Posts Tagged 'food'

happy tuesday, everyone!

evening walk

it’s a quiet evening at our house; home from a long day of work (me) and classes (john), we’re relaxing. homemade granola in the oven, john on the phone with his mom, lamps casting a soft glow into the evening darkness. the granola, a modified version of this is warming our house, filling it with the sweet scent of warm oats, toasted almonds, vanilla, and cinnamon – such a wonderful smell!

the end of daylight savings time caught me off-guard this year, and the early onset of night makes me a bit despondent every late afternoon. too soon, it will be dark both when i leave for work, and when i come home. with winter coming, we’re both craving lots of starches and hearty foods (storing up for hibernation?); chili, cabbage soup, breads spread with apple or pumpkin butter, potatoes and other root vegetables. i’ve been stocking our freezer, too, and am so pleased at the rows of jars filled with preserves (i’m a little gun-shy on the whole canning thing, and not wanting to experiment alone, i opted to freeze the butters, rather than risk botulism. good idea? i certainly think so).

our hallowe’en party went quite well! nearly everyone came in costume: john was a wwii bomber pilot (and very handsome – what is it about a man in uniform, even if it’s just pretend?!), i was Miss Scarlet, from “Clue,” complete with a candlestick. our little living room was full to the bursting, with two civil war soldiers, a woman of ancient rome, a little fuzzy blue bear (6 months old), a gentleman from the ’50s, a pig-man, a blue woman, and a vampire. i watched my first zombie movie, and handled it quite well until it was time for me to walk down the dark hallway, into our pitch-black bedroom, and try not to imagine that john, already in bed, was a zombie. ugh! a quick dash and a leap later, i was safe – and fortunately didn’t land on the already-sleeping john.

how are you preparing for winter? and did you have a good hallowe’en?

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a celebration

fiesta!

As of seven o’clock yesterday evening, I have been a vegetarian for a full year. a full year! No slip-ups, no back-tracking; no seafood, poultry, beef, pork, or wild game (or any of their broths or flavourings) of any kind. I went from being a omnivore to an herbivore, overnight. I do use cage-free, organic eggs in my baking and occasional meals (from vegetarian-fed hens who have not been pumped up on steroids and antiobiotics), and infrequently have a little bit of good cheese in the house. We drink and cook with almond milk, not cow’s milk. When I became a vegetarian, some people were completely befuddled – why, when I already have to be careful what I eat, why would I limit myself more?

There were a few reasons, these are a few (ranked in order of importance):

* Compassion. Animals are intelligent, creatures, and the idea that any living, breathing creature would be slaughtered just to feed a craving puts my stomach in knots.

* Health. I’m much healthier, not eating meat. Living on grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables has made me stronger and trimmer, more easily able to focus, and given me quite an energy boost.

* Environment. The average American consumes 185 pounds of meat every year; that fact alone is incredible, not even including how much land and water are used by raising those animals and preparing them for slaughter.

In celebration of the one-year mark, we had a veritable feast. Our grocery store just started carrying a line of gluten-free tortillas, and I picked up a package of them just the day before. On the menu? Cilantro-Lime Rice, Cumin Black Beans, and Fiesta-Style Peppers, with sides and toppings. Oh, my. Since there are only two of us, and I made quite a bit of food, we had leftovers for a couple more meals, and were really sad when we finished them off.

lime for fiesta!

Cumin Black Beans
2 cans (15 ounces) prepared black beans (I use Bush’s)
1 small onion
2 Tablespoons cumin
1/4 Teaspoon chili powder
1/8 Teaspoon ground coriander
Sprinkle of finely chopped cilantro leaves
Sprinkle of fresh lime zest
Small splash canola oil
Sea salt and ground black pepper

Drain and rinse the beans, reserving the liquid from one of the cans. Place the beans in a 2-quart pan, over medium-high heat. Finely chop 1/2 medium onion, and mix it, the spices, cilantro leaves, lime zest, oil, and salt + pepper into the beans. Stir gently until mixed; try not to break up the beans. If you can’t see liquid, add a Tablespoon or two of water into the pan. When the liquid starts to simmer, cover the pot and turn the heat to low. Stir occasionally.

Cilantro-Lime Rice
2 cups long-grain rice, such as Basmati
3 cups water
1/4 Teaspoon fresh lime zest
Juice of one lime
1-2 Tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves *
Dash sea salt
Splash canola oil

Place all the ingredients into a heavy-bottomed pot. Cook rice according to package directions. When finished, use a serving spoon to fluff it (and to mix the cilantro leaves in, if they’ve risen to the top during cooking),

* Note: How much cilantro you put in depends on how big a fan you are of it. I still swear it smells like Ivory soap, but use it because I understand that it does impart a flavor to the dish – I just don’t use a ton of it. People who like cilantro would, of course, use more.

Fajita-Style Peppers
1 medium red bell pepper
1 medium green bell pepper
1 medium yellow bell pepper
1/2 poblano pepper
1 small/medium onion
1 clove garlic
1 Tablespoon canola oil
Dash ground red pepper
Sprinkle oregano
Dash paprika
sea salt and ground black pepper

Deseed and julienne all the peppers, except for the poblano, which should be finely sliced. Cut the onion in half lengthwise, then slice into half-moons. Sautee the garlic and onions with the spices and oregano until you can smell the flavors, but not until the onions are translucent. Add in the peppers and turn up the heat, tossing until just barely cooked; the peppers should still have a little bit of a crunch.

If serving with tortillas, warm the tortillas between wet paper towels in the microwave for 30 seconds; this makes them softer and more pliable. This meal is also delicious without tortillas; just serve the beans and peppers on a bed of the rice.

Sides
lettuces
chopped fresh tomatoes
sliced black olives
shredded cheeses
guacamole


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