Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Best Boyfriend Ever

I received a text on Friday night from my boyfriend on his way home from work saying that he was bringing home yum yums. This job and his last were at restaurants and at his old job that would have meant either chicken or tofu. I was out and about, and when I arrived home I found this in my kitchen:

3 different kinds of hummus and grilled bread slices. Can I just say that hummus is an infinitely better gift to come home to than flowers. Oddly enough, his new job has enabled to me to awaken to surprise flowers as well.
Nevermind that they were leftovers from a private event (as was the hummus) and that his boss made him take them home to his girlfriend (shh...I didn't tell you that). Still, it was quite a surprise to wake up to flowers. Hummus is a way better gift though. What holidays are coming up? I need to capitalize on this idea.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Vegetarian Cooking Class

Good morning yet again! I think I have determined that daylight savings, mixed with needing to get up and water my garden, with a pinch of going to bed at a reasonable hour are all coming together to bring you (almost) daily morning updates. Weird.

About a month ago my mom surprised me by taking me to a vegetarian cooking class at this cooking store called Great News. She had told me about this store filled with cooking gadgets and also that they often held cooking classes. I was slightly disappointed when I learned that the class was not going to be hands on, but it turned out pretty great regardless and I had a lot of fun. Everything had the option of being vegan and we got to eat samples of everything made. The class was a little high on the tempeh and seitan levels but all in all, pretty good vegan food (especially for non vegans). I would love to find another vegetarian cooking class that focuses more on fruits, veggies, beans, grains and nuts. Now that would be cool. Sorry for the fairly low quality photos as I was a bad food blogger and forgot my real camera (and had to use my phone). In addition, I also forgot to take a picture of the first dish until my mom reminded me and my bowl was already cleared.

 If you can read that, it lists the menu and the venue. The first dish was a coconut milk curry corn chowder. It was really good considering how few ingredients it contained. They served it with tempeh bacon which was not a winner in my book.

Next up was fried falafels in warmed pita bread with tahini sauce and smoked paprika tomato onion relish. This was so good. And convinced me to buy smoked paprika.
Tempeh reuben with vegan cheese and spinach, mushroom and..and...something else. Can't remember now. This was just all right.

This was the star of the show. Seitan risotto bolognese with portabello mushrooms. My friend Rachel and I recreated this that week with brown arborro rice and leaving out the seitan. A lot of work, but if you have a friend in the kitchen (especially one who likes to cook) it isn't really that hard. And it is mighty delicious.
And finally, coconut pudding with crushed pineapple. Really simple and really delicious. I recreated this at home but failed on the cornstarch front and had lumpy pudding. It was salvageable though since it was sort of like rice pudding.

I did also try the coconut curry corn chowder at home but I wasn't as impressed.

Alrighty, I am off to work now. Have a great day!

Have you ever been to a cooking class?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Any Plant Experts Out There?

Good morning! Just popping in quickly to say hi and show you some pictures from a recent and a not so recent hike around Mission Trails. Saturday my friend Rachel and I embarked on a hike up Cowles Mountain. We proceeded past the summit to Pyle's Peak in a hike that ended up lasting 3 hours in probably 80 degree weather. I ended up extremely starving and a bit sun burned despite having applied sun screen but it was a fun hike.
Which brings me to this plant you see here. It was growing everywhere! It looks like a 7 foot tall asparagus stalk with stems coming out of the top which are either covered in flowers (whitish with purplish ends) or as below
With fruits that look like mini bell peppers. This plant was fascinating! There were also dead dried up old ones along the way as well. I thought perhaps someone might know what they were? Long shot I'm sure, but you never know.

As for the past hike, these are from Mission Trails heading out of Santee near the Old Mission Dam about a month or two ago.

The picture of the mini water fall is shaded pretty poorly, but I love looking at it and remembering that even though I live in a suburban area, there is still water and life to be found only a short ways away.

I hope you all have a wonderful day! I'm off to work!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Dehydrator Fun

This morning I set out to make Oh She Glows' Carrot Loaf. I was thinking about how healthy this loaf seems utilizing only maple syrup for the sugar. I got to wondering if I could replace the sugar with something less processed or more whole. I thought dates might be nice but would probably completely mess with the texture. I ended up following the recipe exactly (except I had no walnuts and so I used pecans instead), but this got me thinking about dates and how they could be used to make a sugar substitute. I have seen date sugar but it is pretty expensive. My solution? Dehydrator and either a food processor or a coffee grinder. Here's the before:
I'll get back to you with the after in about 8-12 hours. Or tomorrow.

And since I had the dehydrator out and on anyway....

Mango and banana
And an apple.