Cozy & warm

It’s really feeling & looking like fall in Ann Arbor now &, since I love fall the most, I’m really enjoying it! Some of the things I love about fall are switching out bedding to something more warm & cozy, wearing scarves & sweaters & jackets & boots, drinking lots of hot tea & fresh cider (last Sunday, we made another trip to the Dexter Cider Mill for some fresh cider & warm, cinnamon-sugar doughnuts – yum!), making lots of chili & soup, & bringing fresh flowers in warm colors into our home. As the days are getting shorter & colder, I must admit that I find it much more difficult to get out of this cozy bed though!

by Valerie | 09.27.10 | Around our home, For Funsies | No Comments »

Spicy Red Vegan Chili (aka. Val’s Favorite)

picture of chili

Fall is here and so are great surpluses of peppers, zucchini, and squash. As the air begins to chill this chili, chocked full of those fall things I just mentioned and some other spicy morsels, will warm you up.

1 red onion diced
4 cloves of garlic minced
3 red bell peppers diced
2 medium yellow squash diced
1 large zucchini diced
3 jalapeños minced (throw some seeds in there for some extra heat)
3-4 tablespoons of chili powder (I mix a smoked chili powder and something called La Mesa Chili powder)
1-2 teaspoons of chipotle powder
1 large can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 small can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 can of corn (drained)
1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 tablespoon or more to sweat the onions and garlic
salt and pepper to taste

This is a fairly easy thing to make it really is mostly a lot of chopping and stirring. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Begin by sweating the onions and garlic, about 5 mins. Once they start to begin to become a little clear toss in the chili powder and let cook a few more minutes. Add in the peppers (red and jalapeño), cook they begin to get soft, about 4-5 mins. Add in the squash and zucchini and continue to cook until squash is tender. Add in the diced tomatoes, bring to a boil and let simmer for about 10-15 mins stirring often. Add in the corn and beans, reduce the heat and let stew for a while. The longer the better. Add salt and pepper to your taste liking. It will need salt as this will help with the acidity of the tomatoes, use some good kosher or sea salt, it will make you happy.

You can fire roast your own tomatoes and corn if you want, I’ve been meaning to try that myself so that I can say it is all from scratch, if you manage to try it let me know. Also feel free to toss in some fresh oregano if you have it. It will add a nice extra flavor.

by Ryan | 09.26.10 | Recipes | 2 Comments »

Easy Sloppy Seitan Joe’s

The nice thing about living where there is a good amount of vegetarian and vegan folks is that there is often a decent selection of pre-made meat substitutes. Here in A2 it is easy to find Mama MoFoods seitan and yesterday while we were shopping at Whole Foods the owner was demonstrating some of her products. While we have had the roast previously, and it is good on its own (we’ve made it and the Corner Brewery has a sandwich with it), she had made some killer bean dip with it which got us thinking that it might make for some good sloppy joes. I am sure that we could have made the seitan ourselves, and our friends, Mark and Amy, have lots of seitan recipes on their site. But we were looking for the easy thing to do and while Ryan hates Semi-homemade with Sandra Lee, this kind of recipe is right up her alley.

1 package of Mama MoFoods’ seitan roast
1-2 tbsp of worcestershire sauce
10 dashes or so of  hot sauce (we used Cholula)
1 14.5oz can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes (we used Muir Glen)
1 tbsp of chili powder
1 medium purple onion diced
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 tbsp of olive oil
hamburger buns (we used Pretzilla’s Pretzel Burger Buns)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a pan to medium heat. Once heated add and sweat the onions and garlic. Chop up the seitan roast into small crumbly bits (like ground beef/taco meat consistency). Add in the seitan bits, chili powder, and worcestershire sauce. Cook until seitan is heated through, about 5-6 minutes. Add in the tomatoes and the hot sauce, let simmer for a bit, about another 6-8 minutes. Reduce heat to low, let it sit for a little while longer. Stir occasionally, add salt and pepper to your liking. Serve it up on a bun of your choice, we found these tasty pretzel buns to use for our joe’s. Top with whatever else you want (Ryan had some shredded cheddar cheese on it). Serve with some kind of delicious side dish and enjoy.

by Valerie | 09.20.10 | Recipes | No Comments »

An apple a day…

I know I’ve mentioned my love for apples before, but I’m going to have to do it again – apples really are a wonderful thing & living here in Michigan, you can’t help but fall in love with fresh apples & apple cider from the local orchards & cider mills all around this area. So for lunch today, we enjoyed an apple & cheddar sandwich (for me) & an apple & peanut butter sandwich (for Ryan) & to wash it all down I had a glass of hot, fresh cider from Hy’s Cider Mill in Romeo, MI.

I used honeycrisp apples, very thinly sliced, & an amazing, aged Seaside English Cheddar cheese that we picked up at Whole Foods – yum! Ryan had his honeycrisp apples, very thinly sliced, with his favorite peanut butter – Cream-Nut smooth.

by Valerie | 09.19.10 | Recipes | No Comments »

Roasted poblano & veggie stuffed endive leaves

We hosted a birthday party for our dear friend, Steff, and as she has a gluten allergy and eats vegetarian we wanted to make something that was tasty, easy to eat, and vegan and gluten-free…also, we’re Texans and never miss an opportunity to “kick things up a notch”, as Emeril would say – thus, the roasted poblano and veggie stuffed endive leave appetizer was born.

1 cup uncooked, long grain, white rice (per the measuring cup for our Zojirushi rice cooker)
2 limes (you’ll need both the zest and the juice)
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 medium yellow squash, diced
1 medium purple onion, diced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
2 roasted poblano peppers
1-2 tbsp chipotle olive oil
4-5 pinches chardonnay oak smoked sea salt (or to taste)
endive leaves

To roast the poblanos: Heat oven to 425. Lightly coat the poblanos with some kind on olive oil (doesn’t have to be chipotle infused) or canola oil. Place on a baking sheet. Put them in the oven, until the skin gets puffy and starts to brown a bit on both sides. About 15-20 minutes. Once done place in paper bag and close paper bag. Let cool for a bit. Take out the poblanos and deseed (its okay if a few are left behind, which will make it spicier) and peel the outer skin. Then dice.

For the rest of the veggies: Heat the chipotle infused olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add the onions and the bell peppers. Sweat the onions and bell peppers until they start to become translucent or even caramelize a bit. Add the zucchini and squash. Continue cooking until the squash is cooked. Add the roasted poblanos and the chardonay smoked sea salt. Cook for a few (1-2) more minutes. Set aside to cool.

For the rice: Make the rice according to your rice cooker (or according to the instructions). Add to the rice the lime juice and lime zest.

Put it all together: mix the rice with the veggies, stir it up nice and good. Fill the endive leaves with the rice veggie mix. For extra flavor, we drizzled on some mustard hot sauce.

by Valerie | 09.19.10 | Recipes | No Comments »

Puppy Love

Here’s some puppy love to make you say “awwww!” on a rainy day here in Ann Arbor…

by Valerie | 09.16.10 | Around our home, For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants | 1 Comment »

Tomato Tortilla Soup

Tomato Tortilla Soup

There’s this fabulous recipe (it’s almost like this one I’ve linked to here) for spicy Tomato Tortilla Soup that we use from Bobby Flay’s Bold American Food cookbook that I can’t get enough of & since it’s a cool, rainy day here in lovely Ann Arbor, MI, I thought it sounded great & I had quite a craving for it – so we made some for dinner…now I remember why I love this soup so much all over again; it’s so delicious & spicy & warm & it kicks Campbell’s “mmm-mmm good” butt any day! Top with tortilla strips, serve with homemade guacamole, & enjoy!

On a side note, Bobby Flay was my one celebrity sighting – he was doing a book signing here in town & we stood in line & had him sign one of his new cookbooks & I have to say that I felt a little bit like Jennifer Grey’s character, Baby, in Dirty Dancing when she said, ” I carried a watermelon” to Patrick Swayze; he asked me what our favorite recipe was in his cookbooks & after a bit of an awkward, star-struck delay on my part, this soup was definitely on my list.

by Valerie | 09.11.10 | Recipes | No Comments »

Tuesday’s Gone with the Wind

We enjoyed another fabulous, classic movie at the Michigan Theater last night – Gone with the Wind. It really is a wonderful movie & it was so fun to see it on the big screen!

Also, I couldn’t help but think it was funny that we were watching Gone with the Wind on a Tuesday & Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Tuesday’s Gone kept playing in my head.

by Valerie | 09.08.10 | Around town, For Funsies | No Comments »

Magic, breakfast, apples, art, football, & a holiday weekend

We enjoyed a fun Labor Day weekend & made sure to fill it with some enjoyable things, both new & old to us. We traveled to Marshall, MI to visit the American Museum of Magic on Saturday morning & had a great time touring the space & viewing the amazing magic posters on the wall there – some of them were really beautiful & very interesting (the photo here is from their website & by Jim Klodzen).

On our way there, we stopped at the Roxy Cafe for breakfast – which was delicious & the menu was entertainment itself (here’s a fun blog post about the Roxy). On our way home, we stopped at the Dexter Cider Mill for fresh cider & hot cinnamon, sugar doughnuts – our first of the season & one of my favorite things about fall here!

Sunday, we headed to UM’s Work gallery on State Street to install Ryan’s piece in the Sub Terrain art show, which opens this Friday, September 10th. I can’t wait to see it all come together & it looks like it will be a great show – here are some photos I took of the show as it was in the process of being installed! Then, we watched our favorite football team, the Texas Tech Red Raiders, beat SMU; go Tech!

And Labor Day was a generally relaxing day of cleaning up the house a bit, watching movies & catching up on TV, grocery shopping, & making some AWESOME vegan chili – which Ryan has promised to post on our blog very soon…you should make this at home, it’s delicious!

And so, I suppose that fall is officially here – school has started back, we’ve had fresh cider & doughnuts, watched college football, & made our first batch of chili for the season…&, to be honest, that’s ok with me – fall happens to be my favorite season!

by Valerie | 09.07.10 | Around town, For Funsies, Holidaze, Travel | No Comments »

New shirt, new shoes, great service!

Online shopping can be a beautiful thing; I picked up this awesome t-shirt from Threadless & these super cute shoes from Blowfish online. You might be wondering what sort of service I could possibly get from online shopping…but, the nice people at Blowfish were kind enough to follow up with a phone call to me to make sure that I’d received my package in the mail; because we live in an apartment complex, packages are often delivered to our apartment complex office when we’re not home to receive them ourselves & as they had record of this being delivered to an address other than mine they wanted to be sure that I received it.

by Valerie | 09.04.10 | For Funsies | 1 Comment »

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