Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wordless Wednesday



Today is The Beagle's 5th Birthday. Here are some pictures and a video to celebrate. And yes, there will be hamburger for dinner tonight. :)


The day I brought the little love ball home (4 years ago)



The Beagle's 1st trip to the coast


What a happy puppy face.


The Beagle plays dress up.



Aw.. my little man's 5th Birthday! (and our 4 year anniversary)






video

Monday, March 29, 2010

Corned Beef and Cabbage



DB and I celebrated St. Patricks Day with this delicious easy meal. It uses a slow cooker and thank G*D since I had a slight flea problem to deal with that day.... (more on this later)


Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage

Ingredients

1 corned beef package (I bought mine at Safeway. It was labeled as GF so YAY!)
1 head of cabbage, quartered
3 carrots, chopped
2 large Yukon gold potatoes, diced into large pieces
Fresh parsley to garnish

Carrots and potatoes in the bottom of a slow cooker. Rinse corned beef of excess brine and pat dry. Trim away the fat layer. Place on top of the vegetables and empty the contents of the included spice package on top of the meat. Fill the slow cooker with enough water to cover the meat and cook on high for 6 hours. About 20 minutes before you're ready to serve, Stick in cabbage and continue cooking. REmove from slowcooker and sprinkle with chopped parsley.


That's it.

This meal is hearty, quick (in the sense that you "set it and forget it"), cheap (the beef is less that $2/lb) and delicious and I saved the broth for future use. Num Num


Carrot Date Cake


So this is really more of a muffin but I don't have muffin pans, so I made a cake.

GF, SF Carrot Date Cake*
Adapted from Amy's Carrot Date Spice Muffins

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups Flour blend
2/3 cups buckwheat flour
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon all spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons flax meal
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup soy milk, heated for about 30 seconds in the microwave
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/4 unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup grated carrot
3/4 cup chopped dates

Lightly grease small glass cake pan.
Combine soy milk and vinegar and set aside. This will turn into "buttermilk". Thoroughly mix other ingredents except dates and carrots until combined. Stir in "buttermilk" until mixed through and then stir in carrots and dates. Pour/scoop into cake pan and bake at 375 for about 30 minutes, or until the center is done.

This freezes and reheats well. A make again recipe.



Food for Thought

Due to my travels over the past week, I skipped my CSA package. Unfortunately, this meant that I came home to a house with no produce and in Jayme-world, this is a house with no food. I traveled to a local natural grocer to do an experiment. I wanted to buy a CSA-sized equivalent of organic veggies and fruit. I ventured into the produce section and bought a variety of things such as green leaf lettuce, rainbow chard, zucchini, danish squash, beets, and baby carrots. I also looked up the prices of a half dozen of free range "happy" eggs: Just round $2.40. I picked up some other non-CSA things such as some organic, humane-certified, lamb shoulder, Regular bananas (I've been forcing these down my throat for potassium, and Nancy's yogurt. My total for the trip was $28.54. If I were to hypothetically buy those eggs, it would have been $30.94. The total CSA-replacement veggies was $20.02 or $22.42 if I had the eggs.

I would probably compare the variety of produce that I bought today, equivalent to a size small share which runs $22/week. However, I would compare the amount of produce to the medium size share which runs $36/week.

The reason why I am comparing these two "methods" is because I am finding out that I am more sensitive to a variety of foods than I thought I was. It is likely that I will not be able to eat some of the vegetables or fruit that CSA provides.

Here are the pros and cons of each "method"

Grocery store
Pros:
  • I can choose what I want to buy. ie: I don't like cabbage, yet I get a ton of it with the CSA. If something is on sale, I can buy it and save money
  • I can purchase other non-produce things such as meat and in the future, grains for the same amount of money
  • If I am going to be gone on the weekends, I don't have to accommodate my meals when I get back to eat the remaining veggies before they go bad.
  • I don't have to worry about having to pick up my package at a specific time and location. I can go to the grocery store anytime I want.
  • I have a giant basil plant at home, so I don't need a lot of the herbs the CSA provides... plus, I'm a little sick of cilantro.
  • Once the farmers markets are in full swing, I can save more money.
  • This is a lot cheaper!
Cons:
  • I have to deal with the crowded grocery stores.
  • The produce at the store is organic, but is not as fresh, and not typically local (most things are from Mexico) Perhaps this will change in the summer?
  • I'm not supporting a local farm. I am supporting large Mexican farms and contributing to the effects of the transportation of my food from Mexico to Oregon.
  • I am not forced to try new things

Don't get me wrong, I love the CSA, but I am also living on a limited budget and have no income. I have felt a little bad for spending so much on the CSA every week. If I can promise myself to stick to the same quality of foods while continuing to eat with variety, I feel more justified shopping at my local grocery store. In the future, when I have a job and am not in law school, I would love to participate in a CSA. But for now, I still have a few weeks left in my subscription but once I am done, I will cancel my membership. (I think)


What are your thought about this? Should I stay, or should I go?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I couldn't agree more

People trust their dogs to know them better than their friends, survey says

By Jacques Von Lunen, Special to The Oregon...

March 22, 2010, 1:53PM
The results of a recent survey of dog owners illustrate just how strong the emotional bond is between them and their pooches.

The vast majority of respondents to the survey, which was commissioned by dog-snack maker Pup-Peroni and conducted by Kelton Research, said they believe they communicate with their dogs. Many said they relate to their dogs better than they do to human friends. -- Nearly three-fourths of dog owners surveyed said they can interpret their dogs' body language or facial expressions correctly.

-- Nearly half believe they know exactly what their pet is thinking.

-- More than one-third reported to have had entire conversations with their dogs without using words.

-- Almost half said that their canine friend is more likely to notice they've had a bad day than their best human friend.

-- More than two-thirds believe their dogs know when they feel happy.

-- Large majorities said their dogs are able to pick up on emotions such as happiness (69 percent), anger (67 percent) and sadness (58 percent), without having to say a word.

-- An overwhelming 89 percent of dog owners believe there have been moments when their dogs tried to comfort them in times of need.

-- Nearly two-thirds believe their dogs are more dependable than their human best friends.

-- Two-thirds said they feel guiltier about leaving their dogs behind than their own family and friends when they leave on trips.

-- Nearly three-fourths prefer to wind down by taking a walk with their dogs, rather than with a human companion.

-- The vast majority (89 percent) say their dogs are more excited when they come home than are their significant others.

-- Jacques Von Lunen





http://www.oregonlive.com/pets/index.ssf/2010/03/people_trust_their_pets_to_kno.html

Break

Hum... Spring Break. One of my last ones.

So far...
  • I've rid my apartment of the flea I found on The Beagle's tummy and all of its' potential family members,
  • attended an Oregon track meet,
  • went to Corvallis to hang out with DB,
  • drove from Corvallis to Ocean Park, Washington along Highway 99 to 101 (it was in the mid-60's and sunny the entire time!)
  • Spent a few days playing with The Beagle, DB's roommate's dog, and running on the beach
  • Got a new eyeglass prescription (have yet to get new glasses)
  • Prepare for an interview for tomorrow. (wish me luck!)
The rest of this short week will be spent:
  • Going to this interview
  • driving back down to Eugene
  • Tea date with my sorority sister GC
  • Driving down to Ashland with DB and his brothers.

I should probably get some school work done during this week. bah.

Sad news...
My new blender died. Something happened with the motor and it's just vibrating, not turning. This puts a slight hamper on my smoothie obsession. Perhaps I will steal my mom's blender that she never uses...

I promise to be back on the cooking/creating bandwagon soon folks. In the meantime, enjoy the pictures below:



Friday, March 19, 2010

My future....

Sustainability comes in small steps for Portland mother

By Carrie Sturrock, Special to The Oregonia...

March 18, 2010, 1:28PM

Monique Dupre doesn't buy processed food. Her kids don't have the consumer bug. She grinds her own flour. Composting goes without saying. She doesn't own a TV. Or a cell phone.

I met Dupre in an introduction course she taught recently on sustainable living on a budget sponsored by the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.

If hers is an introduction to sustainability, I thought as I left the class, I'm hopeless.

When someone asks Dupre's two children, "What do you want from Santa?" they usually stare blankly at the questioner, she told us, even though they have very few toys (and those toys include a basket of rocks). The one time her daughter did answer, she said, "I want wings so I can fly like the fairies."

My kids would have a ready answer (cha-ching!) that would just add to their already too-large toy collection.

Dupre, 30, doesn't buy crackers, cereal or canned foods. She bakes bread.

My cupboards contain crackers, cereal and canned food.



The rest of the article is continued here:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Triple Tuesday

SB was sick this morning so this left me to swim and fend for myself. Thankfully, the pool was practically empty since the undergrads have finals this week. I was able to get myself to go on a quick run when I got back home.

I felt inspired today and cooked up a storm after classes today.

Recipes are below. Enjoy.

Rainbow Chard with Sausage and Portabella Mushrooms

Ingredients:

2 links of sausage, cooked and sliced (I used DB family's)
1 bunch of rainbow chard, ribs removed and torn into pieces
1 cup portabella mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon seasoning (I use Kirkland Signature Organic Salt-Free Seasoning)

Saute mushrooms on medium high for about 10 minutes. Add sliced sausage and continue sauteing for another 5 minutes. Add garlic, chopped chard ribs, and seasoning. Once the ribs begin to soften, add in chard leaves and cover with a lid. after a minute or two, mix leaves with the other ingredients and replace the lid. Turn off the heat, but leave the covered pan on the burner for 10 minutes.

Sausage and mushrooms cooking away

A buttery slice of a portabella.

Beets with Feta Cheese

Ingredients:

1 cup Beets
1 oz feta cheese (I had a herb and garlic kind on hand)
Balsamic Vinegar to taste


Dice roasted and peeled beets into bite sized pieces. Crumble feta cheese on top and mix well. Add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar if you want.



This was so easy, I can hardly call it a recipe.

Grapefruit Marmalade

Ingredients:

One grapefruit
1 tablespoon applesauce
1 cup water
2 cups sugar

Use a vegetable peeler to peel the grapefruit. Once you get all of the peel off (try to avoid getting any of the white pith), slice the peel into thin slices and then slice the bunch in half.

Desegment the rest of the grapefruit. Make sure to do this over a bowl so that you catch all of the juice. Pick out any seeds that fall into the bowl.

In a small saucepan, combine applesauce, peel, fruit pieces, and water and bring to a boil for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer for about 30 minutes. In the meantime stick a small dish in the freezer. Stir in all of the sugar and continue stirring for 15 minutes.

Take the dish out of the freezer and place about a teaspoon of the marmalade onto the dish. After about a minute check the consistency of the blob. If the mixture wrinkles when you touch it, it's ready. Remove from heat and pour into a container.

Let cool and store in the fridge.

I'm not a huge marmalade fan, but I had a bunch of CSA grapefruits I hadn't yet touched so I decided to be creative. I've also never made jam before. The end result was pretty good. A little more bitter than orange marmalade, but I made it myself so it tasted better.

I suggest using only about 1 1/2 cups of sugar, instead of the 2 cups because this was a tad too sweet for my tastebuds.

The Beagle, paitently awaitng for the marmalade to finish.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Shamrock Run


Day Light Savings ended (or started, I'm never sure) the morning of the Shamrock Run this past Sunday. This meant that we had to wake up an hour earlier. This also meant that it was extra cold that morning. The Shamrock run is made up of various distances: 5K, 8K, 15K and a few different walk distanced as well. It draws over 22,000 participants and as my wonderful friend stated, "The size of Roseburg". DB, my Wonderful Friend, and The Married Folk joined me in the 8K run. I also met up with CG, a friend of mine from law school. The run started out slow since it was so jam-packed with people. I took it easy the first mile but then realized that I needed to pick up the pace and continued to get my groove on the rest of the way. I finished and thankfully, not a slowly as I had expected. To be honest, you could have told me that it was a 5K and I wouldn't have noticed a difference in distance. By pace however, was a minute slower than my 5K pace. I should have pushed myself a little more.

We were rewarded with salmon chowder and beers after the race. I didn't partake in the beer, and probably shouldn't have partaken in the chowder, but it was SO good, and warm and delicious.

My wonderful friend had to go to work so DB and The Married Folk and I went to check out the Portland Saturday/Sunday Market. I must say that the Saturday Market was a lot cooler back in high school, or even college. There is still a wide range of neat stuff including some delicious GF seasoned nuts, but I think a little part of me became too old for the trendy hipster trinkets they sell there. *sigh*

Speaking of old. I found out that The Married Folk are expecting! Is it weird that I'm so excited for them? I honestly couldn't think of better people to become parents and well better people who could handle it.

In other news, I received my new blender in the mail today. I've already made 2 smoothies. One for breakfast and one just now for course 1 of my dinner. Seeing that I have a lot of leafy greens from the CSA, I added them to my smoothies and they are DELICIOUS! Spinach leaves? Yes please! Beet greens, Yes please! Basically each smoothie has half a banana, some mix of frozen fruit, whatever leafy green I had on hand, a scoop of flax meal, some soy milk, some plain yogurt, and a sprinkle of stevia powder. Even better is that they have been very filling. I had a smoothing around 10:30 or 11 this morning and it curbed my mid afternoon "hunger pains." How fantastic is THAT?! Recipes will be posted in the future.

Happy about how early it is... I'm sure.

The boys and their stretching. pssst

Us girls trying to keep warm.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I need more productive days like this


What a wonderful productive day in law school land. I med my friend AG at the gym at 7am this morning to lift weights. I than proceeded to go for a short run when I got home. I would have loved to go on a 4-5 miler, but due to the recent issues my knees I did a short 5K. This morning was cold but by the time I got out for the run, the sun came out and it felt like one of those cool crisp mornings where I could go forever.

I didn't split by CSA share with DB this week because I didn't see him at all. I however I have been a big girl and I am determined to finish everything on my own. I seemed to have backlogged a lot of this consumption today. It's apparently prime greens season on the farm, and I have been getting about 2 or 3 varies of greens plus a bunch of various lettuces. Well, let's just say I had mustard greens for breakfast this morning. They were good though and good for me. Full of Vitamins K, A, and C, the greens also have a wide range of other nutrients such as foliate, calcium, manganese, and other good stuff. I sauteed the entire bunch in garlic and olive oil. YUMMY.

When you really put it together, the mustard greens were a wonderful post workout fuel. After my shower I decided to try out a plain version of the English muffins I made yesterday. I included buckwheat into the mix. They were good and before I went to class at 1pm I had accomplished a full workout, a wonderful breakfast, English muffins and even a nap.

On my return from class I remembered the turnip and carrots I had left to eat. When I think of root vegetables I either think of drenching them in olive oil and balsamic vinegar and roasting them or curry. I have never made curry from scratch, but it was cold today and I craved something wholesome. I also am in love with my slow cooker. Combine root vegetables and my slow cooker and you get slow cooker root vegetable curry, recipe below.

After my final class (taxity tax tax), I came home and finished my reading for tomorrow and outlined the weeks' tax classes. I'm on a roll. An now it's barely 7pm and I got more done that I usually do in 2 days and have nothing left to do but relax, watch the telly, and get to bed early to be refreshed for my glorious swim workout with SB tomorrow morning. I hope to also get another run in tomorrow before I head to Corvallis. I am anxious for the 8K this weekend, but I just hope my knees hold up.

Root Vegetable Curry with Chickpeas.

Ingredients

1 medium turnip
5 medium carrots
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup diced onion
1 can of diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained (15 oz)
1 tablespoon of minced fresh ginger root
2 tablespoons of curry powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup soy milk (you could use coconut milk for more delicious flavor.)

Peel and chop turnip and carrot into bite-sized pieces. Mince garlic. Add all ingredients into a slow-cooker and stir to distribute spices. Cook on high for 6 hours or until turnips and carrots are tender. Serve over rice.

Easy peasy

Next time I plan on trying to toss in some raisins for a bit of sweetness to the curry. You can also use quinoa instead of rice for a complete protein meal.



So far my plans to wake up the same time every day has increased my productivity and healthful food choices. I hope the weather cooperates with my new found motivation.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Cinnamon Raisin English Muffins- GF, SF

Bad news bears. My knees are killing me. After my run the other day they are throbbing with sharp pain. What the heck?! I'm taking it slow and we'll see how I feel after the Shamrock 8K this weekend.

So, The Beagle and I were sitting at home, watching Wheel of Fortune when I got a knock on the door. The Beagle did his guard dog duties by howling and barking and running to the door. I still think this is funny because he only does this at night when it's dark, never in the day. Such a good protector. Anyways, It was a nicely dressed man was at the door explaining something about this program that he was in and handed me a resume to read over. He went on to explain his program (i wasn't paying attention) and then asked about me. I told him the law school run down and he proceeded to ask me to purchase a magazine subscription. I said, "No." because I didn't have enough time to read (due to law school). Everyone knows this is a joke. Then he said that I could purchase a subscription and donate it to a Boys and Girls Club. I said that I was on a budget. I'm going to Hell. After I convinced him that I was not interested he asked me if I had a boyfriend. Um.. yes kind sir, I do. He then said that there was "something about me" that he had to just ask. Thanks, creeper, goodbye now.

One of the biggest things I miss eating are a certain egg and sausage breakfast sandwich from a certain fast food chain. Oh, how I miss those, but unfortunately, they come with a gluten filled English muffin. I tried out a new recipe and made delicious cinnamon raisin english muffins. They don't look pretty, but oooooooh so good, quick, and easy! Next time I'm making them plain and than making myself a delicious breakfast sandwich.


Cinnamon Raisin English Muffins, Gluten Free and Sugar Free

Ingredients:
1 and 1/2 cups Flour blend (I make my own with rice flour and various starches)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 packet regular yeast
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of warm water
1 teaspoon oil
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins
Corn meal for coating

Mix all ingredients except from cinnamon, raisins, and cornmeal.
Once blended, stir in cinnamon and raisins.
Divide the dough into 6 balls (or globs, in my case) and roll in corn meal.
Place on a greased cookie sheet and flatten them out to about 4inch rounds.
Place in a warm place to rise for 20 minutes.
After the dough has increased in height, bake in a preheated oven at 375 for 15 minutes.

Cool on a rack and than use a fork to split. Toast until crunchy and enjoy!

You can omit the cinnamon and raisins for plain English muffins.

Kind of looks like a big cookie, right?


Sooooooooo good! One of my favorite GF recipes yet.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Ethics, smecthics

Hello World,

I'm back. Over the past few days, I've been studying away for the MPRE. I took it this morning and all there is to do is to wait 5 weeks for the results. Let's hope for that score of 85 so I can actually practice in Oregon.

The weather has been fabulous the past couple of days. Yesterday, I was bogged down with doing practice exams when my mommy called me just to see how I was doing. She asked if I went on a run with The Beagle yet and I had not. Well, she guilted me into it. The Beagle and I set out and because I was getting tired of my usual routes, I decided to combine two of them. It was a good route, but unfortunately, my knees really hurts now. :( There should be a link to the route at the end of this post... I hope.

Okay so on to why anyone reads this thing.

I have had a few mishaps in the kitchen this week. SF Brownies made with cocoa powder: mishap. But never fear, I made something delicious and healthy.

Rainbow Chard with Caramelized Onions

Ingredients

1/2 of a large white onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
1 bunch of rainbow chard

Heat a splash of olive oil in a saute pan and turn on medium high. Dump in onions and stir for about a minute. Turn the heat down to medium and continue cooking with the occasional stir. While the onions are caramelizing, wash and dry chard. Remove the stems but do not toss them. Tear the chard leaves into medium pieces (about 4 pieces per leaf). Dice the stems separately. After about 8-10 minutes, the onions will have caramelized and hopefully, not burned. If the onions are starting to look crispy, turn the heat down. Once the onions are looking good, toss in the chard stems and cook for another 2 minutes. Add in garlic and chard leaves and cook until they have shrunk in size and are tender. Season with a dash of salt and pepper, but that's all they need.

I also squirted a bit of lemon juice on the finished product because I had a CSA lemon going bad.








Aw.... and now for you meateaters:

Mushroom and Onion Burgers

Ingredients

2lbs ground hamburger
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1 can mushrooms
1 egg
3 tablespoons soy sauce (I used GF)


Chop up mushrooms, onion, and garlic in a food processor until minced. In a bowl combine hamburger, minced mushrooms, onion, garlic, and egg. Once thoroughly combined and your hands are thoroughly frozen, mix in soy sauce. Divide the mix into 8 balls and than flatten each ball into a patty. Cook or grill as you would any other burger.







Sorry, I wrapped and froze all the patties before I could get any pictures. But believe me, these are delicious and probably healthier than your average homemade burger.