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Monthly Archives: July 2013

Recycle this!

I have some bad news. This may not be as horrifying to you as it is to me, so I’ll come right out with it:

Deep breath.

Walla Walla doesn’t recycle.

It’s true. It’s beyond me how a town as large as Walla Walla is, a town as progressive as Walla Walla is, a town with 3 higher education facilities, doesn’t recycle!

When we first moved, I was dutifully saving out my glass and plastic, just like in Portland. “Call the trash company and have them leave a recycle bin,” I instructed Matty B.

He obeyed and was told that they don’t pick up recycling because they’ve found that people don’t use the recycling bins! What?!?! I am aghast, people! Aghast!

I was beginning to wonder what kind of backwoods place we moved to when I walked into work the next morning and was greeted with:

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Glory be! And while I won’t be hauling my empty cereal boxes to work, I’ll definitely be recycling at least my work scrap paper. Phew!

I’ve been doing a lot of recipe recycling lately. It might be because I miss recycling. It might be because I’m lazy tired. It might be because this recipe for roasted tomato pesto is soooo good!

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Instead of mixing it with pasta, I kicked the nutrition up a notch with quinoa. This was great hot, and actually, even better cold for lunch the next day! Hmmm…a recycled recipe recycled for another meal?

Certainly that makes up for all the cereal boxes I’m throwing in the trash…?

Best of intentions…

Sometimes I can be a little arrogant, conceited, confident when it comes to my “healthy” lifestyle.

7 hours of sleep? Check.

3 mile run? Check. Am I pushing myself to run faster? Yessiree.

Healthy breakfast full of “clean” foods with a nice balance of protein and healthy fats?

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Check.

Beautiful summer fruits on top of soy yogurt. I sprinkled some flax seed on top after the picture was taken.

Lots of water? Check.

Using the stairs instead of the elevator? Check.

Saying no to the table full of treats at staff meeting? Check.

Healthy lunch with fresh fruits and veggies?

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Check.

Romaine, cucumber, peaches, blueberries, sunflower seeds, homemade vinaigrette.

Pre-portioned snack?

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Check.

Saying no to the cookies baked in (yes, in) my office? Check.

I’m so healthy. I’m so disciplined. I’m so cool. Blah blah blah.

And then something snapped. And it wasn’t that I had some sort of a breakdown, but something called life happened.

It was the boss’s birthday and the office was going out for froyo. I didn’t take a picture, but I guarantee this: I ignored the sorbet and there’s no way you could have fit any fruit in my cup piled high with espresso yogurt and dark chocolate covered pretzels.

Delicious? Check.

But what about my “perfectly healthy day”? Was it ruined?

And then I got home and said to Matty B, “what do you want for dinner?”

Never ask Matty B what he wants for dinner unless you’re prepared to eat burritos and/or pizza.

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Del Taco 8 layer burrito minus 2 layers (no cheese or sour cream). I might have had a few of Matty B’s fries. Maybe.

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And it wasn’t healthy, but it was fun. Those two agree. They were simply giddy over their kid’s meals!

Great family time? Check.

Maybe it was a perfectly healthy day after all…

Lighten up, Holley. Seriously.

“Crab” Cakes

I’m not typically a judgmental person.

Tattoos? Go for it! (Unless you’re my sister…or J Man/Miss Rae in 14/16 years…)

Sexual preference? Weren’t we the crazy people at the LGBT Parade on Father’s Day?

Smoker? Well, you’re killing yourself, but I still love you. (P.S. Matty B actually enjoys the smell of cigarette smoke because it reminds him of our honeymoon in Las Vegas. Casinos are certainly responsible for tens of deaths by second hand smoke.)

Carnivore? I’m not even judgmental on this one because I’ve had my share of pot roast, Thanksgiving turkey and bacon in my life, and guess what? Meat tastes good. I get it.

However, there are a few vegetables, that I am somewhat skeptical of:

Baby corns? What? They come in a can and they bend without breaking. What are baby corns even made of? Also, they’re gross.

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Hearts of palm are another example. Any “vegetable” primarily found in the canned goods aisle makes me a little suspicious. Can you buy them fresh in the produce section? I’ve never seen them myself.

So when Heather announced that the ingredient to cook with for “H” in her Meatless Monday A-Z challenge was hearts of palm, I was less than enthused. I didn’t even try to create a recipe.

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I was, however, curious as to what the other suckers might try to create with such a horrid ingredient that might be palatable.

Oh people. Judge not lest ye be judged!

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Oatmeal After Spinning wins my heart with her stellar recipe! Lauren takes mushy old hearts of palm and turns them into “crab cakes” Genius!

I followed her recipe perfectly. If I made them again, I’d add a little less Old Bay Seasoning. At first bite, they’re a little strong. But then again, I’m from the northwest, not Maryland, so maybe my palate isn’t as sophisticated as real crab cake connoisseurs?

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Confession: I’ve never actually had real crab cakes, but if they taste like this, I might have to amend my vegan-ness. Wait! Don’t judge. I’ll just eat these “crab” cakes and save little sea crustaceans everywhere!

Thanks for changing my mind about hearts of palm, Lauren! Now about those baby corns…

Submitted to Meatless Mondays A-Z

Better With Veggies

Cardamom Rolls

I have a love-hate relationship with cinnamon rolls. I have this same relationship with high heels and the (former?) group Hanson. Not going to lie, I was having a hard run a few mornings ago and then “Mmm Bop” came onto my iPod. It totally put a pep in my step.

But back to the cinnamon rolls. They might be one of my top 10 favorite foods in the world, followed closely by coffee, cornbread and chocolate. (Strange that they all start with “c”?)

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I used to work at my parent’s bakery while in high school. At least 3-4 days a week I would eat one of my dad’s giant gooey cinnamon rolls, heated up with butter, no less. What was I thinking? 1000 calories a pop? Oh, but those were the days!

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After Matty B and I got married, we had this tradition of sleeping in and then going to Starbucks on Sunday morning for coffee and a pastry and then reading the Sunday Oregonian. I always got a cinnamon roll. 420 calories + my coffee= what was I thinking? Oh, but those were the days! Also, I’ve completely forgotten what “sleeping in” means…

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I’m a little older and a little wiser now. But I still love cinnamon rolls. Is it possible to have a yummy vegan, cinnamony treat without breaking the calorie bank?

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I should probably remind you that I have a yeast phobia? Also, the day I made these, Matty B let me sleep until 9 am and we were leaving for the cabin at 10. Listen to me whining about never sleeping in. What a baby.

Restrictions:

1. Yummy
2. Vegan
3. Cinnamony
4. Non yeasted
5. Quick

It’s like “Dinner, Impossible”, except I’m not feeding an army, only 2 picky toddlers, 1 picky 91 year old (Grandpa had a birthday!) and 1 man with very high sugar expectations…

The pressure was on. So I kinda cheated.

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If you’re hardcore vegan, you might balk at the “may contain traces of milk” line. I had T minus 59 minutes and counting. Cinnamon rolls were happening!

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I added a full teaspoon of cardamom to the mix, attempting a knock off of Bob’s Red Mill cardamom rolls.

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Those are Matty B's favorites when we visit Bob and he confirmed that this was a stellar choice on my part.

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My check-list from above gets 5 giant YES’s! Plus, my rough calorie count puts them at approximately 195 calories a piece.

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Final verdict?

Mmm…bop

Cardamom Rolls

Ingredients

1 tube crescent dough
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 TBS cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
2 TBS earth balance vegan butter

Frosting
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp cardamom
1 tsp vanilla
1 TBS almond milk

Instructions

Roll out dough on a floured surface, pinching perforations together.

Combine brown sugar, cinnamon and cardamom in a small bowl. Spread earth balance evenly over dough, then sprinkle with brown sugar mixture. I used about 2/3 of the sugar mixture.

Roll dough up, starting with the short side. Using a serrated knife, cut into 8 rounds. Place in a greased bread pan. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk frosting ingredients until smooth. Drizzle over baked rolls, warm out of the oven.

Swoon.

Dirt and “Teese”

We like dirt.

And I’m not referring to gossip, although I’m a good secret keeper, so if you have any, I’m all ears. (Disclaimer: I’m way behind on my pop culture, so unless we’re gossiping about Britney Spears, I’ve got no clue who you’re talking about… Snookie who? And does anyone care? And did I even spell her name right?)

What I mean to say is we like real, brown, down and dirty DIRT.

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We purchased an outdoor playset for the kids. You know, the whole shebang with a slide and a couple of swings. I think this one even has a rock wall and an attached picnic table! Fancy!

So Matty B has been prepping the area to install this monstrosity and he has a very eager helper. He gave Miss Rae a little spade and she was out there for at least an hour- “helping”. It was so stinkin’ cute! She was absolutely filthy afterward, but I love it!

Know what I didn’t love?

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This “Teese”, that’s supposed to be like nacho cheese.

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And I wouldn’t go so far to say it tasted like dirt…

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…cause it didn’t. The flavor was…ok. Honestly, it had a slightly stale taste (maybe it was old?), but there was a distinctly cheesy flavor and a little spicy kick.

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No, it didn’t taste like dirt, but it made me feel like dirt.

Heavy and greasy, it’s the reason I don’t like going out for Mexican food. I always feel so gross afterward

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Look at that layer of oil on the top. I know, I know, real cheese is oily too, but I think it was the “greasy factor” that made me feel slightly ill…

Sorry, Teese…

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And that’s all the “dirt” I have for you today. I’ll do my best to find some Jersey Shore on YouTube and then maybe I’ll know what’s going on…

Don’t call me a “freekeh”

We like our green smoothies:

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I made a giant blenderful so I could freeze single serving portions for quick breakfasts. I estimated three servings.

There is 1/2 glass in the freezer. Miss Rae kept requesting “mo”. She’s a mess, but don’t call her a “freekeh”.

We like our geography:

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J Man entertained himself for a long time here, copying the names of the states and capitals. I keep thinking the geography phase will pass. It seems to be getting stronger everyday. Evidence? He told me that his new name is Olympia.

He’s quirky, but don’t call him a “freekeh”…

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I tried freekeh for the first time yesterday. It’s a grain that you cook like rice, with pretty much the same ratio as rice.

Some call freekeh a “superfood”. It has higher nutritional value than couscous or white rice (although, what doesn’t?), but it also has four times as much fiber as comparable grains.

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I added a little McKays Chicken Seasoning to the water and intended to use it as a base for a stirfry.

And there was a little leftover for my stirfry. But I couldn’t stop eating it out of the pan. It was so good!

I was hungry. Don’t call me a “freekeh”…

The Wedding Superstars

Certainly it will come as no surprise to you that J Man and Miss Rae were the stars of the show…

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Okay, the bride was pretty beautiful too…

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But seriously. Talent. My kids are oozing of it.

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The way Miss Rae dropped those petals?

Inspired.

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The confidence with which J Man strode down the aisle? Raw genius.

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They are available for hire, if you’re in the market. They work for cake pops from Starbucks.

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P.S. This is how we eat all cake pops ever since the “dropping incident” of 2013. Traumatic.

P.S. again: Congrats Ian and Jenn!

Submitted to Marvelous in my Monday