovely, graphic-designer sister-in-law took this simple scratching and turned it into an artful gift for my mother and I.  I adore it.

What was your favorite Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Festivus gift?

Crafty Holiday Love

Hi Punkins!

I’m using my mother’s term of endearment for all three of you faithful readers, because it’s Christmas Eve and this time of year you are supposed to be nice to everyone.  (Shout out to the lady in the Argonaut parking lot who honked and gestured angrily to me when I didn’t keep up with her maniac driving speed!)

I’m not much of a holiday person, a fact that I hope will change at some point as I’m sure my yet-to-be-thought-about-or-conceived children will be disappointed that they drew the short end of the “Moms who go ape-shit over holidays” stick.  Anyhow, a few months ago my brother let me know that he’d like to make a table covered with beer bottle caps, and asked me if I would mind saving some caps for him.  Rejoice!  This is a Christmas miracle, people, as I really love my brother, crafty things, and drinking beer.  (There will surely be future posts dedicated solely to that very subject)  So without further adieu here are the fruits of my “labor” over the past couple months:

Ain’t it bee-utiful?  Have any of you tried all of these beers?  There are a lot of Colorado brews in there, as I love to drink local. While collecting all of these tops, I thought often of my friend Carissa, who given any material and enough time will improvise (aka craft) jewelry, clothing, furniture, and various home furnishings.  Now I’ve seen plenty of Art that was literally made from trash, which makes me wonder if Carissa’s car is not really a car, but the world’s longest running mobile art exhibit.