Thursday, August 4, 2011

Not Part of the Blog Tour...

I'm not as cool as CaitlinAverieKath, or Angela.
These super cool ladies (all favorite blogs of mine) got invited to "officially" review Mama Pea's new book as part of a "Blog Tour." They got swag to give away and everything.

Granted, they must get thousands of hits per day on their blogs...which can really help with the marketing of the book.  My max has been 24. (Woo Hoo!! I totally appreciate each and every one of my 24.)

Nonetheless, I'm a HUGE fan of Mama Pea.  (I admit, I kind of have a foodie crush.)
So, I thought I'd review the book myself.
Sorry, I don't have any freebies to give away. :(

I went a little Peas and Thank You crazy in the kitchen today.  (Tip: Go to that link and you can download 5 free recipes!)

For dinner, I made her Chickpea Strawberry Mango Salad.

As part of that, I made the Pumpkin Spice Roasted Chickpeas and Cinnamon Vinagrette (which didn't photograph's a brown dressing. Haha...).

Then, I also made her My Kind of Bar - a knockoff of the "Kind" bars.  I've seen them at the Starbuck's checkout, but have never felt right spending another $2ish bucks (on top of the $4ish for the coffee) for a glorified granola bar.   

All was delicious, but I've made many of Mama Pea's recipes before and I wouldn't expect anything less.  I almost had a What About Bob? moment while eating the salad though. Mmmm...mmmm...Delicious!

The book is much like her blog.  She has lots of fun stories about her family and pics of the girls throughout the book.  Her whit and anecdotes make her seem like your favorite gal pal that's just sharing a story and some recipes with you. 

Every recipe has a picture to go with it.  I love being able to see what things look like before I make them!!  I remember reading on the blog about the crazy weekend Mama Pea had when they photographed most of the food for the book.  Well, the hard work and craziness paid off.  The pictures are beautiful!

I love the way the book is organized.  Her index in the back has things organized by ingredient.  So, for example, tonight's salad had mint in it.  Now, I have a bunch of leftover mint and was wondering what I could make with it.  I looked up "mint" in the index and her recipe for Falafel with Tsaziki is listed.  Perfect!

I'd highly recommend getting this book.  It's not one of those cookbooks that will acquire a permanent residence on your kitchen shelf.  This is one that will have a messed up cover and wrinkled pages with various food splatters. Meat eaters and non-meat eaters alike will love the stuff in here. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011's in the Eye of the Beholder

I was happy to have ended today with a "win" in the baking department. 
It was kind of a rough day to begin with.  

Aaron woke up at 3am asking for milk.  I reminded him of our rule that he can't have milk until, he climbed into bed with me. 

Luckily, we have a king-size bed.  But, for some reason, Aaron needs 16" of space between him and the edge of the bed.  So, I was smooshed between him and Mike...and he proceeds to flop his arm over and smack me in the face, punch my boob, and kick me repeatedly in the legs.

Then he had to go potty.

Then he wanted to go back to his bed.  But needed me to come cover him.

Then, around 4:30 when there may have been a glint of sun, he tried the milk card again and argued that the sun was coming up.

I literally got ZERO sleep between 3 and 6am.  It was definitely a grumpy mommy morning.

I wish I could wake up in such an instance and mutter some sarcastic remarks...but still manage to whip up some beautiful layered smoothies รก la Mama Pea.  But no.  My child got some blueberries & raspberries...and a bag of Pirate's Booty (his request...and I wasn't in the mood to argue).  I set him up with a Veggie Tales movie on my computer, in bed with me, and I dozed off to the sounds of Silly Songs with Larry

When the movie (and my nap) was over, I found my sheets covered in a generous dusting of Pirate's Booty cheese with a couple red raspberry smears.  Lovely.  I had 3 loads of laundry to do anyway...might as well add in the sheets.

The entire day wasn't awful though.
We had a definite turn-around mid-afternoon.

I got my NCLEX test results online - I PASSED!!  I still have to wait for the official licensing from Oregon and I'll then have to apply for an endorsement from Washington...but, that horrible exam is behind me!! I think two of my stress zits went away immediately.  (Is it OK to talk about zits on a food blog??)

Then, in the mail, I got my copy of Peas and Thank You.

I also got word from the TV station where she's appearing on Monday that I can bring Aaron to the taping.  I'm beyond thrilled.  Not sure if my child can be quiet through an hour-long live show taping though.  I'm thinking I'll bribe him with a trip to the Space Needle (we have a free set of tickets from Mike's work) and a ride on the monorail.  Wow. This post sure is showing off my amazing parenting skills.

I was happy with how dinner turned out.  I made a Vegan Yellow Split Pea soup inspired by some that I had at our last trip to IKEA.  I found a random recipe online and then tweaked it.  I'll have to share it another time. Then, we had some homemade honey-wheat bread...and, for dessert, I made these yummy white chocolate raspberry scones.

Mike even said, "These are the best scones ever.  I'd pay money for these." 
So, you know they're good.

Something about the raspberries - they added more liquid or something when they got smooshed.  It ended up making them look all weird.  But, nonetheless, they're delicious.

White Chocolate Raspberry Scones

         2 cups all-purpose flour
         1/3 cup sugar
         1 teaspoon baking powder
         1/4 teaspoon baking soda
         1/2 teaspoon salt
         1 stick of unsalted butter
         1/2 cup white chocolate chips
         1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
         1 large egg
         1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
         Sugar for dusting (coarse sugar would be best, but regular sugar works too)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place rack on the lower-middle position.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Cut butter into small pieces and then use a pastry blender to mix it into the dry ingredients.

Blend the butter into the dry ingredients until they're little pea-sized clumps.  Then, add the white chocolate chips.

In a small bowl (or your measuring cup) whisk together the yogurt and egg until smooth.

Use a fork to stir the yogurt/egg mixture into the dry ingredients until large dough clumps form.  Add the raspberries here.  (I forgot to until later...) Then, use your hands to press the dough against the bowl into a ball. 

It will be pretty sticky at first and you will swear there is not enough liquid.  But keep pressing it and it will come together.  I promise.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7 or 8 inch circle. Sprinkle with sugar and use a knife or pizza cutter to cut it into several triangles.  Depending on how big you want them, you can do big or small.

Place the triangles about 1 inch apart on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Let cool for a few minutes after removing from the oven.  Then, transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tell yourself you'll only eat 1/2 of one - just to try them.
Then (after you've eaten 3 WHOLE ones) put the remaining scones into an air-tight container.

So yeah, like I said, not beautiful - but we can't always be perfect. 
On the bright side, they taste amazing...and it's a clean sheet night for me!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pretty Uneventful...

Another blogger I love is Caitlin Boyle over at Healthy Tipping Point.  She's really into dry cereal with yogurt for breakfast.  I typically need milk with my cereal. (Recently, it's been almond milk.)  However, the other day, her breakfast really intrigued me and I decided to try it for myself since I had everything on hand.  Into the bowl:

  • Plain nonfat greek yogurt
  • A drizzle of honey (Caitlin doesn't do the honey, but I'm not that hardcore.)
  • Some cereal - I used Gorilla Munch
  • Sliced banana

The combo was REALLY good.  May definitely become a breakfast regular.

Lunch was such a "MOM" lunch, it made me laugh.
I made Aaron a PB&J...with apple slices and a yogurt tube.

Here's what I had:

Remnants of the train sandwich and the final few apple slices that were in the bag. Where I actually found a few pieces that Aaron had gnawed on and put BACK in the bag.  I'm hoping it was from Aaron, at least.  (He had been eating them straight out of the bag a couple days ago.)

This evening, we went to a new favorite park.  It has an amazing play structure and sandbox for Aaron...

...and a nice jogging trail that goes around the park for me and Mike!  I need to take my Garmin to see how long the trail is.  We're estimating >1 mile...but not 2 miles. ??? So, tonight, Mike and I took turns running while the other person watched Aaron.

We left the park at 8, and hadn't had dinner, we stopped by Safeway on the way home and grabbed a take-n-bake pizza and salad.  Not the most healthy, but it'll do.

Since we're all off time-wise with the late dinner, Aaron is still up (way past his bedtime), so mom duties are calling.  Literally.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Going GREEN!

As I had shared earlier, I had made Kimberly Snyder's "glowing green smoothie" and was a little less than excited about the results.  However, I saw potential in the recipe.  There are so many GREEN foods in it as well - the nutrition content must be amazing!! (I'll have to look that up.)  So, I was determined to make it more the likelihood of my drinking MORE of it would actually go up.

We had a fun trip to our local farmer's market on Saturday and I had picked up a big bag of kale.

It was only after I had purchased it that the guy told me there were about 4-5 varieties in the bag.  
More than one exists??  I was only familiar with the typically seen "Curly Leaf" kale.  So, upon opening the bag, it was like a scientific classification game.  After dumping all the kale out and organizing it into piles based on appearance, I did some internet research to figure out what type each was.

Kale is considered a superfood based on its nutrient density.  It has tons of antioxidants and is considered an anti-inflammatory. There are, indeed, several different types of kale.  I had these types:

Since I had it on hand, I decided to use some of the kale as a base for my green smoothie.  I sampled the different types and the plain-leaved kale had the mildest flavor and softest leaf (allowing for easier blending).  So, I pulled the leaves off the stems (those are pretty tough) and chopped up a good 2 handfuls of it.

The main issues I had with the "Glowing Green Smoothie" was the thickness and the fact that I couldn't fit an entire batch in my blender.  I had to pour out 1/2 and blend...then add it back it.  It was a hassle, and a mess!  So, for my smoothie, I wanted it to be easily drinkable and portioned so one batch would fit in my blender.

I think the key to this smoothie is BLENDING.  Now, a Vita-Mix would work wonders here...but, I don't have, you just have to let it blend longer...and blend well after adding each ingredient. I'm not making any promises of "glowing" ...but it is super healthy!

Jennie's Super Green Smoothie

2 cups Water
2 handfuls of chopped kale, stems removed (If you can find the plain-leaved, go with that...otherwise, regular curly-leaved would be fine)

1 handful of baby spinach
2 stalks of celery
1 apple - cored and chopped
1 pear - cored and chopped
2 bananas
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Place water and kale in blender.  Blend well.
Add each ingredient individually and blend well.
Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 
Drink a glass full each morning and enjoy! 

Blend, Blend, Blend...
Yay! A FULL batch fit in my blender!
Then, absolute utter success was when my munchkin grabbed my glass, took a drink and said, "Mmm! Good!"  

So, make a batch and enjoy!!

Now, for transparency sake, I'm a sucker for baked goods...and ice cream.  All it takes is a glimpse of a brownie and I'm done for. They had a 4-pack of these babies for $1.99 at Safeway.  How could I pass that up?? It's a raspberry-filled croissant cup thingy...

I was talking to my hubby about the green smoothie as I started eating one of these.  He laughed and threatened to start a blog titled, "What Jen's REALLY eating..."

I do love nutrition and get excited about healthy food...but I'm far from perfect.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Birthday Treat

I had recently gotten this cookbook:


...but hadn't made anything from it.  Until today.  It was Mike's aunt's birthday yesterday and I wanted to make her a fun treat.   She's a veganish vegetarian...yeah, I just made up that term.  Essentially, she tries to eat vegan a lot but doesn't totally adhere to the label - especially when eating away from home. 

We had gone to the local farmer's market yesterday and I picked up some raspberries.

So, when I flipped through the book and saw a recipe for "Skinny" Vanilla Cupcakes with a raspberry topping, I knew those had to be the ones to make.

I've made vegan muffins before, but not cupcakes.  I've really found vegan baking to be easy - and really yummy.

The naked cupcake.  

I had to try one right out of the oven - just to make sure they were edible.
More than edible!!  They are a little spongier than your typical cupcake.  But really, flavor-wise, I doubt anyone would really suspect these didn't have eggs...and did have soy milk.

The recipe called to spread on some all-fruit jam. 

Then came the raspberries...and a drizzle of your basic powdered sugar icing.

I will definitely be trying some of the other recipes in this book! These were delicious.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Blogger Adolescence

I'm feeling like a jr. higher when it comes to blogging.  A little awkward looking, still trying to figure things out, and in desperate need of some fashion guidance.

So, as I sit here and rock out to some Ace of Base, I thought I'd try a food-log style entry.  Hence, the name of this blog is, "What's Jen Eating," so I might as well go that route.

While on vacation, I had a conversation with my Dad and had mentioned that I rarely eat salad.  Shocked, he was all, "Really? What do you eat!?"  I think it's a huge misnomer that all vegetarians eat is salad.  There are SO many yummy things to eat out there without meat that is not salad.

That said, ironically, today I did eat a salad for lunch.  Haha...

To begin the day, I had a green smoothie.  Green Monsters have been somewhat of a staple of mine for about a year now.  I love them.  My basic one is ice, about 1/4 cup of raw oatmeal, a banana, and a couple handfuls of baby spinach.  Blend it up and enjoy.  I know it sounds weird, but can't taste the spinach!  It tastes like banana.

Well, I recently heard Kimberly Snyder on the radio promoting her book, The Beauty Detox Solution.  It seemed like the basis of her "solution" is in a green smoothie.  I looked it up and decided to give it a try. This thing is hardcore.  It's a head of romaine, celery, spinach, an apple, a pear, a banana, lemon juice, cilantro & parsley (optional but I had them, so used them).  As a friend of mine commented about the batch she made, "it's more like salsa than a smoothie!"  I'm determined to tweak this and make it more palatable...but in an effort to use the batch that I had on hand, I used it as a base this morning and then added a banana, oatmeal, and ice...and blended it some more.  It was MUCH better.

For lunch, I had lots of leftovers. I threw together a salad because I had lettuce left over from that batch of green smoothie I made.  In the mix was romaine, a broccoli-slaw (shredded broccoli stems, cabbage, carrots) mix I had, some baby carrots, celery, and Mama Pea's Mmm Sauce.  Then, on the side, I had some Wheat Thins with vegan ricotta I had made for a pasta dish the night before.

I spent most of the day studying for my NCLEX while Mike took Aaron to Seattle to go to the Pacific Science Center.  They stopped by Pike's Market and got me flowers on the way home!!  I love my boys.

That said, dinner was about as thrown together as lunch.  We stopped by the store and I was inspired by some Naan I saw to make a curry dish, knowing that I had some Trader Joe's Yellow Curry sauce in the pantry.

This stuff is awesomesauce. Hehe...  Sorry, had to.  Seriously though, you throw together some veggies, pour it on top, and serve with rice or naan.  It's delicious!

Our dinner consisted of onion, potatoes, red bell pepper, carrots, broccoli, and Quorn Chik'n tenders...with naan.

I forgot to take a picture when it was plated.  It wasn't until I took our plates to the sink that I remembered I was doing this post today and I needed to take a picture!

This naan was really yummy. It's from British Columbia...which I almost feel is somewhat local since we're so far up here now. Hehe...

So, thanks for being on this journey with me.  I've had the urge to do a food blog for a while now and I'm really hoping to get it up and out all the kinks of what style of blog I'm going to have  and get consistent with posting.

Friday, July 22, 2011

New house = New Kitchen!

We recently moved up to the Seattle area and I LOVE our new place.  It literally has everything I had on my "want" list for a place.  Unfortunately, we're just renting and I have a feeling it's going to be hard to leave in a year.

Until then, I'm going to enjoy my new kitchen.  It's gorgeous.  Lots of space, including an actual pantry!  Plus, it has a gas stovetop.  The only person I've ever known to have a gas stove is my grandma.  Now, every time I start my stove, all these memories come up of cooking with my grandma.  I had no idea it'd have that affect on me, but I love it.

While unpacking my kitchen stuff, I found a bag of kamut flour that I'd picked up at Bob's Red Mill a while ago so I could make these cookies.  I have no idea what kamut is, but Angela at Oh She Glows had done several trials with this cookie and pretty much said you had to use kamut.  I had made a batch a while ago and they are amazing.  Definitely a favorite - especially since Mike and Aaron enjoy them.  (Especially for Aaron, anytime I can get him to eat something healthy, it's an exciting moment.)

So, Aaron and I decided to make Angela's Strawberry Thumbprints the other day.
Aaron really enjoyed helping and it was so fun having him in the kitchen actually cooking with me instead of tearing stuff apart or hanging on my legs.

He LOVED pushing the button on the Cuisinart.  

Cookies all prepped and ready for the strawberry jam.

Ready for the oven...

The finished product.  They are delicious...obviously, as this batch didn't last 24 hours in our house. 

Now, I found this on my last trip to Trader Joe's...

Sugar, Chocolate, and Coffee Bean grinder?!?! At $1.99, how could I pass it up??  Now, I'm just trying to figure out what to put it on.  I added some to my coffee this morning.  It was delicious!

Friday, March 18, 2011

It's a Wafflet!

I thought of calling it a Womelet, but it's definitely more waffle than egg.

I have an awesome husband.  He puts up with my crazy foodie whims so well.  For the most part, he'll eat whatever I fix...and if he doesn't like it, he will happily fix his default food - a Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwich.

We had been vegan for about a month, following Mama Pea's Pealightful Plans in an attempt to lose some weight.  Mike has been very adamant about sharing that he is not vegan because he has any issues with killing animals for food.  He simply wants to lose weight.  (He stated this loudly in Whole Foods one day.  I was ready for the vegan police to jump out from behind the boxes of tofu and arrest us on the spot!)  Mike has been doing very good with eating vegan and is even sticking with it at work when he makes his own choices for lunch.  I'm so proud. :)

However, he told me that he missed breakfast food - waffles, pancakes, scrambled eggs. Well, why didn't you say something sooner? I knew I could come up with some vegan breakfast items! After finding a few recipes online, I created these waffles.

Vegan Waffles
1 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
3/4 TBSP baking powder
1/2 TBSP baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 block low-fat silken tofu
1 TBSP unsweetened applesauce
3/4 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups water or non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk.)
1 TBSP melted coconut oil (or canola would work)
1 tsp vanilla
1 TBSP agave nectar  (or more, to taste)

How to Make It:
1. Preheat a waffle iron.

2. Mix the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a large bowl.

3. Combine the tofu, applesauce, vinegar, water/milk, oil, vanilla, and agave nectar in a blender or food processor until it is smooth.

4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir to combine.

5.  Spray the waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray.

6.  Pour batter onto waffle iron and spread it out a little bit to cover most of the grid.

7.  Cook according to your iron's directions.  Mine has a little light that comes on when it's done.  I've found that these take longer than typical waffles.  I think it'd due to the protein from the tofu.

8.  Serve warm with Earth Balance margarine or butter, syrup, berries, etc.

OR make it a Wafflet!

These waffles have an eggy texture from the tofu.  I came up with the Wafflet idea last time I made these because I love combining lots of flavors.  The options for your Wafflet are endless.  I made mine using Sunflower Butter (so yummy - found it at Trader Joe's), sliced banana, maple syrup, and unsweetened coconut.  Delicious!

Spread some sunflower butter (almond or peanut would also work great) on 1/2 of your waffle.  Like I said, it's eggy - so, it wrinkles easily.

Slice about 1/2 a banana...

Then, fold the top 1/2 over, like an omelet.
Drizzle with maple syrup and sprinkle with unsweetened coconut.