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Lentil Apple Walnut Loaf

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I bought a new cookbook sometime in the past few weeks. Clean Food is just one item that Brent has pointed to as evidence of me having an online shopping problem. He may be right. I may be too bored for my own good. All that is irrelevant, however, because this book has recipes that I wish I ate more of. I was entranced while reading through it, and I began cooking from it as soon as I had time, which was today.

I chose to make Lentil Apple Walnut Loaf along with Winter Green Salad with Sugared Walnuts, Crispy Pears and Pomegranate. Let’s start with the salad, shall we? Today was my first time ever disassembling and eating pomegranate. It was interesting, and man, pomegranate is gorgeous, right? Look at that color!

I loved this salad! One note about the walnuts – I baked them for 15 minutes (the author suggested 20), and they were on the edge of burned, so watch out for that if you cook from this book. I have leftovers of all the ingredients, so I’m making this salad again sometime this week. It was definitely delicious.

On to the lentil loaf. I think I’ve made lentil loaf in the past, and thought “Yep. This tastes super healthy,” which is not a bad opinion, but it doesn’t necessarily make you reach for seconds, you know? Well, maybe lentils aren’t loaf-worthy. This recipe was fine. I thought it would be more flavorful, but was kind of disappointed in that regard. The glaze was delicious, but the rest of the loaf was kind of bland. Brent had seconds, but I attribute that to be a hungry dude, and not his love of lentils. He said it was fine and that “lentils are a nutritional powerhouse” but he did not request it be made again.

Overall, I’m excited to cook more from this book. I love that it’s organized by seasons, as Brent and I are trying to eat more seasonally. I’m making another dish from the winter section tomorrow.

The job search is on! I’ve got a few applications in for nurse residency programs and I’m hoping to hear something back soon! (If you’re a healthcare professional or nurse in the Seattle area, or know someone who is, I would love to connect with you!) In the meantime, I’m cooking and baking and generally enjoying my downtime. I made bagels for like the first time in a year today! Brent was super excited when he got home from work. 🙂 Got to get to bed now! Be back tomorrow with another seasonally appropriate, vegan dinner!

Shrimp & Mango Curry

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Sorry for the lack of posting. I think I got food poisoning last week and my appetite has been really off for the past few days. Before that happened though, I made this Shrimp & Mango Curry from the Mayo Clinic Cookbook, which I love! I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for a while, but I wasn’t sure how Brent would feel about it.

This recipe was a hit. Brent’s opinion: “I wouldn’t have chosen it. The mango threw me off, but I think it’s really good.” I made enough for leftovers and he enjoyed it even more the next day.

I served the curry over brown and wild rice, which came from a Minute Rice Cup. I just found these at the store and they are super convenient. Each cup is one serving and the package comes with 2 cups for $1.99. It’s a bit pricey for something as simple as rice, but it saves time and I stink at making rice anyway.

In other news, I really LOVE my pediatrics clinical. No one is more shocked by this revelation than I am. I was convinced I would just be “surviving” this clinical, but I really like working with kids and their families. Considering I’m on the fence about having kids myself and I generally find other people’s kids annoying (that sounds mean, I know), I was so surprised how comfortable I feel working on this unit! In a week or so I will be transitioning to the labor & delivery unit, which I’m still nervous about.

Black-Eyed Pea Fritters

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Brent’s inability to fully review and select a recipe and realize it’s complexity struck again. This one required a new purchase and frying! I suck at frying. This week he picked Black-Eyed Pea Fritters from Vegan Soul Kitchen.

The making of this recipe required me buying a new kitchen appliance (not that I mind). 😉 I bought a tiny 3 cup food processor and pulsed the batter together. I have a really random fact — the whole time I was mixing it together I kept telling Brent that it smelled like coleslaw. Weird, I know. Nothing in the ingredient list screams coleslaw to me, but whatevs. However, when Brent was preparing to fry the batter he also commented on the coleslaw smell.

Because my new food pro cost less than a meal at a fast food restaurant, I wasn’t expecting a ton in terms of quality so I wasn’t surprised that my batter did not get super smooth, but it definitely got into the “close enough” category. Overall the mixing wasn’t difficult, but it took a bit of time because I constantly had to stop and scrape the food pro and remix the batter. The recipe calls for the batter to be refrigerated for at least an hour, but to make dinner quicker, I just prepared it the day before. I shaped the fritters, but let Brent do the frying.

HPIM3395The recipe calls for five cups of coconut oil for frying, but that seemed waaayyyy too expensive (the jar I bought was $9 for 2 cups!), so we just used canola oil. In about 4 minutes we had super browned and crispy fritters.

HPIM3396I did not make the hot pepper sauce to go along side these. Instead I just used some Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce and Brent used sriracha!!

HPIM3401So… the overall consensus on these fritters was, to quote my husband, “a less flavorful hushpuppy.” I actually liked these, but I agree they could definitely use more flavor. Probably the accompanying hot pepper sauce makes up for that, but I could have used some spice and flavor in the fritters themselves. I asked Brent if they were a make again and his response was, “Probs not dude. Might as well just make hushpuppies instead.”

I have another recipe I’m making from the book tomorrow, so we’ll see if it helps me solidify an opinion on Vegan Soul Kitchen. Have a great holiday weekend everyone!

Open-Faced BBQ Tempeh Sandwich with Carrot-Cayenne Coleslaw

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Last night’s dinner was another one from Vegan Soul Kitchen. Bryant Terry had this recipe listed as one of his 6 favorites in the beginning of the book, so I was eager to try it. I’ve never eaten tempeh before, let alone cooked with it, so it was another interesting experiment. I had high expectations for this meal because I personally love BBQ, crave it even.

So let’s see how it all came together, shall we? First off, Terry’s recipe simply calls for store-bought focaccia, but given my preoccupation with bread and the name of the blog, I went ahead and made some bread, using a whole wheat version of the Artisan Bread method and shaping it into a wider, flatter type loaf, perfect for sandwiches.


The focus of this post is the sandwich recipe, not the bread, but the bread came out phenomenal. Crispy crust and great texture. Truly amazing. Moving on to the sandwich filling. The recipe wasn’t difficult, but it took quite a bit of time for a sandwich, which I would normally put into the “quick food” category. After whipping up the BBQ sauce and dunking the tempeh into it, I baked it in a 350 degree oven for about an hour. While that was baking, I prepped the coleslaw and put it in the fridge. An hour later, I had this:

HPIM3348Looks tasty, no? The verdict… was mixed. Basically we both thought it was very strong in the vinegar flavor department. However, I liked the sandwich and Brent did not. Some notes from our dinner conversation:

  • Next time, I would rather just marinate and bake the tempeh in my favorite BBQ sauce rather than make his. Although his is easy enough to prepare, I prefer a bit of a sweeter, smokier flavor and it would help tone down the vinegar flavor a bit.
  • Given the vinegary flavor of the tempeh, Brent would have preferred a creamy type of coleslaw with mayo, or Nayonnaise if we wanted to keep it vegan. He just thought the coleslaw and tempeh were too much together, although the separate components were fine.
  • I didn’t have purple cabbage, so I just used a bit more of the green, and I added a bit of thinly sliced red bell pepper for visual appeal.
  • Not a complaint, just a note — I didn’t think the recipe was all that spicy, which surprised me given that cayenne is in the name.
  • I like regular sandwiches and bread, so I cheated and added the top of the bread and ate it like a regular sandwich. Messy but tasty.
  • I think we’ll make something similar to this recipe again because I like the idea, but we’ll do a few modifications mentioned above.

So far, Terry’s about 1.5/2 for us, so I’m looking forward to trying more of the recipes in the book. I’m definitely impressed with how much flavor his dishes pack. Anyone else cook anything from the book?

I had another dentist appt. today and I’m still in pain, so I’m curled up with some magazines from the library and tuned into the Biggest Loser finale. I owe Brent a big thanks for doing the dishes and picking up the kitchen tonight while I laid in bed. Hopefully I’ll be more productive tomorrow. I’d like to try a new bread recipe soon, so we’ll see how that goes. A final piece of exciting news —  my final grades were finally posted and my back to school 4.0 has been maintained! 🙂 Now I’m just waiting on my official acceptance into the nursing program.

Jamaican Veggie Patties

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Remember when I said I couldn’t wait to make this recipe from this book? Well, I did it this Saturday during my baking extravaganza. It took quite a bit of time (like 2 hours start to finish I think), and was a little bit frustrating at first, but it was so worth it. Looks pretty inconspicuous doesn’t it?

HPIM3306The turmeric in the dough stained my gross white laminate counter tops. The coconut oil was new to me, and a bit weirder to work with than I had expected. But it was definitely worth it. The filling alone was worth its weight in gold.

HPIM3301I was annoyed at first that the recipe produced more filling than the dough could accommodate. After I tasted the filling, I was thankful. The filling seemed a bit liquidy, but it cooked up nicely, and the patties were actually able to be eaten like hand-pies.

HPIM3308The dough seemed slightly delicate and flaky, but was sturdy enough to hold. Overall, I loved these. It was one of the most flavorful meals I’ve had in a long time.

The coconut oil definitely gave me a headache at first, but I believe I didn’t chill my dough ingredients well enough before beginning. The oil changed quickly from solid to oily, so make sure if you’re using it in a pastry like this to stop and chill it when necessary. If you’re not familiar with coconut oil, or are concerned about the saturated fat content, here’s a link to some research on its benefits.

I made the full recipe, which made six 7″ patties. We each ate one (and Brent ate an extra half cup of the filling), and I froze the other four, unbaked. I’ll let you know how they turn out when we bake them from frozen. After trying this amazing recipe, I can’t wait to try more of Bryant Terry’s recipes! I’m making another one from Vegan Soul Kitchen tonight!

I can’t give up the guac

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I finished my final reflection paper for my last class this afternoon and submitted it. I’m completely done with the semester! 🙂 I’m taking one class over the summer, an online dosage calculations class, but I’m not expecting it to be terribly time-consuming. I feel so much calmer now that I know I can de-stress for a little while.

While at the gym on the stairmaster this evening, I was reading the new issue of Cooking Light (I cancelled my subscription last year and I miss it), and one of the main sections was about healthy fats – including, of course, avocado! There were lots of delicious sounding recipes, including one for strawberry avocado salsa that I want to try. It made me want some ‘cado immediately, so we stopped at the store to pick one up on the way home. I made use of it in the world’s quickest dinner: quesadillas with guacamole.

hpim3285The quesadilla filling is just a mix of sauteed onion, red bell pepper and cheddar cheese. I heated them very quickly on high heat on my cast iron griddle and they came out perfectly crispy. Yum! My new favorite way to enjoy guacamole has been to dip carrots in it. I had a bit left after this meal, so I also grabbed a handful of raw broccoli to use as dippers as well. Perfectly tasty and super quick.

After dinner, to celebrate my finishing the semester, I wanted to get a new cookbook. We ended up going to the library and I picked up Vegan Soul Kitchen.


I was inspired this afternoon reading about the Jamaican Veggie Patties on Heidi’s site. I plan on making them this weekend! Back to Lost!

Artisan Bread – Finally!

This morning, Brent and I went to Border’s and they finally had Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day! I’m so excited to finally have my own copy. My first batch of dough is in the fridge and I’ll be baking some tomorrow morning!

Other than that exciting bit of news, it’s been a fairly quiet day, filled with things like laundry and talking on the phone. I caught up with my brother, who is currently doing his advanced training for the army in Missouri. He’s doing well and seems to really like it. We’re kind of out of groceries, and I didn’t quite feel like shopping yet, so we just went to Qdoba for dinner, courtesy of a buy one, get one free coupon. Click here to get a coupon for yourself.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

We’re on Vacation

As I’ve said before, I love making cocktails at home. And at other people’s homes as well. 😉 While I’ve been on a vacation of sorts myself for the past few weeks, it’s been much nicer last week and this week having Brent to hang out with too. Today we just bummed around town this afternoon browsing at Borders and at the mall before heading to a local bar for dinner. On the way home we stopped at a random bargain bookstore that just popped up in a former Ace Hardware. I’m not sure what the deal with this place was, or if it’s a permanent business or what, but we found a few books there that we had seen at Borders for 3 times the price. So we bought an illustrated bartending book and Saveur Cooks Authentic Italian.


The Saveur book looks pretty good. I’ve realized I much prefer cookbooks with pictures. I’m fine without them, but often I hand Brent a stack of my cookbooks to have him skim through to pick out some meal ideas when I’m writing the grocery list, and he never reads the recipes, so pictures are a must for him.I’m looking forward to trying a few of the recipes from it.

The bartending book seems like a lot of fun. I love making cocktails! Brent loves gin & tonics, so I bought him some nice gin as part of his Christmas present. We used that gin to make some fun vacation cocktails tonight: Singapore Slings!


These were made with gin, orange juice, lime juice, grenadine, & club soda. Very tangy. I love being “on vacation.” I think we’re going to go to Chicago to visit some friends for a low-key New Year’s celebration on Wednesday, and I actually start my new job on Friday for some training.

In other notes, my food has been and will continue to be way too boring to post this week because nearly all of it is leftovers from Saturday. Although, I just read in the Saveur book that you can form leftover risotto into thin patties and fry it in a little butter to make risotto cakes, which I think I may try tomorrow for lunch because we have quite a bit of leftover risotto, which is still tasty, but not as wonderful as when eaten immediately. I’ll let you know how those work out if I try that.

Bountiful Harvest

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I have been patiently trying to grow red bell peppers and cherry tomatoes in my front yard, and I’m finally seeing results. Nothing really edible yet, but things are definitely growing. Here is my pepper plant. It’s so cute!

And here is my cherry tomato plant!


For dinner tonight we used our last bagels as buns for grilled veggie burgers, which turned out great. I think the bagel buns were a perfect size and texture for the veggie burgers. We used the “everything” flavor bagels. We had grilled asparagus and sweet potato fries as well.

Friday Cocktail

On Friday nights, we like to make a different cocktail. It’s a fun thing to do, and a good way to end the work week. This week we tried our hand at sangria.

We’re trying to use up things we have in the house, so our mix was:

  • half a bottle Pinot Noir
  • 1 bottle other fruity red wine that we can’t pronounce
  • 1 cup Blue Curacao
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 lb. sliced strawberries
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 sliced lime
  • 1/2 pint blackberries
  • 5 cherries sliced

    That’s pretty much what we had in the house. I think some sliced orange and/or orange juice would have been nice and complimented the orange liqueur, but alas… maybe next time. The sangria tastes great and we’re keeping it in a pitcher in the fridge so it should be good tomorrow too.

    Happy (early) Birthday to Me!

    Brent got me some birthday gifts, and because he knows me very well, he did not bother trying to hide them until my actually birthday. I see more creative cupcakes in my future!! I’m so excited!

    And he was considering getting me another Moosewood Collective cookbook, but he thinks everything we’ve made out of Veganomicon has been really good and so he saw the author’s first book and decided to go with that. I’ve been skimming through it trying to decide what to try first.

    I’m making my first sourdough bread tomorrow. I hope it has been worth the wait!