What you’ve missed

OK, so I have about 20 or so “events” in my iPhoto of pictures that I took of food and other things thinking that I would blog about it and then got too busy and never did. So, since I have time at the moment (dinner is taking a painfully long time in the slow cooker) I figured that I’d give you a little taste of all that I’ve been too busy to blog about.

Get your pads and pens ready because I’ll likely never write a full post about these recipes unless you ask.

Mexican-Style Red Beans & Barley w/the fixin's

Two Bean Vegetarian Enchilada Casserole

Spiced Garbanzo Bean Burgers

Unsloppy Joes

Spicy Black Bean Burger w/the fixin's

Chili, Quinoa, & Corn Pudding

Curried Tofu Salad

Oh, hey I got ringworm. (apologies if this grosses you out)

side note: ringworm is actually a bacterial infection – the same one as athlete’s foot and jock itch

Layered Chipotle Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Tabbouleh w/Garbanzo beans

Mexican-style Amaranth & Beans

And that’s what you missed! on… GLEE

Cook anything fun lately?

Also – I’m looking for holiday cookie recipes – if you have an awesome one please please please tell me.

Also – let me know if you wanna know more about anything that I’ve posted.

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Peter Peter

get it?

Well folks, I finally did it. I cooked with a Pumpkin:

A real, once-live pumpkin that didn’t come out of a can. Of course, upon actually cooking with it I realized that my Libby’s canned pumpkin couldn’t possibly be from this type, but it deterred my not! But before I delve into the cooking world, I promised Halloween pictures!

Please proceed to guess what I am

awwww

Now back to what you really came for:

The inside:

I did not take this photo.

This baby was impossible to cut (even for a computer) and I ended up baking it for a little, cutting it in half, and baking it for a wile longer. And when it was done it surprisingly was like a stringier butternut squash! Quite unexpected. So what did I make with it you ask?

Pumpkinified Indian Spiced Chicken & Barley – Slow Cooker Style

serves 6

Ingredients
– 1 lb chicken breasts
– juice of 1 lemon
– ~1 tsp turmeric

– olive oil
– 2 large carrots, chopped
– 1 medium onion, chopped
– 1 turnip, chopped
– 1 red bell pepper, chopped
– 4 cloves garlic
– 1 tbsp cumin
– 2 tsp coriander
– 1 1/2 tsp indian spice blend
– 1 – 15 oz can no salt added diced tomatoes
– 1 1/2 can-fuls of water
– 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes (alternatively you can use 28 oz can diced tomatoes total and only 1 cup of the water above)
– 1 cup barley

– 1/2 baked pumpkin, scooped out of the shell

– 1 cup plain yogurt

Directions:

1. Place cleaned chicken in the bottom of your slow cooker. Pour/squeeze juice over it and sprinkle with turmeric.

2. Heat oil in a large pan. Add carrots through bell pepper and cook until softened. About 5 minutes. Add garlic through spice blend and mix for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add canned & fresh tomatoes, water, and barley. Bring to a boil.

3. Pour boiled mixture over chicken. Add the scooped-out pumpkin.

4. Cook on High for 2 1/2 hours or Low for 5 hours. Mix well – the chicken should shred nicely into the whole mixture.

5. Add yogurt and cook on High for 30 minutes.

clearly there was a time lapse - no sun

This dish is mm mm good! It takes some prep, but I like the slow cooker aspect of it. It’s awesome with thighs as well and the fattier your yogurt (obvi) the better.

And now, since I never posted it before:

ThisWeekInWorkouts
Su – 45 minute elliptical
M – Circuit Strength 1
Tu – 4.63 mi run
W – rest
Th – Circuit Strength 2
F – 45 min Cycle
Sa – rest

Have you ever cooked with fresh pumpkin? If so, what did you make?

What’s the best fall thing you’ve made lately?

Tell me about your workouts!

Brrrr

So, I’d heard that it was chilly outside last night, but for some reason when I was walking out of the door this morning at 7:45, I wasn’t prepared. It was jacket weather! I almost turned the heat on in the car. (for real, my finger was on the switch) But alas, I did not. And it warmed up a bit by the time I left the gym. (Though the high’s in the 60s whhaaaaat?)

NOT!

I’ve had the pleasure of a relaxed, slow day. I suppose the one good thing about my job is that I have a quota for hours that I must reach, and after that I’m golden. (Only need 2 more hours) So my craziness of the beginning of the week led to a nice relaxed weekend. I guess it all evens out in the end.

I don’t know if I’ve mention this before, but my Mother wasn’t born in America. In fact, my Mother spent the first 13 years of her life in Guadeloupe, a French island in the Caribbean. Plus, my Mother’s Father was from Syria. So growing up I got to eat a lot of delicious food. And one such delicious food was Colombo.

If you’re like me when I was younger, you may be thinking that Colombo is just a made-up name after the television show for some sort of dish that my mom threw together. But a quick google search of “Chicken Colombo” reveals that it’s actually the “Curried Chicken” of the French West Indies. So if you like curry, and you like chicken, and you like vegetables, and you like easy. This dish is for you.

Chicken Colombo serves 4-6
Ingredients
– 1 lb chicken (breasts or thighs or legs or combination) (or 1/2 lb chicken and a can or equivalent of beans)
– juice of 2 lemons
– water
– ~ 1-2 tbsp curry powder (or combination of several or your own blend)
– extra virgin olive oil
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 eggplant, chopped
– 1 large zucchini, chopped
– 1/2 head cauliflower, chopped
– 1 potato or turnip or purple potato, chopped
**Note: I like to chop up all of my vegetables and place them in a large bowl until I’m ready for them. Then, I clean and trim the fat from my chicken…unless I do the optional step 1**
Directions
Optional Step 1: Place your cleaned chicken in a bowl or baking dish and coat in the juice of 1 lemon, turning to coat well. Let marinade for 1-8 hours.
Step 2: Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into a bowl. Add your curry powder and some additional water.
Step 3: Heat a bit of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add your chicken and cook until the outside turns white but it is not fully cooked. Add garlic and the lemon-curry-water blend. (The chicken should be just covered with liquid – if it’s not, add more water)
Step 4: Add all of your chopped vegetables and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for about an hour.
**Note #2: Just before I start cooking, I like to get a batch of brown rice (or a brown rice medley) going with one tube of chicken broth concentrate. Then, by the time the rice is done, I figure that my Colombo will be done too.**
The eggplant will have sort of dissolved into the mixture and your chicken will break apart as well.

I made this batch with black beans and 1/2 lb chicken (sorry for the bad lighting)

Brown Rice Medley

beans version

just chicken version

What are some dishes that your mother/father/guardian/grandmother/godfather taught you how to make?

Is it cold where I’m reaching you?

Is it a crouton?

Is it a kix? Is it a dog-kibble? No! It’s SUPER…roasted-chickpeas!

Peanut Flour Roasted Garbanzo Beans

These are probably one of the easiest, most delicious things that I have ever made. They, believe-it-or-not, sort of taste really like Kix.

Anyone else love this cereal as a child?

But those babies are not kix. They are chickpeas  (AKA garbanzo beans). And they are so simple and interesting that they will make you re-excited about your food once again. Or at the very least pleasantly content with your food choice.

Peanutty Roasted Chickpeas
Ingredients
– 1 can (or 1 2/3 c prepared) chickpeas
– 3 tbsp peanut flour
– 1 tbsp stevia for baking
– 1/4 tsp sea salt

Step 1: Preheat oven to 375˚F. Drain and rinse a can of chickpeas. Spread out on a baking sheet and pat dry with some paper towels. (Alternatively: If you’re like me, and made your chickpeas ahead of time, go ahead and skip the drain and rinse part)

...the convenient things you will find with a google search.

Step 2: Sprinkle the remaining ingredients (3 tbsp peanut flour, 1 tbsp stevia for baking, 1/4 tsp salt) onto the chickpeas. Toss and stir until the chickpeas are nicely coated.

Step 3: Place baking sheet in your 375˚F oven. Bake for 45-55 minutes; shaking pan ever 15 minutes. Taste test starting at the 45 minute mark: you want a dry, crunchy chickpea.

And enjoy!

I enjoyed these as is for a few days as a simple snack. Then, I got creative and decided to add them to a raw and roasted salad. The result was epicly delicious.

(that's nutritional yeast on top)

Alright, back to either non-pleasure-reading for school or maybe just bed. Either way there will definitely be sunflower seed butter involved.

What’s something new that you’ve tried lately?

I Just Want a Quickie

Sometimes I feel like making out a complicated, in-depth, interesting meal. You know, lots of chopping, lots of ingredients, lots of prep work. But other times, I would much rather spend my time watching a movie, or checking blogs, or playing on my awesome new computer than hanging around the kitchen for an hour plus.

So I bring to you two easy, lazy meals.

Meal #1: Chinese Leftovers Recreation

OK, so this is more a what-to-do-with-all-those-leftovers option. I’ve noticed that in a lot of Chinese restaurants (American Chinese restaurants, that is), they give you way more of your protein source than necessary. So, if you’re like me, you think to yourself, “Man, I want to eat all of my vegetables, but there is way too much protein-source in my meal to be a good ratio for cleaning my plate. But I won’t want to eat just my protein-source for leftovers in the future. WHAT TO DO?!”

Well, if you’ve ever thought that, today is your lucky day because I am going to tell you what to do. Take this:

Excess Tofu w/Sauce

Then prepare some assorted vegetables in your favorite method (roasted, steamed, stir-fried). And mix everything together:

Voila!

If your meal did not have enough sauce leftover, you can always add some soy sauce and vinegar (preferably rice wine, but apple cider vinegar will work too) to your leftovers before mixing it all together. I added apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, and chili-garlic sauce.

Meal #2: Quickie-Butternut Squash & Vegi Bean Stew

serves 4-5

The ingredients. (Un-pictured: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Curry Powder)

Step 1: Chop up your desired stew veggies (I used 2-3 cloves garlic, 1/2 sweet onion, 1 red bell pepper, and 1 large carrot). Heat some Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a pot over Medium to Medium-High heat. Sauté the veggies until crisp-tender.

Step 2:
– Add 1 1/2 cups of the Vegi Bean Soup mixture (that you rinsed beforehand) to the pot. Mix well.
– Add the quart of Butternut Squash soup plus 1 1/2 cups water.
– Add about a tablespoon of your favorite curry powder.
– Bring to an almost boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and let it cook for about an hour, stirring occasionally.

I forgot to take a final product picture, but let me tell you: it was delicious. Plus, it required very little active time. So while I waited I could fully attend to a documentary that my sister had on about stress. As you can imagine, it was a pretty sweet evening.

So to end this sweet evening… OK just to end the post (I’m about to go to a friend’s), I will leave you with a video of the lovely Adele singing one of my favorite songs on 21.

Summer Deliciciosity: Fresh Fig Cake

Quick life update before I fill you in on what you really want to hear about (cake):

My good friend (and bf of my friend Ashley), Xaver, is in town from Germany (hi Xaver! ;Ashley, show this to him, pleeze.)

From left: Regina, Me, Ashley, Xaver

Aren’t they cuuuute? But anyways, this weekend was spent having fun and catching up (hence the lackage of new postage). But fear not, I still kept myself busy in the kitchen. So here is your cake:

One (of many) things I look forwards to every Summer are fresh figs.

juicy.

Early in my childhood, my mother planted a branch of my Uncle’s fig tree in our backyard. (That’s how you do the growing-fig-tree-thing) It flourished in the Virginia climate, and so every Summer around August we get buttloads very many figs. The season’s short, but the figs are plenty, and I like to take full advantage of the opportunity to eat fresh figs (they don’t keep well, so you don’t find them much outside of their dried form at the grocery store).

So, naturally, the best way to eat fresh figs is in a baked good.

but for real, fresh is probably equally as awesome

I got the idea for this recipe from here and edited it a bit to suit my desires.

Fresh Fig Cake 

     (alternatively, you could make “cakes” and bake the batter in muffin tins)
     Makes 1-13×9 cake or 24-“cakes”
Ingredients
– 3/4 cup your-choice sweetener (i.e., sugar, brown sugar. I used coconut palm sugar but it’s really-really good with molasses)
– 1 cup plain yogurt
– 1/4 cup canola oil
– 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
– 2 tsp vanilla
– 2 flax eggs (combine 2 tbsp flax w/6 tbsp water and beat w/fork until gelled)
– 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
– 1 1/2 cups multigrain hot cereal (or old fashioned oats)
– 1 tsp baking soda
– 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp ground sea salt
– 3 cups fresh figs, chopped (peel on)
– 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
Directions
1. Heat oven to 350˚F and spray baking dish or muffin tins with cooking spray (or use liners for the tins).
2. In a large bowl combine the sugar, yogurt, oil, apple butter, vanilla, and flax eggs. Beat on low until blended.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, multigrain cereal (or oats), baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
4. Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and beat on low  until well blended.
5. Fold in the chopped chopped figs and walnuts.
6. Spoon batter into your desired baking-container
7. Bake for 40-45 minutes in a 13×9 dish or 30 minutes in muffin tins.

mmm

ready-to-bake

Done!

After tasting this baby, I was slightly gulp disappointed. It tasted… healthy.The coconut palm sugar wasn’t quite as sweet as the cane sugar I used in the apple cake, and the recipe didn’t live up to my memory from last year of when I made it with molasses. So, I was left in a predicament: all this fig cake and no eating motivation. Enter solution: peanut butter. I spread a nice layer of peanut butter on the top of this baby, and wow! Delicious.

Super moist and super enticing.

If I had to do it over again, though, I would use molasses instead of the palm sugar… or add more palm sugar.

What was the last thing you baked?

What’s your go-to method for fixing a cooking/baking mess up?

Anything cool going on in your life?

Failure

Failure. I hate failure. Does anybody not hate failure? I imagine the scale of hating failure falls from mild distaste to extreme hatred. I realized yesterday that cooking-failure leaves me wounded. Especially when I was planning on eating a delicious dinner and it turns out to be a mushy-gross-mess.

Yesterday I had two things in mind when I thought about dinner: chickpeas and speed. So I decided to sauté some vegetables and then add diced tomatoes, chickpeas, a cooked-up grain, and some spices. Sounds good, right? Well, as it turns out, I chose the wrong grain. Or at least prepared it incorrectly. I chose to cook Kasha (toasted buckwheat) in broth. Bad, bad idea.

Doesn't it look like an alright idea?

The veggies and tomatoes looked good at least.

I should have known when the final product looked like this.

It was… mushy. It felt like a breakfast hot cereal that I had added a weird vegetable mixture and chickpeas to.  I literally couldn’t finish my bowl. All night long I was in disdain because of this dinner. It just felt like a waste of a meal. And it drove me to drinking. (OK, so maybe I was already planning on drinking with friends) 

But I didn’t throw it away. I had a goal in mind: make this better. Don’t let your food and time go to waste!

Visualize.

I decided that this dish needed (1) crunch… or at least more solidness and (2) flavor.

So I thought back to this dish I made a while ago and never posted: Chile Spiked Quinoa Pudding with Corn

The recipe called for me to mix up the ingredients and then bake it in a baking dish on 375˚F for 45 minutes. I decided this was what my dinner needed. Plus I added a couple chipotle chile peppers in adobo sauce that were called for in the above dish.

Step 1 of Dinner Improvement

I still wanted to add even more flavor and some crunch, so I roasted some cabbage and sweet potatoes and added them to the mix. 

 

And what I found was success. (Moderate success, but success nonetheless)

Great Improvement

It was a pretty solid cooking-just-for-me meal

What do you do with your kitchen disasters? (If you have them, that is)

Does a bad meal mess up your day? (Or am I just a weirdo?haha)