Monday, November 28, 2011

I was thankful for my stretchy waist yoga pants.

For the seventh consecutive year, the spouse and I spent Thanksgiving with some of my favorite people. I think that it all started because we were all vegetarians who felt left out of our family's traditional celebrations, who just couldn't stomach another year of eating the gross frozen corn and fielding the "what does a vegetarian eat/don't you miss meat" questions. There is also the whole "avoiding the family drama" element that is a wonderful side effect of this tradition. Thus, Thanksgiving has become one of my most highly anticipated holidays.

Recently, the spouse and I have moved into the realm of eating fish. The spouse has gone a step further, and introduced sustainably sourced meat and poultry to his diet. Thus, Jaime decided to add an actual turkey breast to the menu. This does not upset me. I have never been a big fan of the "protein" part of Thanksgiving, so I didn't miss having the Quorn roast substitute (which recently has decided to disagree with me my digestive system, blah). I was always fond of the big plate o'sides, albeit freshly made sides.

Sometimes, in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, I get discouraged...I don't want to make pie crust from scratch, I don't want to chop apples, blah blah blah. But then I do it, and it's easy, and I'm eating tasty food that was made with love.

My contributions to this year's menu:
Green Bean Casserole (I subbed Trader Joe's Fried Onions, and loved it.)

Smoky Brussel Sprout Gratin from the December 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living

Bourbon Cranberry Sauce (Ridiculously easy, ridiculously delicious.)

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower (Roast the garlic, it's better this way. Also, I probably didn't need to make this, as we had too much food.)

Pumpkin pie (unknown internet recipe). I always use the pie crust recipe from my Cuisinart food processor.

Apple pie. Once again, my own crust recipe.

The spread.
The Spread

My (first) plate (yes, I ate two whole plates of food).
100% Homemade

I ate so much food this time that I had to change into yoga pants when I got home, and then take the dogs for a long walk in an attempt to burn some calories. I think it took me two whole days to fully digest everything. Thanksgiving Success!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

No Chili Peppers?

I made this chili for dinner last night. I will now publicly declare that I love this chili so much that I will marry it. Of course, I never follow a recipe exactly, so here's what I changed:

1. Instead of using fresh serrano peppers, I chopped a can of chili peppers in adobo sauce. This added a lot of spice, but we like our food spicy. Thanks, Whole Foods, for this. I'm not sure I understand how a store can sell every odd vegetable out there, but not have one type of chile pepper available for purchase in the produce section, not even the lowly jalapeno. (Yes, I asked. They had none.) However, I will continue to use the canned peppers, because I loved the flavor of the chili with them.

2. Instead of fresh tomatoes, I used one can of diced tomatoes with green chiles, and one can of diced tomatoes. Tomatoes are out of season here, and I refuse to purchase the crappy ones that can be used as tennis balls. (I will however buy Kumatos. I love those things. They are an oddly tasty engineered version of the tomato.)

3. I omitted the tomato sauce and the additional water/broth, as I did not want my chili to become soup.

I served it with nonfat Greek yogurt (instead of sour cream) and some grated cheddar. On my side of the table, I crunched up some tortilla chips on top and made myself a "frito pie." This one is a keeper.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cooking Some Stuff

I finally got around to making this Pumpkin Cranberry Bread. I have had it bookmarked for a while, and then added it to my Pinterest desserts board when I started cleaning out the million food bookmarks that I had emailed to myself over the years. (Side note: Pinterest = Awesome). My only modification was to skip the nuts. I hate nuts in baked goods. I simply added extra cranberries. Thus was born my favorite quick bread, ever. Ever. This shit is good.

The spouse has been doing this minimal carbs thing for several months now. I've been doing my best to accommodate his diet, and he's been really successful (lost +50 lbs thus far). At first, it was difficult, as I would frequently resort to pasta for dinner on a weeknight because it was so quick and easy. Now, I just resort to soups and salads. (When I want pasta, I make him spaghetti squash, and I measure out and prepare my portion of pasta. This is an easy compromise.) Occasionally, I go a little crazy, as I did yesterday, and make a full meal. I made crab cakes for the first time. I'm not linking to the recipe that I used, because I'm not satisfied that they were as awesome as they could have been. They were simply tasty, but I didn't want extra. I made mashed cauliflower (skipped the scallions because I hate them, and next time I will roast the garlic before adding it--raw was a little too much bite). I also caramelized some red onions and threw them on some baby arugula with goat cheese and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. That was really good. Onions plus lettuce plus cheese plus vinegar equals delicious.