Monday, January 31, 2011

Corn Chowder from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest Cookbook

A little something to tempt your taste buds on a cold, cold day.

Recognize that handwriting?  This is from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest Cookbook.  It's all hand written.  How cool is that?  I feel like I've written about this book before, but I can't find any references so I'm writing about it again.

This is my mom's copy...a gift from my grandmother to my mother when she was 2 months pregnant with me back in the early 80's.  It's a vegetarian cookbook and I believe its from the author who also wrote the Moosewood Cookbook, which I've used for a banana bread recipe in the past.

Anyhow, my mom gave this to me when I was visiting her and showing off my copy of Appetite for Reduction.  I was more then happy to have another vegetable oriented cookbook!  Especially for free.

This recipe starts like many others, with some onions and celery.
Next of course comes some delicious chopped up red bell pepper.  I recently ran out of the red bell peppers from our summer garden (I chopped and froze a lot of peppers), so this one was acquired on a trip to Whole Foods.

This recipe called for fresh corn, but as I made this in Cincinnati in January, alas, we are out of fresh corn.  Instead I used a bag of frozen corn from the market.  Mix this in with the other ingredients and cook down a little.  See the spices on top?  Basil from our summer garden as well.  YUM.

Next is my favorite step for soup.  My favorite soups always seem to require a little blending.  So, I put half of these goodies in the blender.


The last step is to make the soup a little creamy.  This soup called for condensed milk, though I'm sure you could easily veganize it using soymilk or something similar. 
Here is the final picture.  Terrific, delicious, homemade corn chowder.  Definitely a winning recipe.

This recipe made 4 servings, which were all lovingly consumed in a 2 day period.  :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Blind Lemon

Do you know that I've never really 'gone out' in Mt. Adams before?  I had the impression that it was a secret haven for jerky college boys, so I never really went there.  My roommates have been trying to get me to go up there for a few years now and I've always escaped the invite.  Until the Sunday prior to Martin Luther King day.  I have been working a whole lot and just started grad school, so my off hours are definitely valuable.  But I really wanted to visit a friend's place for her birthday.

After her birthday, the plan was to visit The Blind Lemon.  Recognizing that I have no idea what it'll be like up there, my roommates agree to my request that we be home by midnight.  Little did I know that I would be having so much fun I wouldn't want to go home!

Prior to the above photo being taken, we stopped by our friend's house for a few cocktails.
I wasn't able to get a good picture, but you can see Queen City Steel from my friend's front porch!  I am too excited about that fact to care about the picture quality, so here it is.

I got a number of interesting pictures outside the bar itself.  It certainly seems to have a lot of character.
Should I add Mother Yam and Father Yam to this list?

I thought the entryway was a bit scary.  You have to go down a very narrow stairwell to get in.  It's so small and cozy in in the bar that it almost seems like you are going below deck on a ship.

Nice napkins, of course.  :)

We ordered a bottle of Chateau St. Michelle Riesling, which is a delicious sweet white wine.

The bartender has apparently been here for like 40 years.  After I posted about this visit on Facebook, my parents told me that The Blind Lemon was the first bar that they visited when they moved to Cincinnati in the 1970's.  My mom was 9 months pregnant and got carded!  heh.  Guess they figured she might be drinking?  I wonder if the same bartender...hmm..  I didn't get carded.  :)

I took a few more pictures of friends that were out, but I don't want to display them on the blog without talking to them first...I'll leave you with one last picture...

I had a really nice seat at the bar right in front of a little fireplace.  How cute!!  These copper pans and tea kettles were hanging all over the place and made for a nice ambiance.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tracy Walker at College Hill Coffee Company

Every once in a while I manage to steal away from work, home, and school and go do something fun.  I had my first visit to College Hill Coffee Company, with the intent to watch Tracy Walker and Friends perform.  This is truly an all ages grandmother meets with ladies from a church group here.

I have driven by on multiple occasions, but I don't think I've ever actually gone inside for whatever reason.  Its not a super huge place, and Tracy Walker fans were out in force, so there was very limited seating.

Below Zero saw that I RSVP'd to attend, and shot me a message to ask if I wanted to hang out and watch the show together.  She recommended we get there early to make sure we could get good seats.  Well...we got there a half hour before the performance was scheduled to begin and there was only one seat left!  Reluctant to stand for the next three hours during the show, we took the seat....behind this big shelf.  :(

See my leg?  lol.  We were not able see the show from here.  However...I did find myself craving some maple syrup!

College Hill Coffee Co. has some delicious desserts, so we took a peek at a few by the front counter before placing our order.  Below Zero picked out two yummy looking truffles with a bottomless coffee to compliment, since there was an impending third shift to be worked (not by me, fortunately).  I selected a deep dish apple pie and a hot chocolate.

B.Z. and I hung out on the loveseat and chit chatting through most of the performance, since we weren't able to actually see the show.  Occasionally one of us would stop the other to listen to a favorite part of a favorite song.  There were some interesting looking things available for purchase surrounding our little hideout.  I really want some of these socks.  My grandmother mentioned them when I told her I'd visited here.

Super hip bags.  Perhaps just the kind I need to transport my books to and fro during grad school?  I didn't buy one though.

Towards the end of the evening we snuck out of our hide-away and I grabbed a couple pictures of the band.

This was a fun night.  Tasty pie, good conversation, good music, and plenty of stuff to look at.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Five: 5 Silly Things I've Done!

Five Silly Things I've Done!

1.  Participated in the Great Ohio River Swim (twice now!)
2.  Mixed bleach and ammonia at an age when I knew better but just forgot
3.  Driven much faster then the speed limit on a holiday weekend
4.  Not remembered what poison ivy looked like
5.  Believed my best friend when she convinced me to go airborne over a bump in the sidewalk with my bike


What silly things have you done?

Trader Joe's Peanut Flour=Happy Yam

I recently discovered the joy that is known as Trader Joe's Peanut Flour.  I've been reading about it online on blogs for a while, but I didn't have much reason to go buy it.  I typically don't visit Trader Joe's because the one here is really close to Kenwood Mall and the traffic is much to congested around there.

However, I was tempted by a recipe posted on Daily Garnish, called Healthy Peanut Sauce and Tofu Marinade

I love peanut sauce, but the fat and calories get me I don't get to enjoy it as much as I would like.

Enter:  Trader Joe's Peanut Flour
I held it up in front of this photo to help you understand the scope of its awesomeness.  Comparable with Vincent Van Gogh.  Tiny package?  This puppy was vacuumed sealed to the max!  I think it would be easier to break out of prison then to get another one of these open!
Don't be fooled by those scissors.  They did not help very much.  >(

Anywho, Peanut Flour:

Its essentially peanuts that are compressed until the oil (i.e. fat) comes out.  Then they grind it up.  This sounds pretty boring, and like something you would only use when making cookies.  But wait!

You can make it into low calorie, low fat peanut butter.  Just add water.

No really, you just add water.  As much or as little as you want!

Or, soy milk if you really want.

ZOMG.  Delicious.

I didn't end up taking any pictures of the peanut sauce when I tried it on the tofu.  It was pretty darn good.  Mostly what I've been making is this.  Times 1000x.
As a side note...see that salt in the picture?  Peanut Flour is not salted.  So, you should salt it if you want a true peanut butter experience.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Scarlet Barley (eeew...)

I've been making recipes from my new cookbook.  So far I've found a few really great ones and a couple horrible ones..  This post is about Scarlet Barley, which is barley with shredded beets mixed in.

I've been trying to find ways to incorporate more beets in my diet, but I struggle with it.  I find their flavor on the salad bar to be pretty good.  But in the recipes I've tried...I just don't like them.  Too much of an earthy taste.

Will not be making this one again.  I didn't even eat it...just tossed it out!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Appetite for Reduction: Redemption (Tortilla Soup)

I haven't been cooking vegan deliciousness very much lately.  I was super busy with the end of the year.  Between working a lot of overtime, traveling, visiting with family, and making non-vegan food, I didn't have much of a chance to cook out of my new book, Appetite for Reduction.

I was also struggling with some motivation...the last few things I made from the book turned out horribly.  That all changed this weekend.  I had a weekend at home, with limited responsibilities.  So, I got down to some good old fashioned vegan cooking!

First on the menu was a soup for Sunday supper.  I decided to make Tortilla Soup, complete with crushed tortilla chips. 

You start off with onions, jalapenos, and green bell pepper.  The recipe called for a poblano pepper, which I adore but forgot to purchase (and I forgot pinto beans too!).  Luckily my freezer was there to save the day with some frozen green bell pepper.  I wonder if I grew this pepper in my garden this summer?  Hard to tell.

After that had a chance to cook up a little, I mixed in some spices like cumin, minced garlic, and some spicy hot red chili flakes.  These were optional, but I think they are a necessity for this recipe.  I don't think it would have been as good without it.
My favorite part of this recipe was adding in a can of whole peeled tomatoes.  The directions told you to break them up with your fingers.  I did, and it was super fun.  Here is a picture of everything above, plus some finger crushed tomatoes and some crushed baked tortilla chips.
Here is a picture of my kitchen, with most of my pantry supplies out on the counter top.  It got pretty crowded in there for a minute!  I was also trying to make some vegan cornbread, but it was gross and ended up in the can.  The corn bread recipe was from VegWeb.
I also have an island that juts out from the right of that space.  I typically reserve that for laptop land (One to view recipes on and one for Skype), but occasionally I will use it for cooking space.  Particularly if someone is helping.  :)  It's perfect for someone to sit at and chop.

Enough stalling!  The soup is ready.  Yum.  More baked tortilla chips crumbled on top.

Cornbread in trash quickly after this photo was taken.  This recipe made 6 servings at 270 calories each.  Not bad!  I got it into some tupperware to take to work for lunches this week or to eat for dinner.

This was a good quality Tortilla Soup recipe and I will definitely be making it again. 

Changes from original recipe:
-I didn't have pinto beans on hand (I don't really care for them that much), and forgot to buy them at the store, so I used Dark Red Kidney Beans instead
-I used dried cilantro instead of fresh because I'm a cheap-o
-I used green bell pepper instead of poblano pepper.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Visit to Columbia, SC

I had the pleasure of spending New Years Eve with my man in Columbia, where he is temporarily residing.

There were a couple great highlights besides the holiday itself...We had a lovely visit to the Columbia Zoo and had a fancy brunch at Motor Supply Company Bistro.

Here is a lovely turkey that someone saved around Thanksgiving
And....because this is mostly a food blog, my post would not be complete without pictures of our delicious brunch.  We ordered two items off the menu and shared them.

French toast with walnuts and fruity maple syrup

Grits with scrambled eggs and bacon...we also had some sausage gravy on the side.
What better to finish off a delicious meal then a dessert?  They had dark chocolate something or another, and creme brulee.  We picked the creme brulee.
The meal was served in reasonable proportions.  We had enough to eat but weren't stuffed.  I like that.

Yum.  And that's all I have to say about that.  :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Water Bottles!

Behold my beautiful new water bottle, purchased during a lovely sale at Park + Vine.  

On my way home from work during the week after Christmas, I stopped in and bought a small, blue, 9 ounce bottle (yam sized)...I knew I wanted a bigger one, but I really didn't want the white color, which was all that was left.  

I slept on it overnight and decided I wanted a big one immediately, no matter what color!  Luckily I spied a green one in the display behind the register when I was checking out and the nice salesgirl was happy to trade me colors.  :)
This one is pretty big, and fills up with 22 ounces. 

Umm...yay for sales!  Park + Vine was having a 20 or maybe 25% off sale that week.  It was nice because I was planning on purchasing one of these anyway.  Just gave me some extra incentive.

My yam sized bottle caused quite the kerfluffle at the TSA checkpoint on my way back from a recent trip!  I travel enough to know that you can't bring drinks through the checkpoint.  

I generally dislike bottled water...Dasani tastes funny (salty?) and I consider airport bottled water to be too expensive.  I have no problem filling up a reusable bottle for free in the airport bathroom.

On the way back from my trip, I was pulled aside for additional screening.  While I was getting a frisky pat down from an agent, another TSA worker grabbed my laptop bag and told me he would need to do additional screening.  I very calmly and politely told him that, "When I am done with THIS additional screening, I will be right over."

I got a couple dirty looks from a few passengers that thought I was being a pain in the butt.  To be honest, I was being a bit of a pain.  But I co-operated after I was done being sassy.

You should have seen the look on this fellow's face when he pulled out my water bottle.  I know he wasn't quite sure what it was.  Also, the weight of the glass must make it feel like its got some water in it.  I truly believe that he was disappointed to find it was empty.  After a quick test for explosives (It tested negative, of course), I was on my way.

This was very amusing, as this was my first trip with my fancy new water bottle.

All silly stories about TSA aside, I want to focus on the cool new water bottle I have now!

I will leave you with a blurb from the LifeFactory website, as their commitment to non-toxicity is what attracted me to their water bottle in the first place.

"To ensure safety, all of our products are made from materials that are free of BPA, phthalates, PVC, polycarbonate, lead and latex. No compromises. Glass offers the best taste, is the safest material to drink from and is built to last a lifetime."

You'll be happy to know that I drank 3 full 22 ounce bottles of water during my 11 hour work day yesterday.  That's a lot of water!  It's just so easy to drink out of this baby that I couldn't help draining it down my parched throat.

Now, off to the ladies room I go...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Yam's Best of 2010

2010 was a pretty big year for me.  Was it for you?

-Started training for the Flying Pig (FULL!) first full marathon
-Became known among my co-workers for my weird green smoothies
-I receive an email solicitation to join the CIA.  I don't answer

-I attempt to grow a Chia-Pet
-I fail to grow a Chia-Pet
-I run 10 miles in a foot of snow.
-I slip on the ice on my way to a job interview at my job and mangle my knee.  I manage to calm myself down and perform awesome in the interview
-I get the job!

-Started a new job within my company.  An awesome leap forward in my career
-Ran 18 consecutive miles for the first time ever. 
-Tripped over a huge hunk of stupid concrete sidewalk while training for marathon.  Fell very hard.  Managed to get up before anyone noticed :)

-Active Release Technique guy says, "Your adductors are wrecked!"  Little do I know that this is baaaad foreshadowing for my marathon/marathon recovery
-Took an American on a date to Spring Grove Cemetery.  Springs meeting with grandmother and roommate.  Did not get asked for second date...
-Visited the Harley Davidson Museum!

-Ran the Flying Pig Marathon and finished!
*Might not have made it if it were not for the loving support of my friends and family, including my mother who ran 5 miles with me when I was ready to give up.
-Bought myself a giant pink futon cover as a reward for completing the Pig
-Got a speeding ticket for going much too fast (in the car!)

-Took a Russian to a cemetery on a date.  Did not get asked for second date...
-Gained ownership of a 40 gallon fish tank and Thomas, the noisiest cat known to mankind.
-Started a garden in the backyard!

-Made bad choices and got poison ivy that would just not quit...required trip to urgent care :(
-Saturday July 24th-Performed very poorly in the Great Ohio River Swim.
-had my first date with my awesome boyfriend :) after the River Swim

-Realized I would not be able to run a 10 mile race in October and gave up my registration to a friend.  The first time missing that race in three years.
-Visited silly hotel in Wisconsin and stay in hotel room with bunk beds...hmmm...
-Visited an orthopedist and decided not to go back

-Celebrated my given birthday at Oktoberfest in Main Strasse
-Sent random messages to facebook regarding mustaches and hot dogs that I don't remember...
-Decide to skip Oktoberfest Zinzinnati since I am still recovering from Oktoberfest Main Strasse

-Celebrated my chosen birthday at our annual Halloween costume party
-Wore a penguin suit into a gas station and bought ice cream while the clerk giggled
-Had an amazing psychic reading.  The best I've had, to date.

- Mourned CELEBRATED the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell
-Enrolled in classes for grad school
-Wrapped presents for charity :)
-started running again, slowly

Now, for 2011.  Starting with January:
-While on vacation with hot Australian guy, he asks if I want to look around this cemetery.  Yes, please.