weekend fun

Summer patio

We had a fun and productive holiday weekend in which we found ourselves enjoying some r&r time with friends, good food (grilled peaches that were a little like this and our own, revised version of this potato salad which we used this tasty hatch chile pesto on – yum!), visited Maker Works to use their laser cutter for this project Ryan’s working on, and we got our garden planted. Filling up our garden boxes this year are: sugar snap peas, tomatoes (Fantastic, Green Zebra, and Grape), lots of herbs (varieties of thyme, oregano, parsley, basil, chives, spearmint, and orange mint), lots of pepper varieties, and flowers (Salvia, Marigolds, and Gazania). I find myself enjoying my little corner of the world more and more these days – the fact that the world is so very green and everything is blooming again certainly doesn’t hurt!

Summer patio

Summer planting

My little green corner of the world

And the award for 2014 laser cut glasses model goes to…

2014 laser cut glasses model of the year ;-)

by Valerie | 05.27.14 | Around our home, Around town, For Funsies, Garden, Holidaze, Recipes, Work | No Comments »

leftover heaven

We had a very large bowl of leftover mashed potatoes and homemade cranberry sauce from our Thanksgiving (or, should I say, Thanksgivingukkah) feast and I like a little variety in my life so when I stumbled onto this recipe for Cheesy Leftover Mashed Potato Pancakes I smartly suggested to Ryan that it might be a great thing to try. What better way to celebrate the marriage of both Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, after all?

Instead of using scallions, we used shallots – because that’s what we had in the fridge. And instead of using sour cream to top them with, we used our leftover homemade cranberry sauce. It was delicious! In fact, to be honest, I actually liked the potatoes better in this form than I did in their original mashed potato form…shhh…don’t tell the mashed potatoes I said that.

by Valerie | 12.01.13 | Holidaze, Recipes | No Comments »

Remedy

Last weekend I got hit with a cold and I’m still trying to get over it. I know I shouldn’t complain – there are much worse problems in the world than my measly little cold virus. You know how some people seem to handle getting sick with a cold or flu so well? They don’t make a big fuss and have some magic way of quickly getting over it – chicken noodle soup, hot tea, vitamin C, rest, witchcraft or whatever. Well I’m not one of those people – all I want to do is crawl into my pj’s and never leave my house while I sleep, drink hot tea, and eat soup for every meal (I may be exaggerating slightly, but you get the point). Ryan is always doing nice things for me and being generally amazing so when I said I’d been craving some spicy, sweet potato soup he was nice enough to indulge me and that soup is currently bubbling on our stove as I type this – win!

We posted another version of this soup here. The soup we made today doesn’t have many ingredients (sweet potatoes, yellow onions, garlic cloves, honey, canned chipotle peppers, vegetable stock, and a dash of salt) and honey is one of them – it’s spicy and savory and a little sweet all at the same time. Did you know that September is National Honey Month? I didn’t, until recently when I read this article. And if I ever wanted to buy something nice to store my honey in, I think it would have to be this.

Also, we planted yellow onions in our garden this summer which we harvested and are now using – we even added some to the soup. I think the color of these onion skins is gorgeous.

by Valerie | 09.29.13 | Garden, Recipes | 2 Comments »

But first, I want you to say…”I… love… crepes.”

It’s been a cool (high of only 65 in July?), overcast morning and looking like it’ll rain at any moment most of the day so far. Yesterday, I picked blueberries so I suggested we have fresh blueberry crepes for brunch this morning and that’s exactly what we did. Ryan whipped up a batch of delicious crepes, using this recipe, with a blueberry filling. Speaking of crepes, this never fails to make me laugh.

I do enjoy lazy Sundays. With the cloudy, cool weather it feels extra nice to sit around the house and do a whole lot of nothing much at all. Melody seems like she’s got being lazy down to a science. I did step out to our backyard and pick some of the largest tomatoes we’ve ever grown in our garden as well as some jalapenos, bell pepper, and I cut some nasturtium to make this sweet little arrangement. Here’s to lazy Sundays!

by Valerie | 07.28.13 | Around our home, Garden, Princess Puppy Pants, Recipes | No Comments »

biscuits and southwesty gravy

Val woke up this morning and had a hankering for some biscuits and gravy. So that is what we had.

The biscuits are just vegweb’s Savory Biscuits recipe with a bit of extra flour and basil for the dried herbs. The gravy was a modified version of this gravy recipe. So here is the modified recipe, it makes enough to top about 10 biscuits:

  • 1 package Upton’s Chorizo Seitan chopped
  • 1 jalapeño minced
  • 1/2 yellow onion diced
  • 1 shallot
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 5 tablespoons margarine
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 heaping teaspoon butcher’s cut pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp veggie stock
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • salt (this one is up to you)

You could probably do this all in one pot but I used a small pot and a pan and cooked the saucy part of the gravy separately from the meaty part.

Heat a pan to medium heat. Add in 2 tbsp of margarine. Add the seitan and the jalapeño and cooked until it browns a bit. About 5-7 minutes at most. Turn heat off.

In a small pot heated to medium heat add 2 tbsp of margarine. Add the onion, garlic, pepper, and shallot. Cook until translucent. Add the flour and remaining butter. Cook for an additional few minutes. Add the veggie stock and the cornstarch stir to make sure that there are no clumps from the cornstarch. Bring to boil, then add the soy sauce and nu-yeast and cook for a minute or so more. Once done combine and pour into pan with the seitan and mix well – add salt to taste. Serve over top of some delicious biscuits.

One quick note about the biscuits: cook the biscuits directly on a pizza stone, don’t put in a pan. If you don’t have a pizza stone go buy one, you need it because it makes for perfectly cooked biscuits. Our stone, which should really be called a biscuit stone, permanently stays in our oven even if using a pan and always seems to help distribute the heat well.

Melody likes to keep a close watch for quality control while we cook. She takes her job very seriously.

by Ryan | 02.17.13 | Recipes | No Comments »

not quite pozole soup

This is loosely based on the Mexican soup pozole (it is important to note that no humans were harmed in the making of this soup). Ryan grew up going to friends’ houses where this would be on the stove all day long and after a night of drinking this spicy soup, much like menudo, would serve as a perfect hangover cure. I was never much the fan of hominy, but Ryan always liked the taste of it because it reminds him of tortillas. We struck a deal that I would try hominy again so this soup was a compromise between the two of us, a bit of hominy and a bit of yellow corn in a spicy tomato broth.

Ingredients:

  • 20 tomatoes on the vine, roasted and cored
  • 3 serrano peppers, roasted (note these died in the roasting, but their “juice” mixed with the tomatoes)
  • approximately 3 tbsp chipotle infused olive oil
  • 1 purple onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tbsp dark chili powder
  • 1 oz package pozole spice mix
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 15.25 oz can yellow corn
  • 1 29 oz can hominy
  • salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 425. Lightly coat the tomatoes and serrano peppers in some of the olive oil (about 1-1 1/2 tbsp). Place in oven to roast for about 30-45 minutes or until they begin to split open and brown. One quick thing to note, this killed our serrano peppers; that said, the mixture of tomato juices and slightly disintegrated serrano did add flavor to the tomatoes with just a hint of a kick. Remove from oven to cool. Once cooled core the tomatoes and place in a blender to puree. Set aside.

Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add in the remaining olive oil. Add in the onion, garlic, and pozole mix, cook onion until it begins to be slightly translucent. Add the bell peppers and chili powder. Cook until bell peppers are tender, enough for a fork to easily go into them. Add the tomato puree and the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes. Add in the hominy and corn. Let cook for a little while longer. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pozole mix is meant traditionally for pork and most pre-made mixes make for a decently spicy pork rub long before it is added to the soup pot. So depending on what type of pozole spice mix you purchased or made for yourself it can make for a soup with quite the kick. If you are afraid of spicy things I’d check the mix or reduce the amount of spice mix you use. You can also let the mix soak and simmer in hot water for a little bit before adding  it to the pot and it might reconstitute some of the dried chiles in the mix.

by Valerie | 01.27.13 | Recipes | No Comments »

Perfect popsicles

Ryan bought me a Zoku Quick Pop™ Maker for Christmas & I love it! It’s easy to use & I love that you can create your own recipes that are both healthy & dairy-free – it’s also nice to know exactly what’s going into your frozen treats…with the right ingredients,  you can be sure there are no artificial sweeteners, color, etc. Last night we decided to give it a whirl & made some delicious eggnog popsicles by combining soy eggnog, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, & sprinkling in some crushed cereal bits for crunch – yum!

The Zoku blog has recipes & there is a recipe book available for purchase as well. We decided to wing it for our first try & it turned out good; after all, Ryan is a master at winging it & having things turn out great.

by Valerie | 01.05.13 | Recipes | No Comments »

Peppermint Patty Cupcakes

Here’s a bit of cupcake porn for those who read this blog. Just some simple easy to make minty, chocolatey chip-y, vegan, gluten-free cupcakes for you to enjoy.

The recipe follows Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World‘s basic chocolate cupcake recipe. Instead of regular flour substitute gluten-free all-purpose baking flour and a little extra tapioca flour (no more than a tablespoon). Go with the chocolate extract option for the additional extract and I also added a bit of mint extract (1/2 teaspoon) as well. For the icing I followed the directions for mint icing from the book but left out the green food coloring; I wanted to go for the classic peppermint look. Paint thin stripes of red gel food coloring inside a piping bag, 2-3 are all that is needed, then add the icing in to frost. Nothing fancy here other than a few simple substitutions.

by Ryan | 12.25.12 | Holidaze, Recipes | No Comments »

Christmas fettuccine

I am enjoying every minute of this joyous holiday season – holiday parties & get-togethers, delicious food & drink, & happy memories! We put together this “Christmas fettuccine” for a potluck & it was easy with only a few ingredients; I think it looks very festive with its red & green ingredients. We used al dente fiesta fettuccine, shallots, garlic, 2 packages of frozen spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, & salt & pepper to taste. Happy holidays!

by Valerie | 12.19.12 | Holidaze, Recipes | No Comments »

the rummy tum tum

Behold the new holiday drink: THE RUMMY TUM TUM. We had a whole bunch of rum we inherited from bygone parties and we are not really rum drinkers so Ryan decided he wanted to use some of it. Hot buttered rum didn’t sound appealing to him and he had the idea of only using ingredients we had on hand, or “McGyver-ing,” to make the drink.  With what was in our fridge and pantry he came up with this nifty little cocktail for your holiday needs.

Pictured above is the beautiful Mrs. Reedy enjoying a rummy tum tum and looking festive and fabulous as usual!

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup cider
  • 1 tbsp dark rum
  • 1 tbsp light rum
  • 1 tbsp 151 (rum)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp rye whiskey
  • the juice of 3-4 slices from a mandarin orange
  • a dash of cinnamon
  • a little fresh grated nutmeg
  • a dash of ginger
  • twist of orange peel and cinnamon stick for garnish, and maybe another little bit of nutmeg

In a shaker add all of the ingredients (except the garnish of course). Shake well without any ice. Add a few cubes of ice and shake again. Pour into a glass. Garnish and enjoy.

Thanks to the mix masters at Bar at Braun Court for the suggestion of adding citrus and dry shaking the ingredients before adding ice and shaking again.

by Valerie | 12.09.12 | Holidaze, Recipes | No Comments »

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