Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

I hope you're all having a great Halloween! We had lots of fun today, with each kid having a Halloween party at their school. Then there was trick-or-treating tonight. They had such a good time. They came home and each ate like 6 pieces of candy. That was after the other 15 or so pieces they had before we even went trick-or-treating!

For dinner this evening, I kept it quick and easy with spaghetti pomodoro, salad, and garlic bread. For the pomodoro, I just soften a chopped red onion and lots of garlic in some olive oil. Then add a can of crushed tomatoes with basil. (I use a 28oz can for a 13.25 oz. box of spaghetti.) Add a splash of balsamic, a smidge of sugar and a pinch of salt. Simmer for a half an hour or so, and toss with pasta. I usually use whole wheat spaghetti. It's a really easy meal for a busy evening.

I finally tore myself away from NPR today (Dammit! I just remembered that "Splendid Table" is on as I write. It's actually almost over. Oh, well. I can try to catch it later), and decided to listen to Cursive's "Domestica." I love that album so much. It's about a nasty divorce. The lyrics are so bitter and very sarcastic at times. Sounds really bad, but it is just out-of-control awesome. Check out "The Martyr" on their myspace page. Well, apparently I was really digging the Saddle Creek sound, because without even thinking about it, I next played Bright Eyes' "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning." I just can't get over what an outstanding album that is. It blows my mind. For real.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Honey-baked Lentils

Yesterday evening was leftovers, so I really looked forward to cooking this evening. We had one of our regular favorites, Honey-baked lentils. I make it every few weeks because it's so easy and we like it so much. There are a million things you can do with this recipe. Some people add chopped vegetables and vary the spices. Here is the way I like it:

2 cups lentils (I like to use the red lentils)
4 cups water
1 chopped onion
4 TBS Shoyu
4 TBS Honey
3 TBS Olive Oil
2 tsp ground ginger
1 large clove of garlic, minced

Mix all of the above in large baking dish, and bake for 1.5 hours at 350 degrees.

I had a side of oven fries and sauteed broccoli with it. Very good. The picture isn't that great. I think the color of the plate has something to do with it. (At least that's what I'm telling myself.)

I seem to be addicted to NPR these days. I just can't tear myself away. I wake up in the morning and turn it on immediately. All day long, if I'm in the house, it's on! HELP!

Cute kid quote of the day: "Mommy, we're going to give you a break. We got all the art stuff out of the closet. Luckily, Julian helped me. We're going to make some things and you can have some quiet time." That's from my 5 year-old daughter.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunday Soup II

Here it is again, Sunday. Soup day. Sleek had suggested a cream of broccoli soup, so I obliged. I searched the web until I came across this recipe, which looked very simple and easy. However, the recipe only made four cups of soup! What's up with that? That's barely enough for the two of us, and would certainly not leave enough for leftovers. So, I quadrupled it. That's right. Quadrupled. I also substituted No-Chicken Broth for the chicken broth that was called for. The soup was ready to eat about an hour after I got started making it. When I tasted it, it seemed to be missing something. I added a decent pinch of nutmeg, and it was perfect! It made a fantastic dinner with a piece of leftover quiche from this morning.

I finally gave up on the live streaming from and just streamed the damn shows I wanted to listen to. It wasn't as good as listening to them on my local station, though.

Make a Quiche

I'd planned on getting up early this morning to make the sweet-onion quiche that Sleek had requested. However, I wasn't thinking it would be 6:30. Usually the kids will sleep in until 7:30 on the weekends. Not today. I just dealt with it and got up, headed downstairs and put on a pot of coffee. I thought I'd listen to the live stream on Nothing like some NPR to get your day off to a good start. Well, the streaming isn't working today. I almost cried. I've mentioned before that my crappy clock/radio won't pick up NPR in the kitchen. So, in silence, I began to make the quiche filling. I had cooked the onions and baked the crust last night. All I had to do this morning was mix up the milk and eggs, shred the cheese (I prefer Gruyere for quiche), and add the spices. As it baked, Sleek and I sat at the kitchen table with our laptops and coffees, read the Sunday papers online, and joked about how crazy that is. A nice morning.

About an hour later, the quiche was ready to be cut. Holy smokes! It was awesome. Sleek says it's probably the best quiche he's ever had. Yum.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Chickpea and Spinach Curry

As I've mentioned before, Sleek and I really dig Indian food. We haven't had it too often recently because our local Indian joint closed. So, I've been searching for easy Indian-inspired dishes to make. Tonight's choice was the Chickpea and Spinach Curry from VWaV. Since it is a weekend, Sleek was home to give me a hand in the kitchen, which mostly means keeping the kids occupied. He did manage to get my garlic and ginger minced, though. This recipe was extremely quick and easy. I couldn't find cardamom pods at Kroger, and didn't feel like going all the way downtown to look for some. I used just a pinch of ground cardamom instead. I don't think it made any difference. If anything, it was better. It makes me ill when I bite into a cardamom pod hidden in Indian food. Seriously, I almost threw up once when it happened. So, I think I'll just stick with ground. It turned out so well we just couldn't believe it. Sleek went on and on about how good it was. He liked it better than the Channa Masala. The only thing that could possibly make it better would be scooping it up with some naan. I served it over a bed of jasmine rice. I'm sure from now on, jasmine rice will be that standard for Indian dishes around here.

I also made a batch of pie crust today. Sleek requested a sweet-onion quiche for our Sunday morning breakfast. It came out much better than my last attempt. The dough was much easier to work with, and I didn't feel the need to chug down a beer after I was finished. I'll most more on the quiche tomorrow. The onions are cooking right now, and they smell so good!

Well, today I didn't listen to a single bit of music. Actually, that's not true. We were playing "Name That Tune" in the car today. The kids really like that. They love to hum songs and have us guess what they are. They're pretty cool little creatures, they are. We did watch the Mountaineers kick Rutgers' ass this afternoon. That ruled.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Tuna Melts

Well, dinner this evening didn't go as planned. I'd planned on making a chickpea and spinach curry from VWaV. I opened the cabinet to get out my can of diced tomatoes, and realized I didn't have any. The closest thing I had was tomato soup, and I just don't think that would've worked. So, I spied a couple of cans of albacore tuna, and decided on tuna melts and broccoli. We usually eat fish every few weeks or so around here. Anyway, I made up the tuna salad using two cans of albacore, some diced sweet pickles, some pickle juice and about 2 TBS of "lite" mayo. I spread the bread with Earth Balance, and grilled it on my cast iron griddle. I put on some shredded cheddar, sauteed onions and the tuna. They really turned out well, and Sleek thought they may have been the best tuna melts ever! I'll be making the spinach chickpea curry for lunch tomorrow, so stay tuned for that.

Two weeks ago on Austin City Limits, Sleek and I saw a band we thought was really good. They're called Explosions in the Sky. They're completely instrumental. We TiVO ACL, so we've been watching that episode a lot this week. I need to get some of that on my iPOD.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Enchilada Mama

Sometimes I really crave Mexican food. I mean really. Since I'm trying to avoid restaurant-eating when possible, I decided to try my hand an enchiladas. I've looked at bottled enchilada sauces in the store, and most of them have a two-inch long ingredient list which usually includes chicken stock. Since I don't eat that type of animal (not to mention the other offenders on the ingredient list), bottled sauce isn't an option. So, I dug up this little gem on the web. I was beginning to get everything ready to go ahead with it, when I realized that I'm out of chili powder. The recipe calls for 3 TBS! I really, really didn't want to load up the kids and head to the store. So, I said, "Screw it!" and made my own damn chili powder. I used paprika as the base, then added some cayenne, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. It turned out great!

I made up my enchiladas using some fresh spinach, sauteed onions and shredded Monterey Jack. I like to use soft, corn tortillas because I think they have a much nicer flavor than flour tortillas. So, I rolled them up, put them in a baking dish, poured some sauce over top, then sprinkled with a little more Jack. They weren't the most beautiful looking enchiladas I'd ever seen (see pic), but I was sure they'd taste just fine. (And they did.)

To go with the enchiladas, I made up a brown rice/black bean/tomato/corn concoction. I started by chopping an onion and a big clove of garlic. I sauteed those in just a smidge of oil for about 5 minutes. Then I add a can of diced tomatoes, drained. Then a few scoops of cooked brown rice, a couple of scoops of black beans, and a couple of handfuls of frozen corn. I seasoned it with cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper. It actually turned out really, really good!

When I got started in the kitchen, I kicked Coldplay's "X&Y." I swear that album somehow increases my serotonin levels. It is so awesome. Sleek just told me to check out Young Galaxy, which I'm listening to as I write this. They sound very cool.

I'm always down with checking out new music, so if any of the three or so people who read this have any suggestions, I'm totally open to them!

Oh, and sleek is going to show me how to post photos throughout the blog so I can do step-by-step things once in a while.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Good Gravy!

Several months ago when I got "Vegan With a Vengeance," a recipe for chickpea gravy caught my eye as I was leafing through it. I've sort of missed a nice, steamy pile of mashed potatoes and gravy since I stopped eating all meat except for fish. And fish gravy just sounds...well, repulsive. So, I thought that when fall arrived and the weather got cooler, I was going to have to try this chickpea gravy. The actual recipe is called "Punk Rock Chickpea Gravy." While the ingredient list is long, almost everything in it I already had in my pantry. On paper, it looks way more difficult than it actually is. It came together very easily. It was absolutely delicious. Most people would just not understand how gravy could be made with no animal products. I obviously was thinking that myself since it's been years since I've had gravy.

This chickpea gravy is just so awesome. It would make a fantastic substitute for traditional sausage gravy over biscuits. It has that spiciness to it. I served it over mashed potatoes, which I just whipped up with some Silk soy creamer and Earth Balance. Salt and pepper to taste. I swear, they're better than the mashed potatoes I used to make with butter and milk. I roasted some Brussel sprouts with some balsamic vinegar, a sprinkling of sugar, a drizzle of oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper. The combination of vinegar and sugar makes a nice glaze as it bakes in the oven. I just pre-heated the oven to 400 degrees, put the sprouts in, stirred them a little after 15 minutes and roasted for about 12 more minutes. It was a perfect meal for a cool, rainy autumn evening.

As I'm writing this, I'm listening to "Splendid Table" on NPR. It is a fantastic food and cooking show.

Oh, and on a totally random and unrelated note: This morning I spent five minutes searching the house for my cup of coffee (second cup of the day). I finally approached the sink, and there was my cup. Empty, washed and dried. How the hell did that happen? I must really be losing it!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Autumn Glory and Barbefu

Well, yesterday my little fella and I headed over the mountains for a night at my parents' house. I had a hair appointment in Virginia today, and it's kind of close to their house so we made it an overnight visit. We left Morgantown yesterday evening, heading southwest. Fall foliage seems to be at its peak right now, and the drive was just amazing. I'm talking make-you-cry beautiful. I wish I would've had my camera so I could post some pics.

I was hoping the little guy would fall asleep so I could chill and listen to "All Things Considered" on the drive. Well, three-year-olds don't really work that way. It ended up being a drive of incessant questioning of all things mundane. Examples include, "What's it look like inside a chimney?", "What's it look like in a tree?", "Where does George Bush live?", "Why don't you like him?". Okay, so maybe they weren't all mundane, but I didn't really want to get involved in a political discussion with a three-year-old. Finally, I guess he tired of question/answer, and asked to listen to Mull Historical Society's "This is Hope". The kids request this one frequently, and I've heard it a bazillion times, but I can't deny them good music that they love. It made a nice soundtrack for our last hour over the mountains.

On the trip home today, I was starving couldn't wait to get back home. He requested Joseph Arthur's "Nuclear Daydream". At least he made it through the second track "Black Lexus" before he fell asleep. That one is one of his favorite songs, and he requests that I sing it at bedtime. It was very foggy and drizzly driving back, but the mountains still looked absolutely beautiful. On rainy days, for some reason I'm totally compelled to listen to Damien Rice's "9 Crimes." So, that's what I turned on next. Great album for a rainy day.

I finally arrived home, and it was late. I wanted to make something quick and easy, so I made some barbeque tofu sandwiches. (I've decided to call it barbefu.) Really easy. I press the tofu, slice it into 1/4 inch slices and brown it on both sides in a hot skillet. Then, I just dump some bbq sauce on it. I like Annie's bbq sauce. I toasted the buns, sprinkled on some cheddar cheese, then topped them with sauteed onions. Very good for a quick and easy meal!

So, you may be wondering...Is it worth it to drive seven hours, round-trip to get your hair done? Hell yes!

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Week's Worth

Wow. Okay. When I was trying to decide whether or not to start this blog, one of my concerns was that I wouldn't have anything good to talk about. (I know you're laughing about that, Sleek). Anyway, a few months ago Time magazine did a feature titled, "What the World Eats". It was quite interesting to get a peek into the kitchens (well, some didn't actually have kitchens) of people all over the world. One thing that surprised me most of all was how much some of these people spent on a week's worth of food. I almost fell out of my chair when I saw the food that the U.S. family chose to eat. I don't know why. I guess that is what people mean when they say "Standard American Diet". Plus, the amount they spent was just insane. How do people afford that? I try really hard to stick to a $100/week grocery budget. Some weeks I may not even spend that much, but of course other weeks I'll go over a little.

I thought it would be fun to take a picture of my week's worth of food and compare it to the families featured in "What the World Eats." It looks like we eat an insane amount of cheese, but my daughter insisted buying some Muenster cheese and my son just had to have string cheese. (And of course we're not going to eat that massive bag of dried chickpeas and the big bag of potatoes this week!)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sunday Soup

On Sunday afternoons, in the fall and winter, I like to make a big pot of soup. Even though it was 80 degrees today (not great soup weather), I went ahead with it. I was starting to hit that wall that I sometimes hit in the afternoon. Some days, I'll have a big glass of iced coffee to get me through it. Today I settled for Gorillaz "Demon Days". If that album doesn't get you going, I don't think anything will. My first exposure to "Demon Days" was seeing the Gorillaz perform it live on one of those DirectTV free-music channels. Mine and Sleek's jaws hit the floor. We were completely blown away. Funny Gorillaz story: I guess we listened to the Gorillaz a lot after that, because Sleek and I were discussing The Monkees one day. Our daughter asked who The Monkees were. We told her that they were a band. She said, "Oh. Sort of like the Gorillaz?"

So, on to the soup. I decided to make just a basic vegetable soup, and then top it off with some simple Bisquick dumplings. I started by pouring into a large pot: 32 oz. of No-Chicken broth, a 28oz can of diced tomatos, and another can of 28oz diced tomatoes that I pureed in the blender. To that I added one cube of vegetable bouillon and some salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder and oregano. Next, I diced (1 inch dice) 3 enormous potatoes. I threw those in, and sliced 2 really big carrots. I brought it up to boil, then reduced the heat and simmered for about 2 hours. Then, I added 1/2 a bag of frozen cut green beans and about 1/2 a bag of lima beans. I let that simmer for about 30 minutes. The pot was so full, that I had to ladle out a decent amount of soup before adding the dumplings. So, I put the dumplings in and let them cook. 20 minutes later, the soup was ready. Very nice for a Sunday evening dinner.

Holy Mother of Muffins!

Good morning! I woke up at about 7:30 this morning. (Well, I should say I was awakened by two small bodies cuddling up to me in bed. They were chanting, "Mama moo-moo, Mama moo-moo!") That's not horrible. So, I decided to haul myself out of bed and head downstairs and make some muffins. I had all the ingredients needed to make Apple Pie Crumb-Cake muffins from one of my favorite cookbooks, "Vegan With a Vengeance." (I'm not vegan, but I enjoy really enjoy vegan cooking. I'll discuss factory-farming some other time.) I'm not going to post recipes here that are copyrighted, but if anyone wants the recipe, contact me and I'll get it to you.

I made my way into the kitchen at 8 a.m. Just in time to listen to "Weekend Edition" on NPR! has just recently started streaming live on the internet. That is very good news for me since our only radio in the house is a crappy little clock-radio that doesn't pick up NPR. (It works absolutely fine to wake us up and listen to the WVU football and basketball games that aren't televised.) I know I could listen to many other NPR stations that have offered live streaming for years. It just isn't the same as WV public radio. It just wouldn't be the same if I didn't hear Frank Stowers go through all the stations and call-letters in that unique and interesting voice of his. (Sleek tries to do an impersonation, but it always ends up sounding more like Huckleberry Hound than Mr. Stowers.)

So, by the time I pulled the muffins from the oven and gave them some time to cool, "Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me!" was streaming. What a great show that is! So, here I sit listening to "Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me!" while eating a muffin and having a great cup of coffee. All of that while blogging too! Really, does it get any better than that?

By the way, the muffins are ridiculously good!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Friday Night

Well, here it is. Saturday afternoon. Couldn't post last night for fear of being cited for PWI. We had friends over for dinner and had a really nice time. I think we killed 2 bottles of wine in about 20 minutes. Saved the Newcastles for dessert.

Anyway, yesterday morning I got started by making my pumpkin pie. I had baked the pumpkin the day before and had it pureed and ready. I used this very simple recipe. I had made the crust last week, because I made myself an apple pie for my birthday. Just put the extra in the freezer for this week. For some reason, this batch of pie crust really gave me fits. I was always one to just buy pre-made crusts. Last summer, my Mamaw, who probably makes the best pies in all of WV, taught me how to make pie crust. She's getting older and doesn't like to bake as much. Since no other family members were interested in learning how to make pies, I stepped up to the plate. It's hard, and she told me it just takes lots and lots of practice. Well, after working with this round of pie crust I was frustrated to say the least. My birthday apple pie was ugly as hell, but it tasted great! So, after much work and hole-patching, I finally got my crust for the pumpkin pie into the plate. Every muscle in my back was spasming after that! I decided to crack open a nice, cold Newcastle. It was 11:40 a.m. An hour later, the pie came out of the oven looking absolutely lovely. Yay! (Sorry, the photo isn't great. That Newcastle gave me a surprise buzz, and I didn't really care about the damn photo at the time. I sense a new Friday morning tradition coming on!)

For dinner, I made orange-sesame tofu. I thought a nice side-dish would be Asian tahini noodles. I pressed my tofu for about an hour to get most of the water out. Then I sliced it in about 1/4 inch slices. I browned it on both sides to get it nice and crisp on the outside. Very easy. Just spray some Pam in a non-stick skillet, add tofu and brown both sides. I made lots of tofu, so I did this in batches. While the tofu was browning, I made the orange-sesame sauce. This is just something I came up with, so I don't have exact measurements.

1/2 cup brown sugar
zest from 1 orange, juice from half of that orange
2 TBS Shoyu or soy sauce
2 tsp dark sesame oil
1/2 tsp Thai chile paste
1/4 cup water
salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

So, once all the tofu is browned and returned to skillet, turn heat to high. Pour sauce over tofu and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce is thickened to a glaze-like consistency. Sprinkle on as many toasted sesame seeds as you like. Eat.

The Asian-tahini noodles come from a Cooking Light recipe which I have modified to my liking. It's really simple. Here's the sauce:

2 TBS Tahini
2 TBS water
2 TBS rice vinegar
2 TBS Shoyu or soy sauce
1 1/2 TBS sesame oil
1 TBS sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp Thai chile paste
2 large cloves of garlic, minced

Just throw all ingredients into a bowl and mix them up. Noodles go like this:

8 oz. uncooked whole wheat spaghetti (I've also used Soba noodles here with very good results.
Just rinse well after cooking.)
A whole crap-load of uncooked baby-spinach (In my opinion, it would be difficult to go
overboard with this.)
2 cups of carrots, cut into matchsticks

Boil water. Add noodles when boiling. A couple minutes later, throw in the carrots. Near the very end, throw in the spinach. Drain everything, and return to pot. Pour on sauce and give it a good toss. Sprinkle with green onions and toasted sesame seeds. Eat.

I also served a spring-mix salad with my favorite bottled salad dressing. (I stock up when it's on sale. That price is ridiculous.)

So, everything turned out really tasty. I have to say, I think the tofu was the best I've ever made. We are very fortunate here in WV to have a great company that makes awesome, organic tofu. I probably wouldn't eat tofu at all if it weren't for them!

Our dinner guests brought a pumpkin pie for dessert. We pretty much finished it off, and washed it down with Newcastles. It was very, very good. So, I didn't try mine until this morning. What's wrong with pumpkin pie for breakfast? It's like a serving of vegetables, right? Exactly. It was very tasty, and I'd say the struggle with the pie crust was well worth it.

Okay, on to music. Yesterday was a drizzly, dark, cool fall day. I was feeling mellow, so I started the day off with Damien Rice's second studio album "9 Crimes". I've had it on my iPod for nearly a year, and just listened to it for the first time. I had myself convinced that I wouldn't like it nearly as much as his debut album "O". Well, I'm happy to say I was wrong. It is a fantastic album. Sometimes I can't quite figure out how his songs make me feel. Somewhere between sad and joyous. Next, I listened to Bright Eyes' "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning". Another killer album. After that it was Neutral Milk Hotel's "The Aeroplane Over the Sea". Wow. That album is just nothing short of awesome every time I hear it. Especially "Ghost" and the untitled track number 10. Unfortunately NMH hasn't done anything since 1998, and from what I understand, that trend will continue. I guess I was really feeling the horns, because after that, I found myself listening to Beirut's "Gulag Orkestar". Blows. My. Mind. If you haven't heard this, do yourself a favor and listen to it right now!

Thanks for hanging in for this ridiculously long post. I'll keep the next one short!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Fun Food Stuff

I didn't do a whole lot of cooking today. Just a pumpkin for a pie I'm making tomorrow, and what my Mamaw and Mom would call "fried apples" to go along with our leftovers for dinner. Really simple. Just apples peeled, sliced and sauteed in some Earth Balance and about 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Very tasty. We're having some friends over for dinner tomorrow evening, and the menu will be: Sesame-orange tofu, an Asian noodle dish and green beans. Pumpkin pie for dessert. Hopefully some alcohol will be consumed as well. I'll post recipes and some pics tomorrow night. (Well, depending on the alcohol situation, it may not happen until Saturday).

A while back, I came across this blog. It is no longer active, but it sure makes for some entertaining reading!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Veggie Tacos and Refried Beans

Recently, I've been feeling like tacos. I've never made tacos before in my life, so I'm not sure exactly where the hell it came from. Anyway, after thinking about it, I decided just to make some straight-up veggie tacos. No tofu or fake meat or any of that junk. First of all, I needed to find a recipe for taco seasoning. I stopped buying pre-packaged seasonings because all that shit seems to have MSG in it. (MSG is so sneaky that it sometimes masquerades as "autolyzed yeast extract" on labels!). It didn't take me long to find this simple recipe on the web. I got the spices mixed and got to business. Here we go:

2 zucchini, diced
1 yellow summer-squash, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1/2 of a jalepeno, seeded and minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced

Heat a bit of oil (maybe 1 TBS?) in a large saute pan. Add all of the above. Saute until just soft. Drain. Add taco seasoning. Eat. (I put mine in a traditional, hard taco shell. Then I sprinkled on a tad of Monterey Jack cheese, a bit of sour cream, and topped it all off with some spring mix greens.) YUM.

How's that for a recipe? Pretty simple, eh? As for the refried beans...If you make them from scratch, the kind in the can will forever gross you out. I buy lots of dried beans. Mostly black beans and pintos for now. (Lentils too, but I have a hard time thinking of them as beans). I always cook a lot at one time, then divide them up and freeze them in ziploc bags. Then, I just put a bag in the fridge the day before I need to use them. So, I diced up an onion and sauteed it in a tad of oil until it was nearly brown. Then, I dumped a bag of pinto beans in and started mashing with my potato masher. I've found that a bit of water should be added to aid in the mashing process and keep the beans from becoming too dry. So, just get them to the consistency you like, and add you seasonings. I add: salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin and a few drops of hot sauce. They are soooooooo good! Plus, you can make a shit-load of them and have them on hand for bean burritos the next day.

When I'm in the kitchen, I like to listen to music. Today's meal was prepared while listening to Weezer's self-titled, debut album. A timeless classic if I've ever heard one. That was followed by Mull Historical Society's (aka Colin McIntyre) "Loss". Colin is an extremely talented songwriter, performer and producer. He's one of my faves, for sure.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Channa Masala

Sleek and I love, love, love Indian food. Unfortunately, our local Indian restaurant closed a little over a year ago. (I'm not supposed to be eating at restaurants anyway. One of the whole points of this blog!). Anytime we travel, we're looking for a good Indian joint to ease the pain and longing. We finally decided that it was high time (heh!) to learn to make some good, simple Indian food at home. I've made the basic lentil/vegetable curry, but I was looking for something with more complex flavor. So, I came across this little number on the web, and it looked very easy with easily attainable ingredients. I got it started at about noon, so the flavors would have plenty of time to meld before dinner at 6 p.m. I did add slightly more garam masala and curry powder than the recipe called for. Sleek wanted me to give it a try with Jasmine rice, so even though it is stripped of all nutritional value, I made it. (I ususally stick with brown basmati. It's my fave, even though it takes four times as long to cook). The masala and the rice both came out beautifully! Now that I know how to make a good masala sauce, the possibilities are endless. I'm thinking next it will be a fish (Halibut or Cod) masala with some cauliflower, potatoes and peas. If only I had a Tandoori oven to bake some naan to go with it!

Welcome to Chez Mama!

Welcome to my blog! I've been thinking about starting a food-blog for about a month now. Today was the day that I decided to give it a go. I recently decided to stop eating at restaurants and getting take-out. I wanted to start eating healthier foods, and I wanted to make them at home. I want to know exactly what I'm eating. I've gone from eating at least 4 meals/week out to eating ALL meals at home. It's been about 4 months now, with a few exceptions when traveling.

It has been challenging to come up with new meal ideas. I've bought some new cookbooks, and am always searching the web for new recipes. My family and I don't eat any land-animals, but we do eat fish occasionally. I like to use mostly organic products, and buy locally when possible. (It gets hard to do right around this time of year. The CSA has ended, and the Farmer's Market goes on hiatus in a couple of weeks). I am fortunate to have a great natural foods co-op here in town. Year-round, I can at least go there for local, organic eggs and tofu as well as many other staples of our diet. (I know lots of people are thinking, "Wow! What an exciting diet this chick must eat!"). That's one reason I'm here to blog. Since our family started eating at home more often, we're enjoying food more than ever! (I do occasionally eat processed convenience foods, though. Hey, I'm a full-time wife and mom! Give me a break!).

I am a mama to two young children, ages 5.5 and 3. They can be picky, so they definitely aren't down with trying every single thing I make. They eat more processed food than I prefer, but I try to make sure they at least get plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fortunately, my husband likes to experiment with new foods, and he's not a picky eater. He fully appreciates most of the food I make. So, with his urging, I'm starting my blog!