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French Toast

19 Dec

I caught a spot of cabin fever yesterday.

Working out and making breakfast were really the only two things I had planned on doing all day. So when they were over by noon, I was faced with an intimidating reality –was I really going to spend my entire sunny Saturday in my pajamas?

Around 1 o’clock, I made the decision to go out. I was going to head downtown and go to the National Gallery of Art.

Since coming to DC last year, I’ve discovered a few places I can go whenever I’m feeling frustrated or lonely. One of them is the National Gallery. It’s always swarming with tourists and art enthusiasts. I find new exhibits and new rooms every time I’m there. The atmosphere cheers me up immediately.

Since I always go to the East Building where they hang the modern art first, I decided to check out the West Building. I saw German sketches, Renaissance paintings, French works, and the only work by DaVinci that hangs in America. They also had a choir singing Christmas carols in the rotunda. It sounded beautiful.

But the trip wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the modern art wing. So I got on the moving sidewalk pictured above and made my trip under the lights. Only the NGA would find a way to make my transit a way to expose me to more art!


I got to watch a movie about Archimboldo that was narrated by Isabella Rossellini. If you don’t know who that is, go watch her short film entitled “Bed Bugs”. You’ve heard of her, I promise.

I was really craving Chipotle when I left the museum, so I walked a couple blocks up to Chinatown. On my way there, I spotted the Downtown Holiday Market and walked through. There were so many vendors selling interesting things.

I’m thinking that this hat/beard/mustache combo might be my next knitting project. Thoughts?

After eating half of my Chipotle burrito, I walked down to the Metro Center metro stop. By along the way, I passed by an Urban Outfitters and had to stop in. I looked around for a while, reading the books and looking at the shoes, before finding the sale section. Inside, I found a dress covered in little anchors. For those that don’t know, anchors are my sorority’s symbol. I took it to the dressing room and it fit perfectly. When I took it to the register, it was even more on sale than it said on the price tag. So I got a cute new anchor dress for 10 dollars. That’s what I call smart shopping!

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I knew I wanted something different for breakfast this morning, something I can’t usually make during the week.

French toast was the answer to all of my prayers.


What you need:

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 tbsp ground flax seeds + 1 1/2 water

cinnamon

nutmeg

3 pieces sprouted wheat toast

How you do it:

1. Make a flax egg – mix the ground flax seeds with water in a 1:3 ratio. Microwave for 30 seconds and let sit for 2 minutes.

2. Mix the flax egg with the coconut milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

3. Heat a pan on a very low flame, adding a little oil to help the bread cook.

4. Coat both sides of the bread in the milk mixture and place on the heated, oiled pan. Cook until both sides are golden brown.

5. Keep toast warm by heating the oven to 170F and placing cooked bread inside while you wait for the other slices to cook.

6. Cut into strips and top with almond butter, frozen banana slices, and honey.

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Raisin Scones

18 Dec

There’s nothing quite like waking up early on a Saturday morning. You can wake up because you want to, not because you have to. There are no alarms to wake you up, no busses to catch, no bosses to report to. It’s just you and the possibility of the completely free day that lies ahead.

And so you do things like work out and make nice sit down breakfasts.

My apartment building has a sketchy gym downstairs that no one ever uses. That’s good news for me because I accidentally left my running shoes in my dorm when I moved. And now the dorms are closed, so I can’t go get them. But I read this article on running barefoot the other day.

It turns out that when you run with shoes on, you’re more inclined to land on your heel which puts more stress on your ankles and knees. When you run barefoot, your foot lands towards the front or middle, more evenly distributing the force of the impact.

All of this was good news for me because I suffer from pain and popping in my right hip. It’s aggravated when I run or exercise in almost any capacity.

So I ran a mile and a half, wearing socks for the sake of cleanliness. My workout flew by and I found myself running on the balls of my feet. It was infinitely more comfortable than any workout I had done while wearing sneakers.

I’m going to try barefoot running for the next few days and let you know how it goes.

And when I was done, I made myself some raisin scones.

What you need:

1/2 oats

1/2 whole wheat flour

1 tsp flaxseed

1 1/2 tbsp shredded coconut

1/4 cup oil

1/4 cup coconut milk

1 1/2 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

honey

raisins

How you do it:

1. Put the oats and flax seeds in a food processor. Pulse until the oats turn into a powder.

2. Add flour, oil, milk, baking powder, and salt to the food processor. Pulse until the mixture becomes dough.

3. Add honey to taste, coconut, and a large handful of raisins to the food processor. Mix until most of the raisins are broken up.

4. Form dough into small balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 400F for 15 minutes.

5. Serve with hot tea.

I was really happy with the way these came out. They were crispy on the outside but soft and fluffy on the inside. I think putting the batter in the food processor was a really important step.

Not too shabby!

Quinoa Kale Soup

17 Dec

Easy cold weather recipe –quinoa kale soup.

Look at the steam coming off of that soup!

I used a vegetable bouillon cube, some sautéed kale and carrots, and half a cup of quinoa.

Served with a side of fried tomatoes and sprouted toast with nutritional yeast.

 

TGIF. I plan to spend the rest of the night watching The Daily Show and knitting my scarf. And catching up on my sleep 🙂

Butternut Squash Ravioli

17 Dec

Yesterday afternoon marked the first snowfall of the season.

And as the snow got heavier, the roads got worse and the bosses got more inclined to let their staff members go a little early.

American sidewalks can’t stand up to the quick snowplowing efforts of the Japanese government.

After a bitter cold walk home from the Metro stop, I knew exactly what would warm me up on this cold winter day – butternut squash ravioli.

I found this recipe on IowaGirlEats.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups baked butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • salt and pepper
  • package of eggroll wrappers

According to this recipe, it should have made about 40 small ravioli. I had over 80. Not sure how I ended up with so many.

But before we get into the recipe, I want to first talk about How-To Cut and Cook a Butternut Squash (without removing any fingers).

1. Start with a large butternut squash.

2. Use a small knife to pierce the bulb of the squash four times (one on each side). Microwave the squash for 3 minutes on high. This will make it easier to cut.

3. Next, cut the top and bottom off of the squash.

4. Then, cut the squash down the middle, making sure to keep the knife straight. GO SLOW. This is the part of the tutorial where people start cutting themselves.

5. When you’re done, you’ll have two halves of the squash. The bulbs will be full of seeds, so you’ll want to scoop those out. Looks like I let mine sit for a little too long.

A little plant started to grow inside!

6. Then, arrange the halves on a baking sheet. Cover them in oil and bake in the oven at 400F for about 50 minutes.

I seasoned these guys with a little salt and pepper.

7. Now, scrape the squash away from the peel. The peel is edible, so it’s not the end of the world if some gets into the food. It just tastes better without it.

You will now have 3 cups of cooked butternut squash.

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Now, on to the ravioli.

1. Chop and saute the onion for 5 minutes. Add chopped garlic and cook for another minute.

2. Add onion, garlic, cooked squash, and cinnamon to a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are well blended.

3. Transfer the squash mixture to a bowl, adding more salt and pepper to it if necessary.

4. Break out the eggroll wrappers.

The original recipe calls for wonton wrappers, but they didn’t have any at Whole Foods. I was told that four wonton wrappers equal an egg roll wrapper, so I cut them in quarters.

Also, it never even crossed my mind that EGG roll wrappers had egg whites in them until I looked at the ingredients. So while these aren’t technically vegan, they could be if you had enough foresight to buy vegan wrappers.

5. Place a quartered wrapper on your cutting board. Moisten all four sides with water and place a small blob of squash in the center.

6. Fold.

7. Repeat until all of the squash is gone.

8. DO NOT pile them all on top of each other. They will stick together and turn into a giant glob like this:

Instead, put them on a wax covered baking sheet and freeze them for 1 or 2 hours. Then, you can put them in little ziplock bags. They’ll keep for 4 or 5 months in the freezer.

9. When you want to eat them, heat some oil in a frying pan and fry the raviolis for 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

Deconstructed Lasagna

15 Dec

Sometimes, the best things in life are the unplanned ones.

Like when you move into a new apartment and assume there are baking dishes there that are big enough to fit a lasagna without first checking. And when there aren’t, you decide to make two small ones with the little pan you found.

And when that doesn’t work because you didn’t use enough water in the second batch of lasagna noodles and they all stick together–

– you decide to use the leftovers to make a lasagna salad.

And it’s delicious.

I didn’t measure anything for this recipe, which is why I had too much pasta and not enough “cheese” or sauce.

For the “cheese”, I used:

  • extra firm tofu, squeezed dry and crumbled
  • turmeric
  • nutritional yeast
  • paprika
  • tahini
  • garlic, fresh
  • garlic and onion, powdered

Next, I sautéed kale, carrots, and onions in some oil and mixed it in with the cheese.

I took the tomato sauce that I made earlier in the year that was in my freezer and used it to layer the noodles and “cheese”.

Then I put the real lasagna in the oven while I made my lasagna salad.

Home(s)

27 Nov

New York, NY and Washington, D.C.

The two powerhouse cities of the East Coast. The Capital of the World. Our Nation’s Capital. The Big Apple. The District. NYC. DC.

Home.

Now technically, I don’t live in New York City. I live on the other side of the Hudson River and about 20 miles upstate, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling at home in the city. New York taught me how to watch people and navigate a public transportation system when things went wrong. New York introduced me to the deliciousness that is street-vendor food. New York showed me that the important things in life are worth sitting on the sidewalk for hours in freezing cold January, or in blazing hot July. New York let me experience the last sliver of family bonding time before I went off to school. New York is responsible for far more sunburn than I wish to recall. New York is the closest identifiable landmark I have to tell people where I grew up.

DC is my newest home. I came here a year and a half ago as a scared freshman, not knowing what to expect. I never thought I’d fall in love so quickly with a city. I took to it immediately, taking advantage of the opportunities that weren’t afforded to me in suburbia. Suddenly, a world of culture and nightlife opened up to me and I knew I’d never be as happy if I lost it. When freshman year ended, I got a summer job and permission from my parents to stay.

So now, as I cruise down I-95 in a bus full of people I don’t know, I’d like to give thanks for the two best homes in the world. I couldn’t be luckier.

 

And on that note, I’d like to finish up my Thanksgiving 2010 posts.

For breakfast, I had a cherry strawberry smoothie and peanut butter pancakes.

It’s going to be hard to give you all a recipe for the pancakes. I kind of just threw some things together in a bowl and put it on a pan.

But I think it went something like this:

1/4 cup peanut flour

1/4 whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp arrowroot powder

1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

cinnamon

vanilla extract

Mix, cook, drizzle with olive oil and maple syrup.

It certainly wasn’t the most attractive meal. The bottoms of the pancakes burned and fell apart. But they tasted good, and that’s all that mattered to me this morning.

 

I purposely brought a rolling duffle bag home this week and didn’t fill it all the way. I wanted to make sure I left room for sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, tofurkey casserole, 3/4 of a pumpkin pie, and these cookies that Julia made for me.

Now if only this bus would hurry up and get to DC so I get home and eat!

THANKSGIVING

25 Nov

The best food holiday of the year.

Breakfast: Soy yogurt with walnuts, coconut, raisins, and chia seeds


Ice skating on Thanksgiving is our family tradition. Instead of watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade like everyone else, we would get up early, don our thermals, jackets, and gloves, and head over to our local outdoor rink. My sister belonged to the figure skating club, so we got into the early morning session. Even after she stopped skating, we still kept our Thanksgiving tradition.

Lunch: Strawberry and Cherry Smoothie, Butternut Squash Soup

So I forgot to take pictures of the soup, but here’s the smoothie.

Making dinner:

Carrots from the garden.

My mom goes “Oh! Those look like legs! Let’s make a little guy.”

So we did.

Julia bought a persimmon from the health food store and we all ate some.

Dinner: Tofurkey Stuffing Casserole, Sweet Potatoes, Butternut Squash, Carrots.

I’m the only person in my family who eats cranberry sauce.

Here’s a stuffing recipe adapted from Veg Kitchen. It serves four people.

Walnut-Apple Stuffing and Tofurkey Casserole

3 cups breadcrumbs

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

2 cups chopped yellow onion

3 cups peeled, diced tart apple

3 bunches scallions, minced

1/2 cup black walnuts

2 tbsp rosemary

1 cup raisins

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

15 slices Tofurkey

1. Preheat oven to 375F.

2. Sauté the onions over medium heat until translucent. Add the apples, scallions, rosemary, and walnuts and cook for 5 minutes.

3. Combine the bread crumbs with the onion and apple mixture. Add the rest of the ingredients except the broth and toss together. Add the broth slowly while stirring to moisten the ingredients evenly.

4. Alternate layers of tofurkey deli slices with layers of stuffing in a clear, medium size pyrex dish.

5. Bake for 20 minutes at 375F.

“Looks gross, tastes great.” –Julia

Orange seems to have been the theme this Thanksgiving.

Dessert: Pumpkin Pie and Cherry Strawberry Coconut Ice Cream

The pumpkin pie recipe is here

I also refrigerated it overnight so the cream hardened up. I was pleasantly surprised when I opened it up.

Beautiful, beautiful coconut cream.

Julia took my picture taking privileges away from me after this.

Doesn’t that look amazing!? I need to get a good camera like hers.

I am so thankful the amazing people in my life. Thank you all so much for everything you all do. You know who you are ❤

And who ever made it to the end of this insanely long blog post– thank you. I’m so passionate about veganism and making food and it makes me so excited that people want to share the experience with me. I love when people come up to me and tell me that they read my blog. It means so much to me. Thank you thank you thank you!!