November 29, 2011

White Bean Tofu Chili and Green Chile Sauce

I like chili. A lot. I like regular tomato-based chili (oooo...I think I have a few pictures of that.)
At my baby shower, my aunt made white chicken chili and it was sooo good.

Fast-forward three years later and I've modified it a great deal. I am not a recipe writer. I'm really really bad at it. Mostly because I never measure anything. I just throw stuff in. And I either start taking photos and forget to get a photo of the finished dish, or I don't take any photos and snap a photo of the leftovers.

But this is too good not to share.

White Bean Tofu Chili

half lb of white beans
vegetable broth
1 package tofu (I like the Mori-Nu in the box)
2 heaping spoons Hatch green chile, blended
1/2 tsp cumin
salt
pepper

Normally this is where a good recipe writer/blogger would number the steps.
I really stink at that.

So here we go:

Cube tofu. I usually slice it 3 times along the long side, 4 times on the flat side, and cube it several times.





Sprinkle with cajun seasoning (as I do with all my tofu endeavors) and bake at 325 until firm and roasted brown. (I like to use the Easy Release Foil. Any other time I've tried to bake/roast tofu it's always fused to the pan)

Add white beans and vegetable broth to a large pot. I usually add only half of the vegetable broth and use water for the rest. I'm silly like that.

Add green chile and cumin and bring to a boil. Add tofu when it is ready.

Cook until beans are soft.

Green Chili Sauce (also my go-to enchilada sauce)

1 lb of roasted green chile
half a cup of soy or almond milk
2 heaping tablespoons of milled flax seeds
3 garlic cloves (We love garlic)

Put it in a blender. Blend
.

in a minute

I spent all morning up and down with Shane. Down for a nap, up for potty. Over and over and over. That kid can pee.

I'm going to go pick up kids from school.

Then I'm going to post either a White Tofu Chili recipe or our afternoon at the park.

but all of that will have to wait because Tracy just proposed to Elena.

I love Felicity.

November 28, 2011

Kitchen Tip: Baking Organization

Happy Monday!

I feel pretty good today. I'm on my third cup of coffee. That probably (certainly) has something to do with it.

Thanksgiving came and went and you probably realized one of two things:
1. I am one organized mofo
2. Holy moly! Where is the flour/sugar/cornstarch/cinnamon/oregano?! I can't find a freaking thing in this house! Arghanioxnldinfriloshbnonkjgnds

I fall somewhere in the middle; as far as life goes I'm around 1.5. In the kitchen I proudly claim 1. Boom. I have crappy crappy cabinets. No fancy pantry, just ridiculously deep cabinets (about a third of which I can't reach). Stuff hopelessly rolls or gets shoved to the back (was that peanut butter? Oh Gah! I hope that wasn't peanut butter).

When we moved a year ago, I ended up with lots of extra clear plastic bins. Bing! Is there nothing a good plastic bin can't do? Love them.

Anyway...I put all my baking stuff in one bin above my stove. Stuff I don't use all the time, but that all go together. I have a variety of flours, corn starch, baking soda, baking powder, brown sugar all in one bin! How awesome is that? I can keep it all together and it's easy to see when the spelt flour is getting low without searching through cabinets for a half used bag hidden behind something else.





 I think I'm gonna need a bigger bin.

In the bottom cabinets, I employed another box for all my spices. These are the guys that always end up rolling around to the back-lands of the cabinets. Now they are all corralled in one plastic bin. 

 I purchased a few of the small Glad throw-away storage thingies. I sometimes buy loose spices and these are okay for storing them. Not as ideal as glass jars, but I go through cumin and chile powder pretty quickly. I use a dry-erase marker to write the spice on the top of the lids and it wipes off nicely.


So there you have it. Imagine you are getting ready to make sugar cookies and all you have to pull down one bin and not search around several cabinets/drawers for everything you need. :)


November 24, 2011

Dismissing the Elephant in the Room

Since I posted last week about putting the whole photography business on hold, i feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of me. Like some one took the elephant off my shoulders.

It feels really good.

My husband has been amazingly supportive. He literally took me by the hands and urged me to get back to what I used to do; blogging and taking photos of everything. He said he's missed seeing the camera in my hand. I had no idea he would ever miss the camera. ;)

We sat down Tuesday morning and put together our Thanksgiving menu from a few cookbooks. He choose everything based on color, so I can take pictures and blog about it.

We are having:
*chickpea and sunflower burgers
*garlic mashed potatoes
*green beans
*stuffed bell peppers
*rolls
*artichokes (per Brandon's request)
*roasted chicken (my kids aren't strict vegetarians and I'm more than okay with that)
*sweet potato pie (I make a killer SPP. Non-vegan. I'll still share the recipe)
*cinnamon rolls (from scratch. I think I will call them hypocrite rolls since I'm making non-vegan rolls with a vegan buttercream frosting)


So I guess I'll be blogging about Thanksgiving per my husband's request.
For now, I have some prep work to do and Felicity isn't going to watch itself. (I can't bring myself to watch when my husband is home. I can't explain the cheesy-ness in a way he'll understand.)

November 23, 2011

Why Now?

When you know better, you do better.
~Maya Angelou


Why vegan? Why now?
I know better, so I'm trying to do better. I wish I could tell you it's about being good to animals and lowering my carbon footprint and all that stuff...but I'm not so noble. I'm vain. (Iiiiii'm so vain. I think that this blog is about me, I'm so vain)
A lot of kitchen have been inspired by this.

I feel better and even better than that...I look better. My hair and skin are so much better. Soft and not splochy. Soft is good; Splochy is bad.
Power Salad

When I look back and read some old posts I realize this has been a long time coming. I've had vegetarian phases...all my life. So slowly, since the beginning of this year, we've been phasing things out of our diet. With each success, it made the next challenge easier. Sugar, refined carbs, pasta (doesn't that make you always feel so bloated?) Roasted Goodness

So we've finally made the choice to just do it. Dairy was the hardest for me. I think the trick to eliminating milk is to find a substitute you like. You have to get that "it tastes just like regular milk! Honest!" out of your head. No, it doesn't. And that's okay. Rice milk is by far my favorite. I like soy creamer for my coffee.
3.17 019

My husband had a hard time eliminating eggs. I scramble tofu with a little salt, pepper and tumeric. He's happy.
Asparagus

So there's the short of it. We made a choice, we're sticking to it, we've stuck to it since September 1st.
Fennel and Carrots

With this week being so crazy with Thanksgiving and stuffing recipes swamping the blogs, I'll skip the soup recipes I have (yes, I made soup. Vegan soup. It's chilly out and the soup is delicious. So is the chili.) and save them for next week. So you can detox. :)
Fresh Peas Please

For now, enjoy some food p0rn. No animals were harmed in the making of this post.
Farmers Market Fruit

I love those carrots. I like dirrrrty veggies. Yay dirt!
Farmers Market Haul 7.31

Eggplant enchiladas. You know you want my green chile sauce recipe. It's vegan, has omega-3 and fiber. (PS. that is not vegan cheese.)
Eggplant Enchiladas

Sauteed squash with jalapenos and cajun spice. Yummy side dish.
Squash and Jalapeno

I've told you about this one.
Tofu Stir-Fry


Peas

This is for some upcoming soup. So delicious. I have an aversion to smooth butternut squash recipe. It reminds me of baby food.
Beginnings of Soup

November 19, 2011

Three

Friday was this guys birthday.

I have only ever thrown one birthday party for my kids. When Brandon turned four. They have yet to complain, so I'll stay with the status quo.

We had a full morning with an awards assembly and a Thanksgiving play. Caedon's science project won First Place! He was soooo happy. The night before he turned it in he was trembling, excited and nervous. We went for the open house on Thursday evening and his teacher said that he was getting an award. I figured maybe something like honorary mention or display (he had a sweet display, no pun intended on the sweet). At the awards assembly they called 3rd place, 2nd place and 1st place was Caedon. I'm so proud of him. :)
First Place Science Project!
Then, pulling out my I-desperately-need-you-to-take-a-nap (so I can finish the wedding photos that are hanging over my head like an Acme anvil) I announced it was time for a "BIIIIIIIIRTHDAY NAP!" It totally worked.

Two hours later, I had photos finished, a rested three-year-old and a long grocery list.

Kid pick up, coffee pick-me-up, photo drop-off and birthday dinner shopping.



He picked Thanksgiving cupcakes. It made him happy. I didn't have to bake. Win-Win. Plus they didn't taste half-bad.
a "puc-cake"

***I wrote this post while backing up the finished photos...and then my computer decided it needed a much deserved break. it quit on me. So I watched Felicity all day long and didn't feel guilty about it at all. A power cord later, and i'm back in business. i have some recipes to share with you...or should I wait until after Thanksgiving when everyone else is done posting their turkey/stuffing/squash recipes?

November 16, 2011

Making Myself Happy

I have one wedding left to edit.
After that is done...I'm taking my hobby back.
Enjoying what I do is far more important than making money.
Having fun is far more important than stressing out.
Feeling free of guilt is far more important than feeling guilty.
I have been stressing over deadlines that I begin to feel guilty about grocery shopping, laundry and even checking email.
I feel guilty for snapping photos of my kids when I should be doing something else.

How bad is that? Feeling guilty for my kids? No more.

I'm taking my priorities back.


Is there something that you thought would make you happy, only to find out that it really wasn't what you wanted? Please tell me I'm not alone in feeling this way.




November 5, 2011

saturday night fun

we blew up the air mattress, got in our jammies, busted out the marshmallows and are watching cartoons.


i'm busy editing photos (not the ones posted, obviously), being distracted and thinking of a way to sneak a pumpkin waffle without anyone noticing.



my favorite photo of the bunch:

sonic iced tea makes me happy. so happy i'm not even slightly temped to order a vanilla dr. pepper or a cranilla craze (have you had a cranilla craze? seriously so good. it's cranberry-vanilla-sprite. and it's pink)
ever notice how happy marshmallows make people?

what are you up to tonight? reading blogs? wasting time? doing one thing while you should be doing another?

November 3, 2011

Hello, November

This year has been going by wicked fast.

Dug Update: He is doing much better. We have some pretty special Angels in our lives (You know who you are ;-) ) and we finally figured out what was going on. There was talk of distemper (he is fully vaccinated. The vet said she's been doing this for 7 years and she's seen 4 cases of distemper, 3 of them in the last 6 months. The last case was a dog she vaccinated.) talk of botulism and of Myasthenia Gravis (MG for short). He was treated for all three (trust me, don't google distemper or botulism for canines. SCARY!) He came home looking better and within a week bulked back up.
Three weeks later, his symptoms came back. Walking funny, not stooping to drink. This and a test confirmed what we all thought, its MG.

It's all good though. We can maintain it though steroids and he'll be fine. I'm actually pretty familiar with the condition since we have a family member with it. It's a pretty rare disease and the vet was surprised when I told her I knew what it was. He will have good days and bad days (where he gets spoiled, lays around the kitchen and get lots of love from the kids; he actually enjoys it and is sad when he as a good day and I kick him out to run and play).

Luckily we have a back-up dog to keep things running smoothly and keep an eye on the neighbors. ;-) (And its chilly today so George is a grouchy. Who knew he was so touchy about the temperature?)

Vegan Update: We are now fully Vegged Out! We successfully eliminated the last few things and are two months animal free. My hair, skin and body feel sooooo much better (for reals, within a week my hair was softer and shinier. It's also growing like mad!). I lost 10 lbs just from eliminating dairy! We're almost completely gluten-free. That's completely by choice, we have no allergy to gluten but I do think my husband has a serious sensitivity to it. When he has gluten he feels sluggish, begins wheezing and I notice the whites of his eyes become less brilliant and bloodshot.

We also got a juicer and I LOVE IT! My favorite juice is carrot, ginger, beet, pear and kale. I've discovered that I LOVE beets and have to resist singing "I've got the beet, I've got the beet, I've got the beet. Yeah! I got it!" every time I'm at the store. Have you ever cut open a fresh beet? The color is just Oh My God gorgeous.

They should name a beet colored crayon that. "What color is that?" "Oh, it's Oh My God Gorgeous."

I feel like this is the only place we're I can talk about being vegan openly without defending our decision. I'm surprised that what we eat offends so many people! (Mostly my mom) I'm so grateful to all the vegan/vegetarian blogs out there. It makes me feel a lot less "weird" and "eccentric."

The kids are more-or-less vegetarian. They still have milk (they are not fans of soy or rice milk) pizza with cheese and occasionally ribs or steak tacos (they request meat about once a month). Caedon's teacher pulled me aside and told me that she noticed he eats all the fruit and veggies first and makes faces at the nuggets. She's never seen a kid snub chicken nugget day. I should be better about packing their lunches. I'll put that down for the next challenge.

Overall Update: We're doing well. I'm still trying to finish up a wedding I shot last month. I don't know why it's been so rough to get it done. There are a ton of photos (not an exaggeration).
Soccer is finally over. It was a short but busy season.
Halloween was fun. We met up with some friends who are also new the area, went trick-or-treating downtown and went for pizza afterwards.

I was accompanied by a very adorable Luigi and Captain Jack Sparrow. Oh that wig! I am so glad I don't have girls! If I had to comb/brush hair like that every day I'd go crazy!


I am not a "crafty" person. I see all these amazing things to make on Pinterest and think "hey, that looks like something I could make." Then this happened:


 I lack creativity and good scissors. I marked the eye holes with lip gloss for Pete's sake! And they still came out crooked!! (It's a good thing I can cook.)
In my defense I had less than an hour to feed the kids, get them in costumes and cut eye-holes in a sheet. He was happy, I was embarrassed and we got candy.


He only wore it for about 20 minutes, ripped it off and went trick-or-treating in his normal clothes. He has insisted on wearing it around the house for the last 2 days though.

So that's all I have for now. Hopefully it won't be another month before I get back here. :)