Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: Final Eats!

Happy New Year's Eve! 

For me 2011 was all about settling into a new life in a new city with a new job surrounded by new people.  It also included getting (geographically) closer to family and dear friends from my past.  It's been a busy year full of exploring, meeting new friends, and making a home in Portland.  I'm excited to spend the next year having fun!  I have a mental list of little goals for 2012 and I'll probably try to write them down at some point today, but my umbrella hope for the new year is to continue to have fun doing what I do.

If you have any hopes, goals or resolutions for 2012 I'd love hear about them in the comments! 

Here are some of my final eats for 2011:

Oatmeal for breakfast, pretty much every day.  Sometimes with chia, but I've run out until I get to the grocery store again.  I got these sweet ramekins in a variety of colors for Christmas this year.  Aren't they pretty?

We've been making a lot of pizza.  It's cheap, fast, and so good.  Also, one of my favorite foods.  The chanterelle mushrooms were picked by my parents, which made that pizza even more special.  The olive bar at the grocery store makes for interesting pizza toppers.  And we've discovered that the cheddar style daiya makes an incredible stuffed crust.  Yes, we went there.

And we're still getting greens with giant salads, smoothies and juices.  My craving for fresh greens has come back with a fury.   Seeing amazing green food on blog-friends' posts has helped.  So, thanks for that!

Also, thanks for visiting me here and leaving comments.  I'm grateful for my blog-friends and look forward to spending time with you in 2012.   Have a nice New Year's Eve! 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Holiday Treats

Happy Holiday!  This year's festivities have been sweet and mellow.  Just the way I prefer them.  Good company, kitchen time, music and cats have made this weekend memorable and fun.  Here are a few shots of our treats:
Dark chocolate with pistachios and dried cherries.  Easy, pretty, delicious.

Pumpkin whoopie pies.  I added fresh grated ginger to the filling.  Mmmm.

Lower Fat Banana Bread from Veganomicon.
Chocolate Chip Pistachio Cookies from The Joy Of Vegan Baking.

 Matching aprons.  The gun is made of kitchen utensils.
 Watch out veggies! 

I'm feeling very grateful for all of the love and goodness that I get to experience not just on the holidays, but every day.  I was touched and inspired by Gena's post,  where she talks about remembering the animals who are suffering this season.  Sometimes it's hard to feel good about the luxuries of my life knowing that innocent animals are subjected to pain every day in order to feed and clothe humans.  I don't mean to get all gloomy on Christmas, but it's a topic that I wanted to mention.  I'm grateful to all of you who do your part to avoid consuming animal products.  That's the best gift that I can think of.  I thought about it too late this year, but next year I'm going to ask my family to gift me donations to no-kill shelters, animal sanctuaries, and rescue groups.  No gift would make me happier. 

On a lighter note, I hope your holiday weekend has been nice, full of good times and happy memory making.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cozy Dinner: Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes & Maple Tahini Brussels Sprouts

Mmmm, warm and sweet and savory.  Twice baked potatoes are so easy, I don't know why I don't make them more often.  And I've only made Brussels sprouts a few times, but I'm becoming a fan of throwing them in a hot oven until they start to caramelize and crisp up on the outside. 

Jewel sweet potatoes are perfect for this time of year.  The color is beautiful and the sweetness really compliments the creamy and savory mix-ins.  I don't use a recipe for twice baked potatoes.  I just bake the potatoes at 375 degrees until they're soft, cut in half, scoop out the soft insides and mix in whatever I have on hand until it tastes delicious.  Use the mixture to re-fill the potato halves and put them back in the oven until they start to brown.  The filling in this batch has vegan cream cheese, daiya cheddar cheese, soy creamer, sliced green onion, salt and pepper.  I topped them with more daiya cheddar shreds and green onion.

Yum.  Now, the sprouts.  Once again, I have no recipe.  Just cut them in half and toss them in a combo of tahini, maple syrup, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper. Roast in a 400 degree oven until tender when poked with a fork and starting to brown and crisp on the outside.  The tahini sauce turns into a cheesy coating that's pretty delicious.  

Sometimes the best meals start with a craving and are put together with what's on hand, without following a recipe.  By taste.  There's been a lot of these types of meals around here lately.  Yum. 

Also, it's been hard not to slip into winter hibernation, but I'll try to get my camera out more often.  Hope you're enjoying the holiday season.  Cheers!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hello, December

December! Happy holiday season to you.  The past month has been full of family time and getting warm and cozy.  I went on a Veganomicon bender and enjoyed some hearty comfort food inspired by two of my favorite cookbook authors, Terry and Isa. 

Leek and Bean Cassoulet with Biscuits

Portobello Piccata with Olives and Green Beans
served on mashed potatoes

As soon as it got cold I couldn't get enough hearty, warm food.  Happens every winter.  This week I'm getting the balance back with fresh fruit (persimmons!) and big salads. 

Look at how beautiful my neighborhood was last month.  I enjoyed many long walks.  
Happy Tuesday and I hope your December is off to a festive start.