December 29, 2011

Thursday

I just want to start off by saying that we had a wonderful Christmas. Now get out. I'm ready to de-Christmas my house. Out out out!

 I spent all day wearing an ass-sized crater into the couch.
 Over the last two days I've watched all 8 Harry Potter movies. Neville, wow. Who woulda thunk? Whoa.
 Borrowed book from the library. I'm about 6 chapters in and it's very good.
 My couch buddy. They're the *new* Kleenex cool touch ones. I prefer the Puffs with Vicks. #firstworldproblems
 Lunch of veggie spring rolls. It's been so long since I've had food from the frozen section. They hit the spot, I didn't have to think hard to make myself lunch. Win.
 Then I ate my feelings. I'm sick and I needed some comfort. I'm alone this week, so no one is here to take care of me. I totally used the breadstick thingies to scoop out the nutella.
 Hello luvvvr. So many horizontal places to take a nap.
 Have you tried this tea? I like a lot of different teas, but this and chai are what I always keep around. I had probably 3 cups today.
 Right now we're watching this documentary.

Dive!: Living Off America's Waste


"Digging into the hidden recesses of the American food industry, this eye-opening documentary reveals the appalling amount of edible, nutritious goods that are thrown away -- wasted -- every day in a nation where millions of citizens still go hungry." via Netflix
If you can get passed the first few minutes (please don't sit down with a sandwich to watch) it's actually a pretty good documentary.

I tried to watch The Vampire Diaries, honest I tried. 
Skip The Romantics too. Unless you feel like watching an hour long J. Crew commercial.

December 28, 2011

Wednesday

Hope everyone had an excellent Holiday!

We did. :)
I got everything I wanted...plus something I didn't even know I wanted but once I got it in my hot little hand there was no way I was going to give it back. Ever.
Part of the cool kids now.

The UPS elves were very good to us. I pretty much did all of my shopping online in my pajamas  (as opposed to those at Walmart in their pajamas, ahem) and went out two days before Christmas for one last grab for stocking stuffers (books, socks, underwears, toothbrushes, hot wheels and legos).

Then we didn't go out for 3 days. It snowed and snowed and snowed. So we just hung around the house.



Monday I drove the kids half-way to Grandma's house so they can sleepover...for a week!

My nieces were with my parents, so almost all the Grandkids were finally all together in one place. That doesn't happen very often. We were missing one. 
Misfits

Brat Pack



Of course now that the kids are gone I feel under the weather; sniffly, achy, stuffy head, sore throat, itchy ears.

So Harry Potter marathon it is. :)
With spicy cajun popcorn.
And coffee.

Lots of coffee.



December 14, 2011

Roasted Cauliflower and Garlic Soup {recipe}

I found this recipe where I usually find all things, Pinterest. When I followed the link, it took me to Cook Like a Champion's blog. Beautiful. I can't wait to go back and read through more of their blog. 

The recipe posted wasn't vegan, but what a fantastic recipe to veganize.


It made a filling, rounded soup. The flavors were so full and it was simple to make. I made it once, then made it again and again. I tweaked it each time and this last time I really nailed it. And the kids liked it. Win.

I used two heads of cauliflower (one large, one smaller) and two heads of garlic. Yes, that much garlic. When you roast garlic an amazing thing happens to it. It's not sharp, it rounds out and mellows. For our tastes, the modified recipe works for us.

Multiply this photo times two.

Cut off the cauliflower florets and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper to roast. Place whole garlic heads on the roasting pan and top with a bit of olive oil as well.

Roast cauliflower for 25-30 minutes (check it and turn it half-way through). Remove from pan and let garlic roast for an additional 5 minutes. Let garlic cool.
When the garlic is cooled, squeeze it out of the paper. I did a bad job of it. They make it look so easy. With a SHARP knife, remove the root (bottom) of the garlic. Pinching the top of the garlic, squeeze down and the cloves should pop out. (To remove the smell from your hands, rub your hands on the stainless steel sink before you wash them)
This is where I stop taking pictures again. I get busy cooking and forget about the camera. Whoops.
2 carrots, diced
1 leek
We like leeks. Leeks are good.
In a heavy pot, sweat the leeks and carrots. Let them get some slight color on them...and the bottom of the pan.
Combine salt, pepper, paprika and dried thyme.
You also need 1 tbls flour (I used white whole wheat. It's what I could reach)
After the veggies sweat, add in spices and flour.
Let the flour pick up some of the color.
Then add 1/2 cup of water to de-glaze the bottom of the pan.
Scrape up the bottom of the pan and get all that flavor goodness.
Now more steps I don't have pictures of. 
Add cauliflower and roasted garlic to the pot.
Throw in 4 cups of water or vegetable broth (I use water, the soup has enough flavor on it's own. Plus it's becoming harder to find veggie broth around town.)

Using an immersion blender (I used to have one...somewhere) or the blender in batches, blend the soup to your desired consistency. I like mine not so smooth. 

After it's blended to your likeness, add some parsley (fresh or dried, I used dried, I don't judge) and soy creamer. Yup, like the kind for your coffee. Use the original, obviously. I don't think the soup would taste so good with vanilla creamer.
I used 2/3 cup soy creamer and heat through.
It's fantastic.
The kids loved it.

Roasted Cauliflower and Garlic Soup

2 heads of cauliflower (one large, one smaller)
2 heads of garlic
Olive oil
2 carrots, diced
1 leek, cleaned and cut
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tbls flour
1/2 cup water
4 cups water (or vegetable broth)
2/3 cup soy creamer
1 tbls fresh or dried parsley

Heat oven to 400. 
Cut off the cauliflower florets and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper to roast. Place whole garlic heads on the roasting pan and top with a bit of olive oil as well.
Roast cauliflower for 25-30 minutes (check it and turn it half-way through). Remove from pan and let garlic roast for an additional 5 minutes. Let garlic cool.
When the garlic is cooled, squeeze it out of the paper. With a SHARP knife, remove the root (bottom) of the garlic. Pinching the top of the garlic, squeeze down and the cloves should pop out.
In a heavy pot, sweat the leeks and carrots. Let them get some slight color on them...and the bottom of the pan, approximately 10 minutes.
Add in spices and flour.
Let the flour pick up some of the color.
Then add 1/2 cup of water to de-glaze the bottom of the pot.
Add cauliflower and roasted garlic.

Add in 4 cups of water or vegetable broth.
Using an immersion blender or the blender in batches, blend the soup to your desired consistency. 
After it's blended to your likeness, add some parsley and soy creamer. 
Heat through and serve.


December 12, 2011

Kitchen Tip: Keep It Handy

You probably did some grocery shopping over the weekend, didn't you? I bet you might have bought some stuff to make salad. But when you get down to it, making a salad can be kind of a pain, huh? All the washing, chopping, prepping and oooo...is that pumpkin pie? It's much easier to slice a piece of pie than dice tomato, cucumber, cabbage and lettuce. 

Next thing you know, your kitchen looks like a cool-whip/pie crime scene, you feel bloated and your jeans won't button.
Maybe that's just me.

I saw a really cute idea on pinterest where the salads were prepped in mason jars (everything on pinterest is made with mason jars, isn't it?) and the dressing on the bottom and the lettuce on top. I don't think that far ahead, but I like the idea of having prepped stuff on hand.

I don't like the pre-washed bagged lettuce. It scares me. I hate when I buy it and it seems okay on the outside, but the leaves on the inside are slimy. Ewwwww! So you buy the lettuce to prep it yourself, only you can't use a regular knife on it because the blade will oxidize the lettuce and now you have brown on the edges of your lettuce.

I bought this handy plastic knife on amazon for less than $5. It's serrated and awesome.

Pretty cool, huh?
I have a large Tupperware that I use for my salad lettuce. I found it at a yard sale. It's a total throwback. The lid fit nicely and it's big so I don't have to squish my lettuce. My husband has a thing about squished lettuce.

My lovely lovely greens. This weeks were romaine and green leaf. Rinsed and ready to go.
Pretty.
I put 2 paper towels in the bottom of my Tupperware. It helps with the moisture. I think. I could be wrong. I'm sure I'm doing it all wrong, but this is what works for me.
I chop off all my rinsed lettuce and toss it in the bowl.
I grab another paper towel and mix it around in the bowl.
Just to get some of that additional moisture out of the lettuce.
Then I top it all off with a new dry paper towel.
This keeps my lettuce for a week. It has totally cut down on our wasted food. I don't throw out nearly as much spoiled/wasted/unused vegetables anymore. (I suppose you could use a salad spinner thing, I had one and it took up a lot of space and the knob/spinner broke. If you have one and it works for you, Rock on! Please tell me which one you have/recommend.)

Another big prep I do is all our salad ingredients. I chop/slice/dice/grate all our veggies. Chopped tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, shredded red cabbage, grated carrot and diced radishes (also cooked quinoa and lentils). I was using my food processor with the grate wheel on it, then I dropped the bowl and it shattered. This weeks prep took a little longer than normal. 

It's all totally worth it when your husband makes his own salad.

December 11, 2011

Friday...on Sunday

It has been one of those weeks.

Monday and Tuesday were so cold, I holed up in the kitchen near the oven to keep warm.
Monday night I went to pick up a pizza for the kids and my car door was frozen shut.
I hopped in the car after coaxing it open and let the car warm up for a while.
Then half-way to Little Caesar's (they have drive-thru pizza for $6. Don't judge me) I realized my window was frozen shut and I'd have to go in.
IN MY PAJAMAS.
Who have I become? Driving out in the snow for cheap, drive-thru pizza?
IN MY PAJAMAS.

Tuesday I hung out in front of the computer with some books.


Wednesday we finally ventured out of our bubble, armed with a Sam's gift card my mom sent to us for a wedding gift. We agreed that the money wasn't going to be used for food or anything like that. We were gonna pick something just for us. After 2 hours, we picked up...ready for it...I don't think you can handle it...SLIPPERS. Yup. The only thing we found that was truly for ourselves were slippers. It's slightly pathetic, but it was also nice to think that anything we needed, we already have. Anything we wanted, we already have.

So we did the responsible thing, grabbed a movie (Hangover 2 "I'm a stay-at-home son" funniest line of the movie) some dog food, pomegranates, avocados and a few various other things and still had $50 on the card. So we got...ready for it...I don't think you can handle it...a BLENDER.


We still have something like $15 and we agreed to spend it all. COFFEE.
So we blended up some soup, ate some pomegranate for dessert, made coffee and watched our new movie while wearing our new slippers.
We're dorks.



 When we got home and checked the mail, this is what we found:


I bought a subscription for my husband and they only issue 8 magazines a year. I'm pretty sure they didn't ship it this way. I swear our mailman is like the one from Funny Farm.


I spent Thrusday in bed with Shane. We hung out and watched movies and I re-read Island of the Blue Dolphins. And I posted an awesome recipe for Stuffed Peppers. (They are really good) We had pick-your-soup night since I had leftovers. It was way better than having left-over night. Everyone settling down with a warm bowl of soup.
 Island of the Blue Dolphins

Today was spent grocery shopping, grabbing things for the kids classrooms and just an over all feeling of blah.
I didn't get my cup of coffee until 4:30. It was a looong day.
 He actually ate the carrot. It was awesome.

When I went out to feed the dogs, the moon was out. No eclipse yet, but it was nice and full.

Did you catch the eclipse Friday night? 

December 10, 2011

Dogurday

I know that today is Caturday...so I'm blog-bombing Caturday with some dogs. Lazy dogs. 

Dug and George are twins. They come from the same litter. We picked out Dug when he was a week old (You can read all about Dug here). When he came home at 6 weeks, I tried to smuggle George home. My husband was having no part of that. Plus we had a smaller yard then too. 
We got George in May. We call him our used-but-new-to-us dog.
He was kind of a trouble dog. He has a record with the Dona Ana Animal Control. 

They are golden retrievers, and they work hard. They spend all day...they chase...and they, uhhhh...
What do my dogs do all day?

Dug has a slight excuse. His back legs still don't work quite right. He has good days and bad days. This was actually a good day. 

George is very busy keeping the ground still. It's very hard work. Chuck Norris can't do it all alone, you know.

Dug is obviously doing... something.

George still keeping the Earth still.








Who says cats lay around more than dogs?