Sometimes, when my husband is in Montana and I’m in Oakland, I cook myself up a delightful tilapia dish, complete with spinach salad, brown rice, and a nice glass of wine:
Other times, I take advantage of the fact that no one’s watching me and I make strawberry-blueberry-banana pancakes for dinner:
Also of note during this week of solitude: I tried a 24-hour fast to see if I could do it, and because I wondered how it would make me feel (I could indeed do it, and it made me feel a little bit sick/sleepy but great the next day), AND I saw a giant wild turkey when I came out of my apartment this morning to walk my dogs. It was just strutting around like it lived here. We’re a long way from the Oakland hills, so I don’t know how it got down here, unless people are now keeping turkeys as pets.
I’m not ashamed to say that I’m a devoted fan of Laughing Cow Cheese, and it has even changed my attitude toward pasta. I used to keep pasta around only for a cheap backup dinner, but now I gladly make it, and I think it has something to do with how awesome a little wedge of Laughing Cow tastes when you mix it into some red sauce. Yeah, it sounds a little gross, not to mention low-brow, but it’s truly delicious.
Today I sauteed some onions, butternut squash and bell peppers with some olive oil and fresh thyme. As usual, all photos taken with my crappy camera phone:
I added it to whole wheat pasta, along with some red sauce and a wedge of the magical fromage:
And paired it with a spinach and fried tofu salad:
I’m not sure if this is remotely interesting, but as a relatively healthy person, who’s gone the full food spectrum from meat eater to vegetarian to vegan, and now to fish-and-sometimes-chicken-eating-‘vegetarian,’ I thought I’d take stock of what is almost always in my fridge. This doesn’t include things I buy for ‘nice’ dinners, like tilapia, more expensive vegetables/fruits, fancy cheese, or other stuff like that. These are my everyday must-haves:
- Soy milk
- Cereal (Malt-o-Meal, various Trader Joe’s cereals)
- Baby spinach
- Earth Balance (natural margarine)
- Laughing Cow cheese
- TJ’s whole wheat water crackers
- Shredded cheese or slices of Colby
- Plain or vanilla yogurt
- Black, peppermint and green tea
- Whole wheat pasta
- Crystal hot sauce
- Dark chocolate
- Firm tofu
- Bell peppers
- Black beans
- Cottage cheese
- Canned/jar peaches
- Canned tuna
- Pasta sauce
- Whole wheat bread or english muffins
It’s weird to look at how much dairy I consume, given that I was a vegan from the ages of 13-20. I threw in the towel right around the time I was about to leave for a semester in Ghana, where I knew veganism would be a deathwish, and I never looked back. Except that I almost never buy milk or use butter. I actually prefer the taste of soy milk and Earth Balance (which, if you’ve never tried it, you should – it pains me to know that I spent seven years as a vegan being unaware of the fake buttery delights of the EB). Milk and butter have great vegan alternatives, but sadly cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese (my new obsession) do not. Oh well. Honestly though, dairy foods like that are to me about convenience and price. If I was a super talented cook or had an unlimited budget, I would probably shop at Whole Foods and maintain a gourmet vegan diet based on the menu at Millennium. But since I’m broke and sometimes uninspired in the kitchen department, I rely on things like cottage cheese and canned pears for something to look forward to.
This evening was supremely lazy. I started it all off with a late afternoon nap. I am able to fall asleep during the day approximately twice a year, so this was quite a feat. It probably had to do with the fact that I pulled a muscle in my back a few days ago, and sleeping the last few nights has been rough at times, and downright torturous at others. There’s nothing like waking up to muscles convulsing in pain. Thankfully, after two and a half days of not being able to twist at the waist or bend down to pick things up off of the floor, I appear to be on the mend.
I made some amazing kidney bean curry for dinner (kind of a mix between curry and chili), the recipe for which I found over at Smitten Kitchen. Everything that woman cooks/posts about looks unbelievably delectable. I had a bit of a mishap with the green chili I chopped up — I always manage to rub my eyes before washing my hands, but this time it was worse — the whole apartment seemed to fill up with a toxic spicy air. I couldn’t stop coughing and blowing my nose, and my husband sneezed about eighteen times in a row. He actually asked me if I’d used the bear spray indoors (we keep a few bottles around – not for bears but for the crackheads of Oakland). Luckily with windows open and some coconut milk added to the chili, I was able to avoid further pain to the sinuses or taste buds. Paired with some too-sweet-but-tasty cornbread, it was a delicious success.
That was about the most exciting thing that happened all evening. I guess I’m officially old and boring.
I’m not much of a baker these days, but I like to make pies for events like birthdays, and of course, Thanksgiving. Last night we had my parents over for dinner to celebrate their birthdays, which are on the 6th and 9th (by the way, EVERYONE I know seems to be born in the first two weeks of March… what’s the deal? I had three birthday parties on my calendar this weekend, and one was for two people). I made my now-famous (in certain circles) tilapia with white wine sauce, the recipe for which which I got here, and for dessert, the most amazing frozen key lime pie ever. Seriously, check that link out, make the pie, and let me know how much you loved it.
I substituted soy milk for condensed milk, and it worked perfectly. It’s plenty sweet. My only other tip is to make the graham cracker crust extra thick, because there is nothing more delicious than lots and lots of graham cracker crust, once it’s melded a bit with the pie filling and taken on a slightly gooey feel. The frozen thing might seem strange at first (and it’s certainly a little bit icy/crunchy) but you’ll get over that as soon as the delicious sweet lime flavor takes your tastebuds hostage. Also, this pie isn’t much of a looker – the end product is custardy-colored with little bits of green zest floating in it. But don’t let that discourage you – it’s effing delicious. I’m not even a pie person and I just had a leftover slice with lunch. (Update: two days in a row). Ah yes, this is why I don’t bake.
Today has been one of the most frustratingly unproductive days of my life. I’m past the honeymoon phase with graduate school, and into the heart of the marriage, as it were. Not having other distractions like a job is starting to work against me. I can spend all day staring at my computer screen, trying to write a paper while being distracted by any number of blogs, gossip and news sites I feel the need to check compulsively. Fie on you, Google Reader! I was a better student back in 2004, when I’d never tasted your evil fruits or experienced your endless potential for wasting time!
Well, at least I was able to rip myself away from my computer’s hypnotic gaze to make myself a square meal or two. I had some leftover brown rice (cooked with vegetable stock – I always add tomato paste or stock or something like that to make it more flavorful), zucchini, red pepper, eggs, shallots, and tofu, so I decided to fry them up:
Hm… it really doesn’t look like much (no thanks to my crappy camera phone), but believe me, it’s semi-wholesome and it hit the spot. Here’s how I made it.
- Slice a few shallots and a handful of veggies up very finely and sauté them in olive oil on high heat until they are lightly browned
- Dice up some tofu into small squares and add it to the mix
- Add a bit more oil, then add a few cups of cooked rice (I used brown)
- Cook until rice is slightly browned
- Stir in two eggs and mix thoroughly
- Cook until eggs are done, and top with soy sauce
So easy and so quick! But a LOT easier if you have a non-stick pan. And like so many of the best foods, it’s carb-based 🙂 But if you make it with brown rice, you can pretend it’s health food.